By Bruce Jervis
Public works contracts frequently include clauses limiting the subcontracting of the work. The prime contractor is required to perform a stipulated minimum percentage of the work, typically 50 percent, with its own forces. The policy behind these limitations is to award public contracts to companies that will actually construct the projects, not just bid, bond and broker out the work.
It is interesting to note that these clauses seldom specify a penalty for violation of the subcontracting limitation. Default termination? That is a severe sanction and may not be in the project owner’s best interest. Assessment of damages? Calculation would be problematic, and there is little precedent to provide guidance. ... Read more.
By Steve Rizer
Washington, D.C. -- Energy-saving performance contracts (ESPCs) “are getting a lot of renewed interest right now” for helping the federal government achieve its energy-efficiency goals, Federal Performance Contracting Coalition Executive Director Jennifer Schafer told attendees of the 15th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Expo + Forum here last week. In addition to a resurgence in ESPC popularity, other news coming out of the conference involves the progress of two federal facilities that are expected to serve as models for green design and operation, a prediction concerning Building Performance Institute Inc.’s (BPI) certification program for home performance, and the market outlook for energy-efficient light-emitting-diode (LED) technology. Click here for a summary of each development.
By Steve Rizer
There is no quick-and-easy solution for improving construction craft productivity, but a series of steps can make significant headway toward this end, according a 368-page report that the Construction Industry Institute (CII) published earlier this month. The report focuses on the second phase of a six-year research project for finding the best ways to improve construction craft productivity.
“Direct work typically amounts to no more than 35-45 percent of a craftsman’s time on the job,” the report says. “To improve craft productivity, direct work time must be improved. To increase direct work time, the availability of materials, information, and tools at the workface must be improved. There will be no ‘magic bullet’ that will make this happen, but rather a series of innovations that together produce change. They will include a combination of broad improvements in practice and focused improvements in technology and process.” ... Read more.