Construction Leaders Support Modern Management Methods to Save Taxpayer Dollars
Lemoyne, Penn. — The General Contractors Association of PA and other business and union groups are urging state legislators to update the 1913 Separations Act, which remains on the books.
“It’s an outdated, inefficient bill that hampers smooth, cost-effective modern construction management methods and the worst part is our taxpayers absorb the costs of this wasteful bill,” said Jon O’Brien, executive director, General Contractors Association of PA.
Pennsylvania enacted the Separations Act of 1913, which mandates any public project — usually schools — to have separate prime contractors bid on the construction. Pennsylvania is one of three states in the U.S. that still maintains this outdated bidding system for general construction, electrical, plumbing and heating, and air-conditioning.
“This approach forces the institution to take over the managerial duties under the name of Multiple Prime Delivery System, and the inherent problem is that these institutions almost always lack the experience to handle these responsibilities,” O’Brien said.
Requirements imposed upon the construction industry because of the Separations Act have invariably resulted in numerous change orders and litigation when conflict arises between different contractors. And it is the taxpayer who pays for the delays and overrun charges.
The updating of the Separations Act would allow public institutions to use modern construction methods, including Design/Build and Construction Management-At-Risk, according to O’Brien. “These proven, tested systems allow for management of the project with a single prime contractor who has the experience and expertise,” O’Brien said.
The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC) and other contractor partners throughout Pennsylvania also support updating the Separations Act.
“The construction industry has evolved since 1913 and the bidding mandate of the Separations Act needs to evolve with it,” said William C. Sproule, executive secretary-treasurer. EASRCC. “The Carpenters Union supports this effort and know that if a variety of delivery methods would be allowed, public institutions could better decide for themselves what delivery system is most cost effective for taxpayers who ultimately fund these projects.”
“We are aware of the possibility of election fatigue among taxpayers who have recently gone to the polls, but we urge Pennsylvanians to contact their representatives to support the updating of this outdated bill,” O’Brien said.
Pennsylvanians can also easily and quickly show support for the updating of the Separations Act by signing an online petition at https://bit.ly/3oVrfMT.