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S-1 SUMMARY Best-Value Procurement Methods for Highway Construction Projects The majority of public sector highway construction contracts are awarded strictly on a low-bid basis. Except under extraordinary circumstances, the contractor submitting the lowest responsive bid is awarded the construction contract. While the low-bid procurement system has a long-standing legal precedence and has promoted open competition, a concern expressed by owners and some of their industry partners is that a system based strictly on the lowest price provides contractors with an incentive to concentrate on cutting bid prices to the maximum extent possible, even when a higher cost product would be in the owner's best interest. As a result, the low-bid system may not result in the best value for dollars expended or the best performance during and after construction. In today's construction climate, public sector owners are finding themselves under increasing pressure to improve project performance, complete projects faster, and reduce the cost of admin- istering their construction programs. In response to these pressures, the industry has experi- mented with alternative procurement and contracting methods. More construction owners are implementing one of these alternatives, best-value procurement, to improve project quality and enhance performance. In essence, best-value procurement incorporates factors other than just price into the selection process to improve performance or achieve other specific project goals. Scope of Research NCHRP Project 10-61, Best-Value Procurement Methods for Highway Construction Projects, is designed to investigate best-value concepts currently in use in the construction industry, evaluate their relative effectiveness, and recommend a best-value system or systems that may be used in con- junction with a traditional design-bid-build delivery system for highway construction. This report documents the results of the research effort. It presents the objectives and scope of the research, suggested definitions for best-value procurement, and expected results from implementing the method. Products of the research, as presented in this report, include the following: A common definition and a conceptual framework for using best-value procurement methods for highway construction projects. A best-value procurement system that allows for flexibility in the choice of parameters and award methods. An implementation plan that includes a project screening system for selecting candidate projects, and a step-by-step process for selecting appropriate parameters, criteria, and award algorithms once the project is selected. Strategies to overcome legal and procurement-related barriers to implementation of best-value methods. Recommendations regarding model legislation and a sample best-value guide specification. A compendium of case studies for best-value procurement in the highway construction industry. A training tool to assist agencies with implementation.

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S-2 Findings: Current State of Practice and Industry Trends As part of the initial phase of the research, the research team identified best-value pro- curement methods that have been considered, developed, or used for awarding construction in the United States and internationally. A comprehensive literature review focusing on for- eign and domestic practices for a wide variety of construction sectors was completed. The lit- erature included articles, reports, case studies, and proposal or bidding documents addressing a wide spectrum of best-value procurement concepts. Case studies from more than 60 best- value procurement documents were reviewed, 20 of which are presented as examples in Appendix D. Additionally, a national transportation agency survey was conducted to help define the state of best-value practice on highway construction projects. Finally, to benefit from the vast international experience with best-value procurement, results from the 2004 FHWA/AASHTO International Construction Management Scan research project were incor- porated into this report. The findings show a trend in public sector construction toward the increased use of various best-value procurement methods, highlight some of the issues associated with the traditional low-bid system, and provide examples of how best-value procurement is implemented. The national transportation survey revealed that 66% of the 44 highway agencies responding to the survey have some type of experience with best-value selection, but it was very limited and primarily in the area of design-build project delivery. However, the research revealed that certain sectors of public construction, for example the federal sector, have moved aggressively toward the use of best-value procurement and have attempted to measure its relative success. Additional findings of the literature review are provided as follows: The Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) include commentary regarding how the low-bid method fails to serve the public interest because the lowest offer may not result in the lowest overall cost to the public (FAR 2004). A recent Navy study comparing best-value procurement with traditional methods points to a reduction in cost growth from 5.7% to 2.5% and a reduction in claims and litigation of 86% (NAVFAC 1996). The General Services Administration Public Building Services procures 100% of its new build- ings and renovations through best-value procurement (GSA 2003). A 1997 National Science Foundation study concluded that design-build contracts procured using the two-step best-value procurement procedure had the best cost and schedule growth performance, albeit representing a very small average improvement over the other procurement methods (Molenaar et.al. 1999). The 2003 Fall Meeting of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry addressed Value-Based Contracting at both the federal and state levels. The central thesis of the program was that best- value procurement was emerging as a viable alternative to the traditional low-bid method in public sector construction, and practitioners need to be prepared for this emerging trend (Vacura and Bante 2003). A baseline of projects and performance results was compared with performance outcomes for best-value highway projects. The results indicated that the use of best-value procurement in a variety of different forms resulted in cost or time improvements or both. Legislation and regulations for public sector construction at the federal and state levels are moving toward greater use of contracting approaches to achieve the best value for dollars expended. Many federal and state agencies have implemented various source selection methods and have developed instructions or procedures for development and implementation of these methods.

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S-3 At the federal level, the U.S. Postal Service, the Army, the Navy, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have developed procedures and guidelines for source selection contracting applicable to their construction programs (U.S. Postal Service Handbook 2000, Army 2001). Though federal legislation has not explicitly directed the use of best-value pro- curement for highway construction, for many years the FHWA has allowed alternative procurements using best-value concepts embedded in trial or experimental contracting meth- ods for selected highway projects through its Special Experimental Project (SEP-14) initiative. The lessons learned from this program have added to the body of knowledge for best-value pro- curement in the highway sector (FHWA 1998). NCHRP Report 451, "Guidelines for Warranty, Multi-Parameter, and Best Value Contracting," provided an introductory framework for best-value procurement in highway construction (Anderson and Russell 2001). The initial framework set forth in that document has been incor- porated into the comprehensive study within this report. The ABA's Model Procurement Code (referred to herein as the Model Code) allows for incor- poration of best-value concepts into the procurement process (Model Procurement Code 2000). Refer to Appendix B for a copy of Article 3 of the Model Code. The "competitive sealed bidding" process described in the Model Code would allow for consideration of "objectively measurable" criteria (such as life-cycle costs) in the selection decision in addition to price. The competitive sealed bidding process can include multiple steps under certain circumstances, with the invita- tion for bids limited to those bidders whose initial submittals were determined to meet the owner's criteria. The Model Code also provides for a "competitive sealed proposal process" if owners determine competitive sealed bidding to be impracticable or not advantageous. Under the competitive sealed proposal process, award is made to the proposer whose final proposal is most advantageous to the owner. The Model Code allows for discussions with proposers who have submitted proposals that have a reasonable chance of being selected for award, followed by an opportunity to submit final proposals that will be the basis for selection. Various states and local agencies have adopted legislation, in some cases based on the Model Code, allowing best-value concepts to be considered in the selection decision. Statutes address- ing best value in the context of competitive bidding are of particular interest for this research. Several DOTs have procurement authority derived from the Model Code. In some states, the Procurement Code does not apply to the DOT. One example of a local enabling authority allowing best-value concepts to be included into the selection decision can be found in the Los Angeles City Charter provision that was the basis for the Alameda Corridor design-build project, requiring award to be made to the offeror providing the "lowest ultimate cost" to the awarding agency. To summarize these trends, legislation at the federal, state, and local levels is moving toward allowing the use of best-value procurement strategies that include price and other factors when these are deemed to be in the best interests of the agency. The best-value concepts, analysis, and recommendations presented in this report were developed with reference to the framework of current federal and state legislation to enhance the likelihood of implementation. Interpretation, Application, and Implementation The next step in the research was to use the literature review, case studies, and survey results to develop best-value definitions and categorize various concepts found in best-value procure- ment. A definition of best-value procurement and the four primary best-value concepts were used as the framework for this research. The term best value has many competing definitions in the industry. The research team decided that a broad definition of best-value procurement for highway construction would be more practical from the perspective of a traditional procurement process.

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S-4 Best-Value Procurement--a procurement process where price and other key factors are considered in the evaluation and selection process to minimize impacts and enhance the long-term performance and value of construction. Four primary concepts can be used to describe the nature of the best-value procurement process. These primary concepts are Parameters, Evaluation criteria, Rating systems, and Award algorithms. The various parameters, evaluation criteria, rating systems, and award algorithms were also identified and defined. Five best-value parameters and 27 evaluation criteria were initially iden- tified in the literature and case studies. Four rating systems and seven award algorithms were also identified and defined. To assess the state of practice in the highway industry, these definitions, concepts, and relationships were further tested and confirmed through an industry survey. The survey assessed the state of prac- tice regarding use of best-value procurement by highway agencies in the United States and Canada. Of the 44 responses, a majority (66%) had some experience with best-value procurement. For those using best-value procurement, there was significant variation in selection strategies, criteria for selec- tion, method of combining factors for award, and relative weightings of price and technical factors. The research team evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of each of the various best- value concepts and procurement strategies. The findings from this evaluation indicated that a best-value procurement that is simple to implement and flexible in the selection of parameters and award algorithms will be the most effective approach in the context of a traditional bidding system. The final system should be driven by the individual needs of each project while promot- ing consistency and transparency in the process. The team interviewed its research advisory panel to obtain their views regarding various best-value criteria and systems. The responses from the panel validated the finding that best-value selection and award will be most successful when owners can customize the process to meet the needs of the specific project. Based on the analysis of the literature, case studies, survey, and interview results, the research team has been able to categorize and present best-value procurement as a flexible, multi- parameter system in which the selection of parameters is dependent on the owner's project objectives. The best-value parameters identified from case studies involve aspects of cost, schedule, qualifications, quality, and design as follows: Best Value* = A.x + B.x + P.x + Q.x + D.x Where: x = weighting A = Cost B = Time P = Performance and Qualifications Q = Quality Management D = Design Alternates *Note: The decision-making process is shown as a multi-parameter algorithm for purposes of simplifying the discussion. This does not mean that the process itself needs to be reduced to the weighted formula shown. For example, a qualitative cost-technical tradeoff using an adjectival rating system would not combine cost and non-cost elements using a numerical calculation.

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S-5 Figure S.1. Best-value procurement concepts. To complete the system, the evaluation criteria, identified from the literature, surveys, and case studies, were mapped to these best-value parameters. The evaluation criteria were then associ- ated with rating systems using satisficing (go/no-go), modified satisficing, adjectival, and direct scoring systems. Award algorithms ranged from a low bid that meets technical criteria through much more qualitative cost-technical tradeoff techniques. The system is graphically depicted as shown in Figure S.1. The research team supplemented its existing project performance database from approxi- mately 500 projects to more than 1,100 projects, comparing metrics for award growth, cost growth, construction placement, and average contract value among the various project delivery methods. The existing data indicate that the use of best-value procurement in a variety of dif- ferent forms resulted in cost or time improvements. The second phase of the research critically evaluated the results of the first phase to address any shortcomings to the methods identified in phase one and recommended a preferred best-value pro- curement system for use within the context of a traditional procurement process. The research team then focused on refining the evaluation criteria and selection processes, and developing screening criteria to select appropriate projects for best-value procurement. The list of potential evaluation criteria was ultimately distilled to 14 based on relative frequency of use, potential for adding value to the process, and likelihood that use of a criterion would result in successful implementation. To be recommended, a criterion must have appeared in more than 50% of the sample population or have a high potential for successful implementation based on survey results (see Table S.1). Similarly, seven award algorithms were identified in the case study population and survey results. Table S.2 displays these algorithms in three categories based on their similarities in appli- cation, frequency of use, and their likelihood of being successfully implemented within the transportation industry as follows: The possible combinations for a best-value system, including evaluation criteria, rating sys- tems, and algorithms are presented in Table S.3. This matrix summarizes a proposed flexible best- value framework resulting from the research. Three award algorithms are matched with compatible rating systems. Evaluation criteria were selected for each rating and award system based on their frequency of use in the case study population and appropriateness for the type of algorithm and rating system. For example, the Meets Technical Criteria-Low Bid algorithm is aligned with a satisficing (go/no-go) rating system because the evaluation decisions will be based on a pass/fail element or with reference to a minimum standard. The second phase of the research also included the development of practical screening criteria for implementation of best-value procurement and the selection of appropriate

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S-6 Table S.1. Summary of evaluation criteria as identified with best-value parameter from total case study project population. Number of Contracts Using Interim Report Best-Value Evaluation Criteria Evaluation Criteria Parameter Designation (Total = 50) Price Evaluation A.0 42 Project Schedule Evaluation B.0 19 Owner Cost Evaluation C.0 1 Financial & Bonding Requirements P.0 35 Past Experience/Performance Evaluation P.1 44 Safety Record (or Plan) P.1 25 Key Personnel & Qualifications P.2 41 Utilization of Small Business P.3 30 Subcontractor Evaluation P.3 29 Management/Organization Plan P.4 31 Quality Management Q.4 27 Proposed Design Alternate D.0 26 Technical Proposal Responsiveness D.1 37 Environmental Considerations D.1 25 projects. The primary objective for best-value procurement project selection can be summa- rized as follows: Select projects with characteristics that suggest significant benefit will arise from using an alternative form of procurement. Once identified, develop the evaluation plan and project scope to confirm that the benefits are real, the negative impacts are minimal, and the risks are manageable. The screening and selection tool is divided into two parts. The first part addresses program- matic barriers for best-value procurement and strategies to address these barriers. Answers to the following questions determine what steps will be needed to initiate and implement best-value procurement at the programmatic level. 1. Is the agency's experience level with best-value procurement adequate? 2. Is the industry's experience level with best-value procurement adequate? 3. Is the process permitted by applicable law? 4. Is a process in place to measure best-value program effectiveness? Table S.2. Case study best-value award algorithms. Case Study Population Best-Value Final Best-Value Award Algorithm Remarks Award Algorithms Categories Meets Technical Criteria-Low Bid Meets Technical Criteria-Low Bid or Non-criteria evaluated using Low Cost satisficing (go/no-go) system. Adjusted Bid Non-cost criteria evaluated using a Adjusted Score direct point scoring system and calculation of a numerical or dollar Weighted Criteria Value Unit Price value for non-cost criteria. Fixed Price-Best Proposal Quantitative Cost-Technical Tradeoff Qualitative Cost-Technical Tradeoff Qualitative Cost-Technical Tradeoff Non-cost criteria evaluated using an adjectival or modified satisficing rating system. Note: Low Cost is characterized in the Model Code for a competitive sealed bidding process as the total cost inclusive of life-cycle costs.

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S-7 Table S.3. Summary of best-value procurement framework. Award Algorithm Best-Value Meets Technical Cost-Technical Parameter and Criteria--Low Bid Tradeoff Evaluation Criteria or Low Cost (Qualitative) Value Unit Price Cost Cost: A.0 X X X Time Schedule: B.0 X X X Qualifications Prequalification: P.0 X Past Project Performance: P.1 X X Key Personnel Experience: P.2 X X Subcontractor Information: P.3 X X Project Management Plans: P.4 X X Safety Record/Plan: P.5 X X X Quality Quality Management: Q.0 X X X Design Alternates Design with Proposed Alternate: D.0 X X Technical Proposal Responsiveness: D.1 X Environmental Considerations: D.2 X X Rating System Adjectival or Modified Satisficing Direct Point Scoring Satisficing The second part of the selection process addresses project barriers, provides a project selec- tion questionnaire using a scoring model to assess the relative benefit of using the best-value pro- curement, and identifies the major benefits that can be translated into selection parameters and evaluation criteria. The screening system is designed to be an optional step. It is most beneficial for an agency implementing best-value procurement for the first time and is most effective when the agency evaluates a pool of potential projects and selects projects having the highest relative ranking. For a single project, the owner may elect to forego the screening system and simply answer key questions for implementing best-value procurement in qualitative terms, identifying the most important perceived benefit for best-value procurement. The following are examples of possible questions: 1. Qualifications benefits--How important is high quality performance to the project's success? 2. Quality enhancement benefits--How important are higher quality standards to the project's success? 3. Cost savings benefits--How important is reducing costs to the project's success? 4. Schedule benefits--How important is schedule acceleration to the project's success? While four possible objectives are listed, all four need not be present to make a good best-value candidate. It is possible that a project will be appropriate for best-value procurement if it has just one objective that aligns well with the procurement system. To summarize, the process to select and implement the appropriate best-value system for a project involves several key decision steps. As a first step, the owner may use the screening tool as an option to select a candidate project and identify the key benefits of using best-value

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S-8 procurement. If it is determined that adding parameters to the procurement process will add value to the project, the owner must then select from the framework of best-value parame- ters and evaluation criteria to develop the best-value evaluation plan. Based on the plan, the owner can select a one- or two-step best-value approach depending on the criteria selected and the benefit of using a competitive screening system. This process is graphically illustrated in Figure S.2. As noted in the research plan, to successfully implement best-value procurement, particu- larly in the context of traditional low-bid contracting, the best-value system must address the concerns of owner organizations, offer advantages for owners and bidders, and promote industry "buy-in." The last task in this research project addressed barriers to implementation BV Project Screening and Were Selection Qualification Process Parameters Selected? No Yes Use a one-step Use a two-step Project Selected for Procurement process Procurement process BV Procurement Project Use Meets Technical Complexity Criteria--Low-Bid BV Simple Award Algorithm Benefits from BV Procurement Identified in Complex Screening Barrier to Use Cost-Technical Subjective Tradeoff BV Award Award? Algorithm No Yes Select Project BV Use Value Unit Price Parameters & Evaluation BV Award Algorithm Criteria BV Award Algorithm Selected Develop and publish Solicitation or RFP/RFQ Figure S.2. Best-value (BV) procurement process flowchart.

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S-9 and examined strategies to overcome these barriers and promote the use of best-value procurement in a rational way. To address implementation, the research team first identified and explored issues and barriers to implementation. Based on the literature, case studies, and survey responses, the barriers to implementation of best-value procurement appear to be consistent with the concerns expressed by the industry for any new contracting process that changes the way that projects are developed, sold, or administered. Apart from statutory restrictions, many owners and contractors are concerned that best-value selection may be administratively burdensome, time consuming, and costly. It may also introduce greater subjectivity into the selection process, possibly increasing the risk that awards will be challenged, and may favor larger contractors with more resources, thereby reducing participation by smaller or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contractors. Overarching these perceived barriers is an inherent resistance within owner and industry organizations to change and a desire to maintain the status quo. To promote widespread implementation, strategies are needed to overcome legal, cultural/insti- tutional, and educational barriers, and to set forth a systematic and practical approach or blueprint for users to introduce, implement, and "sell"best-value procurement. Some of these strategies have been generally recommended for the implementation of any new product or process. Others are more specific to best-value procurement. Recommended steps include the following: Step 1--Clearly communicate the results of the research and advantages of implementing best-value procurement, and enlist champions to promote its use and test its effectiveness The relative advantages of best-value procurement must be communicated to members of the implementing organizations and to the industry as a whole. This summary provides the back- ground information needed for stakeholders to appreciate the advantages of best-value procure- ment, the challenges and concerns raised by industry related to its use, strategies to address these concerns, and a decision framework for selectively implementing best-value concepts. The research findings as a whole have shown that best-value procurement has resulted in improved performance, and that negative industry perceptions are unfounded. In fact, based on the experience of the most experienced practitioners, the likelihood of a successful protest is reduced when a best-value procurement process is used because of the reluctance of the courts to overturn agency decisions regarding the relative advantages of one proposal over another, unless it is apparent from the facts that the decision was arbitrary or capricious, or the agency failed to follow its own procurement practices. When examining the total process including contract administration, the total burden on staff may actually be less when a best-value process is used. The research has provided a flexible framework that can be tailored to a traditional procurement process or to a range of different procurement regulations. In this sense, best-value procurement is not designed to replace a low-bid system; a strict low-bid process will undoubtedly remain the norm, but agencies will have the option to incorporate additional factors in the selection process if deemed advisable--in some cases using a competitive sealed bidding process that is essentially the same as low bid, and in other cases using a competitive sealed proposal process that offers a greater degree of flexibility to project owners to decide which proposal offers the greatest advantages. Though the support of senior management is essential to implement changes in procurement approaches, senior managers come and go. The long-term success of implementation will depend more on enlisting champions to continue to promote the benefits of enhanced procurement options to a wider audience. Champions may come from the ranks of senior management or may come from the lower level ranks of owner or industry organizations charged with using or testing the new processes. It is important to broadcast successes. Once the early champions have

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S-10 piloted best-value procurement and successes become apparent, it is important that these successes be communicated to the broader industry. Best-value procurement must be viewed as offering both a benefit for owners and a competitive advantage for contractors. This continual promotion will further seed the development of new champions. It will also help develop the momentum necessary to make best-value procurement a viable procurement option for the appropriate projects. Step 2--Devise solutions to legal barriers Given that key decision makers recognize potential benefits from implementing best-value procurement, users must identify and analyze laws and rules applicable to public agency procure- ments that would limit or prevent its use. In some states, agencies already have the legal ability to incorporate best-value concepts into procurements without the need for special legislation. In others, it will be necessary to obtain legislative authorization as the first step to implementation of a best-value procurement process. Any proposed bills will likely face opposition from groups that will exert pressure on the legislature to modify the language to suit their interests. As a result, any agency wishing to obtain authorization should be prepared to mount a significant lobbying effort to ensure that the bill is passed and that the as-adopted bill will meet their needs. The ABA Model Code would be a good starting point for proposed legislation, and the backing of the ABA may be helpful in obtaining the votes needed from the legislators. Refer to Chapter 3 of this report for further discussion regarding the Model Code and the issues likely to arise in the course of seeking new legislation. Step 3--Collaborate with industry in the implementation process The successful implementation of best-value procurement practices must include industry participation and comment; thus, it is prudent to reach out to owner and industry members affected by the change, explain the proposed changes, and obtain their insights, concerns, and ideas regarding the process. There are a number of reasons for this. Primary among these is the recognition that there will always be opposition to change. For example, industry opposition to some innovative procurement practices has been significant. If stakeholders are serious about implementing the results of research, then the implementation plan must provide the imple- menters and champions with the tools they will need to push through change. These tools include collaboration with industry. The research team consulted with its advisory board, particularly members representing industry organizations, regarding strategies to build industry support. Their feedback included the following recommendations: 1. Identification of common objectives and advantages for best-value procurement, 2. Analysis and allocation of risks in the procurement process, 3. Involvement of an owner and industry task force in the development and review of proposed legislation or proposed best-value procurement procedures, and 4. Involvement of owner and industry team in testing the new approach through a pilot or demonstration project. Step 4--Training Training is an essential tool to formally communicate changes in policies to a wider audience. Training ideally should include owner and industry members in the process. It should be relatively concise and able to clearly communicate the new procedures and the relative benefits of their

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S-11 implementation to all stakeholders. Training has the added benefit of recruiting additional cham- pions to further promote and implement the proposed changes. The results of this study have been incorporated into a stand-alone training package in PowerPoint format included in Appendix H. This package can be distributed together with model specifications to agencies to form the basis of a local training program on best-value procurement. Step 5--Pilot projects Pilot projects are a proven tool for validating and fine-tuning new practices resulting from research. Using traditional projects as a benchmark, pilot projects or programs have been used extensively to measure the relative success of new procurement and contracting methods. The results of pilot projects, though in some cases difficult to attribute to one specific cause, have served to effectively promote the long-term implementation of new industry practices. It is recommended that an agency champion the use of best-value pro- curement through a pilot program, partner with industry in testing various best-value systems, and develop criteria to measure the relative success of best-value projects compared with traditional low-bid projects. The project screening and selection tool developed for the implementation of best-value procurement can be used by state agencies to identify those projects that will make good pilot test beds and will furnish the project performance metrics that can be used to evaluate the results of the local pilot project program against a baseline of traditional projects. It is essential for the agency to maintain a long-term commitment, providing ongoing technical and trouble- shooting support, and adjust and revise procedures as appropriate to overcome recognized problems and pave the way for more widespread implementation. Typically, institutionalizing the process through the development of appropriate governmental and private support groups or associations, annual conventions or meetings, websites, and regular periodicals will facilitate long-term support. Conclusions Based on the findings and critical evaluation, a best-value system that allows flexibility to the procuring agency in the selection of parameters and criteria, rating systems, and award algorithms will have the greatest likelihood of successful implementation in the context of a traditional low-bid system. For success of implementation, the project screening system will ensure that a best-value system is applied to projects that will have a significant benefit from the use of additional factors in the selection process. The final products of this research include the following: 1. A common definition and a conceptual framework for the use of best-value procurement methods for highway construction projects. 2. A best-value procurement system that allows for flexibility in the choice of parameters and award methods. 3. An implementation plan that includes a project screening system for selecting candidate projects, and a step-by-step process for selecting appropriate parameters, criteria, and award algorithms. 4. Guidelines for legislation and procurement regulations, and sample language for best-value procurement procedures. 5. Recommendations regarding legislation and procurement regulations, and model specifications. 6. A training tool to assist agencies with implementing best-value procurement.

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S-12 Finally, the research team has recommended, as part of a long-term implementation strategy, that selected agencies champion the use of best-value procurement for pilot projects and use selected performance metrics to evaluate the results compared with similar projects using the traditional low-bid only procurement method.