Work Plan for Utilizing Job Order Contracting for Bridge Preservation and Maintenance
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this work plan is to provide a format to evaluate the use of Federal-aid for Job Order Contracts (JOC) to address bridge preservation and maintenance needs. With approval of this work plan, the NYSDOT will use federal aid for JOC under the Federal "alternative contracting" SEP-14 program.
Scheduled bridge preservation and maintenance repairs are done either by state forces or through issuing a contract to do the work. Contractors are obtained through the use of the traditional contracting process whereby the owner identifies the locations and provides detailed estimates for each item of work. The contractors bid each item of work, with the award going to the lowest overall bidder. This proven method is suitable for bridge replacement and rehabilitation needs. But for minor preservation and maintenance repairs, however, the process is ineffective. The same administrative and engineering resources required for replacement projects are necessary for minor repairs and other preservation and maintenance activities. Minor repairs, typically involving minimal costs, are left unaddressed. Eventually, more significant damage ensues requiring more costly and urgent repairs.
Opportunities for Improvement
In 2003 NYSDOT initiated a pilot program to apply an innovative facility-focused contracting mechanism called Job Order Contracting (JOC) for scheduled highway preservation and maintenance projects. These contracts were let using State Dedicated Funds.
Job Order Contracting is a non-determinate location / non-determinate quantity type contract. The heart of a JOC contract is a Construction Task Catalog (CTC) consisting of hundreds of pre-priced work activities. The prices in the CTC are based on the estimated labor, equipment, and material costs to perform the work. All costs are based on local pricing (local prevailing wage rates, equipment costs, and local materials costs). Contractors bid a single adjustment factor that is to include their overhead and profit and their risk assessment as to the prices in the CTC. The bidder submitting the lowest adjustment factor is declared the winner. To date, some two dozen additional JOC contracts have been let. Projects are ordered through the issuance of a Job Order to the contractor. Each JOC typically involves a number of Job Orders issued during the contract. Most job orders have focused on drainage work, particularly culvert repairs. The average job order is approximately $49,000.
- JOC contracts are competitively bid. The CTC consists of hundreds of fixed pre-priced activities. The contractor's adjustment factor is applied to all prices in the catalog.
- The cost for each activity is priced by multiplying the price in the CTC by the quantity.
- The amount of each Job Order is the sum of the cost the activities multiplied by the contractor's adjustment factor.
- JOC contracts provide reasonable value to the tax payers. JOC projects compare favorably and economically time and material contracts and traditional design contracts.
- JOC contracts provide a timely response to identified preservation and maintenance needs as the time frame for each job order is eliminated and design time truncated.
- JOC contracts can be limited in scope. The scope of work for each JOC can be used to limit the types of asset the contract can be applied to.
- Federal legislation allows all highway bridges to be eligible for federal-aid funding.
- NYSDOT was granted approval to use federal funding for element-level repairs and cyclical preservation and maintenance activities, as outlined in Table BSD-3, Appendix B of the Department's Design Manual.
- The FHWA Special Experimental Project No 14 (SEP-14) may be used to evaluate promising non-traditional contracting techniques.
NYSDOT is requesting approval to use federal funds (HBR and/or STP) to fund JOC contracts for scheduled bridge preservation and maintenance activities under the SEP-14 "Alternative Contracting" program. The following provides the criteria for the program:
- FHWA 1273 will be included in all JOC contracts.
- Each JOC contract will be included in the Department's Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).
- Federal STP and/or HBR funding can be applied the JOC contracts.
- Each JOC contract will funded at a $1M with a scheduled completion date of one year from the date of award.
- Each contract will include a provision to extend the contract for one additional term (the contract award amount and a completion date one year from approval).
- Each extension is to be mutually agreed upon between the Department and the contractor.
- Between 6 and 15 Job Order Contracts can be let under this pilot program.
- The general scope of the JOC contracts will be for scheduled bridge preservation and maintenance activities. Application of JOC for the preservation and maintenance of other highway assets may be explored within the program and subject to the concurrence of FHWA.
- Each Job Order Contract will be administered in accordance with the guidelines established in the NYSDOT Environmental Handbook for Transportation Operations (copy submitted).
- Following Department policy, potential work locations will be reviewed for compliance with the NEPA categorical exclusion limitations by a Maintenance Environmental Coordinator (MEC) and/or a Construction Environmental Coordinator (CEC).
- The Department will look to include every NYSDOT Region in the pilot program.
- The duration of the pilot program will be three years from the approval date.
- The Maintenance Division will act as project manager and administrator for this pilot project.
- The Maintenance Division will submit an annual status report to FHWA.
- The Maintenance Division will submit a final evaluation report to FHWA within four months after completion of the pilot program.
Specific Items of Interest
During the proposal period the Department will evaluate the effectiveness of the JOC concept to meet bridge preservation needs. Additional concerns will also be reviewed during this time.
- Can JOC contracts help the Department meet the forecasted bridge preservation needs?
- Is the contracting community willing to accept the JOC format?
- What changes in contract language would be necessary to meet Federal Title 23 requirements?
- What affect will these changes have in the administration of JOC contracts?
- Will the changes impact the JOC process?
- What other transportation activities could be effectively contracted through JOC?
- Can JOC contracts be scoped to meet Federal-aid requirements for additional assets? Can JOC be used for federally-eligible highway preservation and maintenance projects?
- How best can Federal requirements such as Buy America, Changed Condition clauses, Davis-Bacon wage rates, and MWBE participation be met?
Evaluation and Measures
Records will be kept of each item, the quantity, the BIN, location, cost and project scope for each job order within each JOC contract using federal aid. Interviews with staff involved with the letting and execution of a JOC contract, along with contractors, will be conducted to determine how the JOC process compared to the traditional contracting mechanism. Some additional specific areas of interest are:
- Staffing requirements for the oversight and administration of the JOC contracts,
- The contractor's ability / willingness to prepare job order proposals in a timely manner,
- The thoroughness of the construction task catalog. Are the necessary items in the book?
- The ability to add items and the ability to extend the contract within the Federal clauses.
- Can the benefits of the JOC contracting mechanism be quantified? What can be measured?
- Has all work performed meet the limits of programmatic categorical exclusion? Have the procedures listed in the Environmental Handbook for Transportation Operations been followed?
- What are the limitations of JOC versus state forces? Versus traditional contracting methods used for preservation and preservation and maintenance work?
- How can cost savings and / or time savings be determined?
- How does the quality of the work compare to that done by state forces or traditional contracting methods?