Should the Texas Legislature permit the use of alternative project delivery methods (PDM's) by all agencies in the public construction sector?.
Although Texas building statutes have historically protected the owner's interest in the public construction sector by standardizing 'contact price' as the lone criteria for competitive contract bidding, adopting alternative procurement methods with revised evaluation criteria will increase the flexibility, efficiency, and quality performance associated with construction services. The public construction industry, which builds facilities used for government related activities and/or financed by public funds, is subject to more stringent building statutes and regulations then construction in the private sector (i.e. retail, residential, and commercial). These additional statutes regulate wage rates, subcontracting, and contract bidding procedures. Traditionally, public construction projects were required to utilize competitive bidding when awarding construction contracts and were required, by law, to award the contract to the 'lowest responsible bidder' (lowest bid value), prohibiting the owner from considering any non-price factors that a business entity in the private construction sector would normally consider. As alternative project delivery methods began to gain popularity in the private construction sector, general contractors in the public sector began to seek a court appointed injunction that would permit design and construction services to be awarded a single, lump sum contract. In 1995 public construction in Texas underwent a dynamic change with Senate Bill 1 which introduced the use, on a limited trial-basis, of alternative project delivery methods in the design and procurement stages of construction projects performed for public school districts and institutions of higher education. Lacking procedural detail, subsequent legislations; Senate Bill 583 (1997), Senate Bill 669 (1999), Senate Bill 510 (2001), and Senate Bill 298 (2003), revised and clarified the procedural details for contract procurement in the public construction sector.