WCC Proposes Changes to Public Construction Processes

Proposals Include Formalizing Some School Facilities Processes

WCC has been working with state agencies, the Wyoming School Facilities Department in particular, to improve processes that will make projects go more smoothly for all parties involved. While WCC has been working for these processes for some time, it is understood, as with most processes, they are a work in progress, and encourage our members to not only inform WCC of their thoughts on these proposals, but also project owners, public and private, as well as Legislators and other officials that regulate the processes we use to conduct projects. While we understand these proposals may not be perfect, they further the conversations with everyone involved in a project so that we can work together to improve processes, and the end result, for all of us.

WCC is proposing formalizing some of the procedures the School Facilities Department has been utilizing to move projects forward when they come in over budget, as well as further simplifying bidding processes, particularly when bidding numerous, or complex alternates.

Proposed Process for Proceeding with Projects That Come in Over Budget

When projects bids come in over the estimated budget, projects are often shelved, meaning that the owner will likely pay more for a project having less value in the future. This leaves contractors, architects and engineers without a project to work on.

It may be possible to move forward on such projects by establishing a process on how to evaluate bids when they exceed estimated costs. Such a process would entail taking the apparent low bidder, and design team to value engineer the project for 30 to 90 days to determine if all parties, including the owner, can bring the project within current budgets, and proceed. While the project may be delayed, it could still be constructed in a timely manner.

As long as architects are aware of this provision, they can work it into their fee as a separate item, which, if not used, would be re-turned to the owner. The fee is appropriate if the project requires value engineering to bring it back within or under budget, the architect would then re-issue updated drawings for the project, properly identifying all accepted modifications.

Proposed Simplified Subcontractor Listings on Bid Forms

The bidding process is complicated and has potential for errors. We are working with owners and stakeholders to improve bidding methods to simplify the process wherever possible in an effort to get the most accurate numbers to our owners.

One possibility of improving this process is through a simplified listing of subcontractors that is supplied with the bid. A simplified listing could provide the information owners need to determine legal and contractual compliance as well as the apparent low. The owner could then work with the apparent low contractor in the hours following the bid, to obtain the more precise information required for a finalized contract, such as precise qualifications, residency certifications, and listings of tiered subcontractors and suppliers as required.

Proposed Simplified Bidding of Alternates

Another issue that can complicate the bidding process is the utilization of alternates. Alternates can help owners manage budgets as well as assess how much work they can include in a project, however when numerous or complex alternates are included in a bid, there is again potential for errors.

A possibility for minimizing errors when bidding numerous or complex alternates is to delay receipt of alternates pricing up to an hour after the base bid has been received. The time would allow contractors to ensure the final base bid information is plugged in uniformly and correctly into the alternate bids. The owner could establish times for base bids with alternate bids to be received an hour after the base bids are received. Once all bids are received, the base bids and associated alternates are opened, together. This process can only work if the base bids remain sealed until the receipt of the alternate bids, which does place more work and coordination in the bidding process upon the owner.

All alternates should be identified in the documents in a way that makes them simple and complete, without major integration into other alternates or portions of the base bid documents. This will allow the contractor and his subs and sup-pliers the opportunity to assure everyone involved has understood the intent of the documents and has priced accordingly.

Other issues that WCC will continue to work with public owners include working together to better understand payment processes and improve payment times as well as retainage processes. Again, please let WCC know your thought on these proposals, and help us make them better for everyone involved in Wyoming’s construction industry.