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Value, Benefits, and Limitations of Qualifications-Based Selection for Airport Project Delivery (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Conclusions and Gaps in the Body of Knowledge

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Page 39
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions and Gaps in the Body of Knowledge." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Value, Benefits, and Limitations of Qualifications-Based Selection for Airport Project Delivery. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25641.
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Page 39
Page 40
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions and Gaps in the Body of Knowledge." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Value, Benefits, and Limitations of Qualifications-Based Selection for Airport Project Delivery. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25641.
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Page 40

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39 The report synthesized the current literature on qualifications-based selection (QBS), a content analysis of QBS solicitation documents from four different modes of transportation, a survey of airports that use some form of QBS award, and case examples to arrive at its findings. The findings are divided into conclusions arrived at from the intersection of two or more independent lines of information, and recommendations for future research to fill the gaps in the body of knowledge found during the analysis. Conclusions The primary conclusion reached in the study came from two gaps identified during the study. First, the use of QBS to award a contract for construction only is not a common practice. The search through the relevant literature and the content analysis of airport solicitation documents found only a few references to emergency construction contracts that used QBS in the literature. Second, none of the airports interviewed indicated its use without being included as a part of a project delivered by alternative contracting methods (ACMs) or indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ). Thus, the synthesis concludes that the QBS award of airport construction contracts is an infrequent occurrence. Nevertheless, based on the information found by each of the study instruments, it can also be concluded that the award of construction manager-at-risk (CMR), progressive design–build (PDB), and IDIQ contracts that include construction services is quite common. Not only that but the use of a QBS that does not consider pricing information that may have been submitted is also a well-accepted practice in the aviation industry. The findings that support this conclusion are as follows: • Responding airports perceived that the benefits associated with selecting well-qualified contractors with a record of satisfactory performance outweighed the challenges posed by implementing a QBS award. • The major constraints faced by airports regarding the implementation of QBS of contractors are associated with federal Airport Improvement Program grants and state funding that mandate that price be included in the award decision. • All the airports that responded to the survey had experience with at least one of the QBS delivery methods, and as airports gained ACM experience, they tended to be willing to use all available options. • There was no discernible bias against the use of QBS detected among the respondents to the survey. • QBS delivery was found to be used in all types of typical airport projects, with IDIQ being the preferred method to deliver small projects and ACM delivery employed for large projects. C H A P T E R 5 Conclusions and Gaps in the Body of Knowledge

40 Value, Benefits, and Limitations of Qualifications-Based Selection for Airport Project Delivery • QBS awards that conform to the working definition proposed in Chapter 1 in CMR, PDB, and IDIQ contracts are expected to facilitate project success by decreasing the risk that a marginally qualified contractor with a less than satisfactory record of past performance would win an airport project. QBS Evaluation Criteria The synthesis of the above-cited findings leads to a conclusion regarding the content of the QBS evaluation and selection process used by an airport employing QBS delivery. The content analysis found that past performance, key personnel, financial capacity, bonding, and manage- ment plans were the top five QBS evaluation factors for all four transportation modes. This finding is confirmed by the factors identified in the survey. Furthermore, an effective practice would be that a QBS evaluation plan include, at a minimum, criteria assessing the following factors: • Qualifications, experience, and past performance of proposed key personnel. • Company’s experience with relevant projects and past satisfactory performance on those projects. • Contractor’s capacity and availability. • Contractor’s safety record. Knowledge Gaps The analysis of the challenges identified by airport personnel when implementing QBS identified several gaps in the body of knowledge that could potentially be filled by future research. The major gap was the need for a tool to determine which projects would benefit from QBS delivery. ACRP Report No. 21: A Guidebook for Selecting Airport Capital Project Delivery Methods (Touran et al. 2009a) should be updated to develop guidance for the use of PDB, IDIQ, and public–private partnership delivery and reflect state of the practice. The proposed research could also provide guidelines for determining an appropriate procure- ment method. At the same time, the future research could also develop appropriate project performance measures, a protocol for negotiating the final construction cost of CMR and PDB projects, and collect empirical cost and time data that can be used to conduct a quantita- tive risk analysis to differentiate between the suite of authorized project delivery methods to inform the project delivery method selection decision. Ultimately, the research could develop a template for making the business case for QBS using a data-driven input methodology based on an individual airport’s historic cost, schedule, quality, and maintenance performance data.

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About $1.5 trillion will be spent globally on airport infrastructure by 2030, according to the International Air Transport Association. Most of that enormous amount of money will be spent on projects that must be constructed without disrupting airport operations.

Given the focus on schedule and on the cost of failing to complete the construction during the periods of planned outages, the need for a highly qualified construction contractor with a proven record of timely and quality production is key to the success of airport projects across the globe.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 102: Value, Benefits, and Limitations of Qualifications-Based Selection for Airport Project Delivery aims to benchmark the state of the practice with respect to the use of qualifications-based selection (QBS) to award construction projects.

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