U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
by James McMinimee on September 15, 2011
As with any major, new implementation, the contraction manager/general contractor (CMGC) project delivery method has some typical barriers for states to overcome. The first hurdle to overcome for most states is to assure that they have the legal authorization to use CMGC contracting. This barrier involves legislation, and usually is fairly complex. Thankfully, since many states are working to gain approval to get CMGC legislation, there are many good model laws available for review. Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada all have good model legislation. Other states have discovered flexibility in their existing laws, and have not sought new legislation, and have begun to use CMGC on the opinions of their attorneys general.
A second barrier noted by states involves approval of the local contracting industry. Most states have approached this hurdle with communication and collaboration. The strategies that seem most successful are to educate the contracting industry, and involve them in the decision-making around establishing CMGC processes. Utah, Colorado, Ministry of Ontario, and Michigan held educational meetings, question-and-answer sessions, and involved the local contracting industries in helping to create or establish CMGC processes. The contracting industry has responded at a national level with a publication entitled "CMGC guidelines for public owners" offered by the AGC. These guidelines include a section on best practices for horizontal construction.
The third barrier in implementing CMGC contracting is in the process and contracts the state must write. The process and contracts to implement CMGC are fairly complex. Again the states that are implementing now are lucky in that model contracts and processed documents are available. The most recent of these are the Ministry of Ontario, and Colorado. The states with the most experience are Utah and Arizona. States that are looking to implement CMGC would do well to gather these documents and learn from these processes.
A fourth barrier to overcome is in training. Most states have used specialized CMGC training to help their staff understand CMGC contracting, and to inform the contracting industry. A good first step seems to be utilizing the training offered by FHWA as part of Every Day Counts. The strategy employed most often is to offer high-level training for managers and decision-makers, followed by more specific project level training for middle managers and project personnel. Contractors have benefited from being a part of the high-level training, and in some cases have been trained in separate sessions. It seems an important part of CMGC deployment is to offer training and answer questions.