Alternative contracting methods (ACMs) are defined as the realm of contract payment provisions, procurement procedures, and various types of project delivery methods that supplement traditional low-bid, design-bid-build contracting. The potential benefits of using ACMs includes reducing project delivery duration, reducing operational and life cycle costs, improving quality and constructability, earlier contractor engagement, promoting innovative thinking to produce outside-the-box solutions, improving risk allocation strategies, and allowing for alternative financing solutions.
The Federal Highway Administration has evaluated the performance of the three most commonly used project delivery methods (design-bid-build, design-build, and construction manager/general contractor) using a comprehensive dataset of 291 completed highway projects. The study outcome resulted in the creation of numerous guidelines at the state and federal levels to assist agencies in selecting the most appropriate project delivery method for a project given its current goals, resources and constraints.
An example on the federal level is the AASHTO Alternate Contracting Method Guideline, which was developed to provide guidance and aid in selecting the most appropriate ACM. On the state level, several departments of transportation (DOTs) have developed their own guidelines and ACM selection tools. However, there is very little information or guidance about looking back after a project is complete and evaluating the project delivery method decision that was made and the benefits that accrued from the decision.
The objective of this synthesis is to document current state DOT practice for evaluating the outcome of the ACM processes after project completion. The synthesis will address the ACM selection process in its entirety, including the project delivery method, procurement procedure, and contract management methods.
Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):
- Current policies, procedures, and guidelines to evaluate ACM processes after project completion, including any benefits realized in the following:
o reduction in project duration versus initially estimated
o reduction in the projected operational and life-cycle costs
o quality of constructability
o innovative solutions (e.g., post award value engineering, early contractor involvement, use of incentives/disincentives, alternative design or constructions options)
o risk allocation strategies
o stakeholder engagement
- Types of data collected to evaluate anticipated outcomes;
- Timing of post-completion evaluations;
- Formal and informal tools used for evaluating the ACM processes for completed projects (e.g., surveys, exit interviews, project close out evaluation process); and
- Whether and how post-completion evaluation measures are used to inform other ACM selections.
Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.
Information Sources (Partial):
- FHWA Publication No: FHWA-HRT-17-100 - Alternative Contracting Method Performance in U.S. Highway Construction, 2018
- NCHRP Report 787 - Guide for Design Management on Design-Build and Construction Manager/General Contractor Projects, 2014
- MDOT - Innovative Construction Contracting Guide, 2015
- FHWA CASE tool, research documentation, 2020
- NCHRP Report 939 – Guidebook for Post-Award Design-build and Construction manager/General Contractor
Jo Allen Gause
First Panel: September 27, 2022, Virtual
Teleconference with Consultant: October 25, 2022, 1:00 pm Eastern
Second Panel: June 8, 2023, Washington, DC
Hongtao Dang, Washington State University
Peter Davich, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Joseph Dongo, California Department of Transportation
Christine Mizioch, AI Engineers
Tracy Osimboni, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Randall Park, Avenue Consultants
Suril Shah, Virginia Department of Transportation
Joshua Sletten, Utah Department of Transportation
John Huyer, Federal Highway Administration
Robert Shea, Transportation Research Board