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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE// Is Multiple Prime Losing Its Hold on New York and Ohio? By Richard Thomas LAST FALL’S ELECTIONS transformed the U.S. political landscape at both the state and federal level, but this change has been as profound in New York and Ohio as it has anywhere else. Due to arcane licensing and procurement laws and unique political cultures, historically performing design and construction in these states has been difficult and design-build project delivery is nearly impossible to implement. During their campaigns Governors Andrew Cuomo (N Y) and John Kasich (OH) committed to sweeping reforms in the way their states do business, specifically in the delivery of public projects. Both governors have backed legislation containing sweeping changes to project delivery methods. Thus far Kasich has been the first to make good on his promises. In April the Ohio legislature passed Kasich’s transportation budget bill which authorized public-private partnerships and dramatically expanded the use of design-build and design-build practices on transportation projects. Could these advances signal the end of the multiple prime delivery method? Since 1912, construction projects in New York have been required to follow the Wicks Law requiring that state and local projects costing more than $3 million in New York City, $1.5 million in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and $500,000 in the rest of the state use the multi-prime project delivery method with separate contracts for plumbing, HVAC, mechanical and electrical. Over the years, multiple prime requirements have created a host of problems. General contractors found coordinating the various specialty contractors involved extremely difficult; litigation and costly project delays have been common. For decades, local governments, school districts and universities lobbied for reform and the state legislature responded by raising original project cost thresholds and allowing exemptions for projects using project labor agreements (PLAs). Nevertheless, estimates suggest that the multiple prime systems added 25 percent to construction costs. The challenges for design-build in Ohio have been similar but not quite as daunting, as in New York. Ohio also uses the multiple prime delivery method for its building projects. State agencies are prohibited from engaging in design-build deliver y, and only municipalities with home rule authority may use this method for building projects. Despite reform efforts, Ohio’s design and construction laws have remained largely unchanged for the last century. The exception is the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) which has had limited design-build authority for several years. Governor Kasich’s transportation budget bill, with its expansion of ODOT’s design-build authority and authorization of public-private partnerships, was historic in its breadth. ODOT had previously had a cap of $250 million every two years for design-build projects. The new legislation raises that cap to $1 billion annually. ODOT was also authorized to use “best-value” selection on its design-build projects; it had previously been required to select the “lowest and best” bid. This change clarifies ODOT’s design-build authority and gives it greater flexibility in delivering its design-build program. 6 spring//2011 the quarterly publication of the design-build institute of america

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IQ Summer 2011: The Federal Issue

IQ Summer 2011: The Federal Issue

IQ Summer 2011: The Federal Issue - (Page Cover1)
IQ Summer 2011: The Federal Issue - (Page Cover2)
IQ Summer 2011: The Federal Issue - (Page 1)
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