Contracting Strategies: A Different Approach to Address Long-term Performance

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Contracting Strategies: A Different Approach to Address Long-term Performance


For cost-efficiency, public safety, and sustainability, improving long-term performance in highway projects is imperative for public administrations. Project delivery and procurement methods provide an opportunity to align design and construction processes with this goal. While previous studies have explored whether project delivery methods impact the long-term performance of highway projects, these studies did not focus on how core elements within project procurement relate to long-term performance. Thus, to fill this gap, this research explores how and to what extent long-term evaluation criteria are considered in design-build best-value procurement of highway projects. To this end, the team conducted content analysis on 100 projects procured between 2009 and 2019 by 19 DOTs across the U.S. The analysis of 365 evaluation criteria found that (1) roughly 11% of them related to long-term performance. (2) The weight given to these criteria in the overall technical proposal was lower than 30%. (3) Sixty-five percent (65%) of long-term evaluation criteria focused on design while 15% related to materials and technology, respectively. The results of this study are a stepping stone to initiate a deep exploration of the relationship between procurement practices and actual project performance. Currently, as sustainability and life cycle assessments remain top concerns in infrastructure projects, this line of research may benefit DOTs and highway agencies across the U.S. and worldwide.



Dr. Maria Calahorra-Jimenez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management at California State University, Fresno. Maria holds a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Ph.D. degree in Engineering Science from the Catholic University of Chile. Before earning her doctorates, Maria worked in international engineering firms for 14 years.

July 2022
Evaluation and assessment
Highway maintenance
Project delivery



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