by Rich Juliano on September 15, 2011
Vice President for Federal & State Relations
American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Members of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) are always eager to improve the efficiency of transportation improvement projects, whether in terms of cost, time or safety. ARTBA's membership includes more than 5,000 firms, agencies and individuals from all sectors of transportation construction. However, relatively few of them have first-hand familiarity with CM/GC, so ARTBA has undertaken a member education effort on this method.
Many transportation contractors still prefer the low bid system and the guarantees of fairness that state public bidding laws provide. At the same time, ARTBA's contractor member-firms embrace innovation. However, when considering emerging methods of procurement and project delivery, the values of transparency and objectivity should be paramount. It is also important to note that the planning, design and construction of highway projects is a distinct discipline from the "vertical" construction industry, where versions of CM/GC have been more commonly used. As an example, highway contractors take great pride in putting their expertise to work by maximizing self-performance.
The presentations on CM/GC at FHWA's Innovation Summits last fall drew interest from many ARTBA members and affiliated chapters in attendance. The 2nd International Conference on Transportation Construction Management (TCM-2) in February 2011 – which ARTBA managed on behalf of FHWA, AASHTO, TRB and several other organizations – featured sessions on CM/GC. ARTBA has also been pleased to host Jim McMinimee (formerly of Utah DOT and now affiliated with AASHTO) for a CM/GC presentation during the Project Delivery Methods workshop at the International Bridge Conference in June 2010, and for a special contractors workshop on CM/GC in conjunction with ARTBA's Board of Directors meeting this past March. We plan even wider member education activities in coming months, including at ARTBA's upcoming "TransOvation" workshop this September.
ARTBA looks forward to continued dialogue with FHWA and AASHTO on the use of CM/GC. We will also be working with our members and chapters to make sure they have the information and material necessary to discuss the issue with their state and local transportation should there be interest in employing CM/GC in their respective areas.