U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The 2001 contract administration scan team was privileged to be able to travel to Europe and visit with the representatives of five host countries (France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). The team witnessed many alternative contract administration practices and unanimously believes that a number of these can be immediately applied in the United States.
Following the European tour, the scan study moved into the scanning technology implementation phase (STIP). All team members are actively implementing practices that are applicable to their positions in the transportation industry, but a smaller STIP team was created to move the implementation forward quickly. The STIP team met to determine the most appropriate concepts for implementation from the numerous innovations and best practices discovered on the scan.
The STIP team developed a questionnaire concerning the top 13 concepts likely to have the most potential to impact the U.S. highway industry. All of the scan team members responded to the questionnaire. The entire scan team rated the implementation options on a scale from "5 – Extremely Important" (idea or recommendation is very critical and will significantly improve contract administration procedures or project delivery methods) to "1 – Not Important" (idea or recommendation will not significantly improve current practices or solve any real problem). The table below provides the ranking for the implementation items.
|Rank||Category||Implementation Concept Description|
|1||Contracting Techniques||Best Value Procurement Techniques|
|2||Contracting Techniques||Procurement Utilizing Confidential Negotiation Processes|
|3||Performance Contracting||Performance Specifications|
|4||Performance Contracting||Long-Term Maintenance Contracts|
|5||Performance Contracting||Quality Control is Sole Reponsibility of Contractor (penalty card quality systems, etc.)|
|6||Design-Build||Lifecycle Cost Award|
|7||Alternative Financing||Opportunities for Joint Development|
|8||Contracting Techniques||Alternative Payment Mechanisms (user-based payment mechanisms, e.g., product availability, milestone pay points, contractor determines pay quantity, etc.)|
|9||Concessions||Performance Metrics for Concessionaire Selection and Payment|
|10||Contracting Techniques||Alternative Contract Types (framework, managing agency contracting, integrated supply chain management, etc.)|
|11||Concessions||Integrating Concessions into Long-Term Planning|
|12||Alternative Financing||Use of Shadow Tolls (either based upon use or performance)|
|13||Asset Management||Valuation of Assets|
All 13 of the implementation concepts are important, but the top 3 were determined to be the focus for implementation because of their high potential impact and relative ease of implementation. These three techniques, and six of the top eight, are found in the contracting techniques and performance contracting categories. These three concepts are presented as primary findings below. The other concepts are summarized as additional findings in the order in which they are found in this report.
The United States has much to learn from European highways agencies. In particular, the best-value approach combined with the ability to negotiate technical terms and alternative concepts with selected contractors has enabled European agencies to award contracts at reasonable cost to those providers with a proven track record for responsiveness to the public sector's needs. The FHWA and the State DOTs should consider more use of best-value negotiated contracts, giving contractors the opportunity to develop reputations that enable them to be exceptional performers and compete in best-value procurements. The FHWA and the DOTs also should consider moving toward the use of more performance specifications, which will allow the private-sector industry to innovate and continuously improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of the highway system. These performance specifications will require associated performance indicators to measure and benchmark exceptional performance. Specifically, the scan team recommends that the following concepts and tools be explored in the United States as a means to speed the delivery of our infrastructure and increase the quality of construction and maintenance.
The primary recommendations above will be the focus of the STIP team. However, the scan tour revealed other concepts that have the potential to improve the U.S. highway industry. The scan team recommends that efforts be made to employ these concepts whenever opportunities arise. These additional concepts are ranked in the table above and presented here in the order in which they are found in this report.
The European highway community is benefiting from widespread use of best-value procurement, greater latitude to enter into competitive negotiations, more use of alternative designs in proposals, extensive use of management contracts, long-term contracts tying maintenance to construction, and payment methods that are based on outcomes at the end of the projects rather than payment for work as it is put in place. In addition to the primary contracting techniques listed in the primary recommendations above, the scan team recommends that the following concepts be implemented:
The European countries visited on the scan tour provided the team with many valuable design-build contracting insights. The primary lessons learned on this scan tour relate to the types of projects utilizing design-build, the use of best-value selection, the percentage of design in the solicitation, design and construction administration, third-party risks, the use of warranties, and the addition of maintenance and operation to design-build contracts. The scan team recommends that the following concepts be implemented:
The scan team discovered applications of performance contracts in Europe for long-term maintenance, DBM, and concession contracts. The essential lessons learned regarding performance specifications on this contract administration scan can be summarized into the categories of performance specifications, performance indicators, warranties, and QA/QC. The scan team recommends that the following concepts be implemented:
European highways agencies are working closely with private-sector partners to finance, build, and maintain projects that are not viable using traditional funding mechanisms, either because of lack of funding or sociopolitical constraints. These alternative funding sources take a whole-life approach to project design, construction, and maintenance. Alternative payment methods offer solutions that increase price competition from the private sector, but also incentivize and improve quality in the completed and maintained project. The scan team recommends that the following concepts be implemented:
Concessions are commonly used for both construction and maintenance of European motorways. The long-term nature and best-value selection of a concessionaire provides the opportunity to benchmark and achieve exceptional performance. Used in appropriate circumstances, concession contracts may prove to be very beneficial to the U.S. highway sector. The scan team recommends that the following concepts be implemented:
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