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Construction Delivery Systems: A Comparative Analysis of Their Performance within School Districts
David Col Debella1 and Robert Ries2
Abstract: Multiple prime is one type of construction delivery system and it is the subject of many discussions in the industry. Many general contractors, architects, and owners believe that this system inherently has coordination problems. On the other hand,specialty contractors believe that this system has several advantages because of the exclusion of the intermediate parties and the direct relationship of these contractors to the owner. The goal of this study is to objectively analyze the performance of construction delivery systems within public school districts. The school districts in the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts,and Virginia form the population of this study. Quantitative and qualitative variables are used for comparison. ANOVA and two-sample t tests are used as statistical tools for the quantitative, and the chi-square test is used for the qualitative analysis. Two groups of projects are examined. Set one includes all valid responses to a survey sent to school district superintendents. The second set islimited to the analysis of projects whose total cost is greater than $10 106. Descriptive statistics on the incidence of litigation in these projects is also presented in the results. The conclusions from this study can guide owners, especially public entities with limited flexibility, in the selection of the delivery system appropriate for their project. It can guide contractors in identifyingopportunities for improving services to their clients. This study has provided quantitative and qualitative measures of alternative project delivery systems in public projects that could lead to further research as well as the development of delivery systems that would satisfy the multiple stakeholders in construction projects. DOI: 10.1061/ ASCE 0733-9364 2006 132:11 1131 CE Database subject headings:Construction industry; Delivery; Statistics; Schools.

A successful project can be characterized as one that can achieve the final objective according to the quality specified during the design phase and can be delivered on time and within budget. Choosing a delivery system is one of the first steps that place a project on the right track. Private owners must decide early in theproject life cycle which delivery system best suits the project; whereas public owners may not have the flexibility to make such a choice. In most cases, they are required to use the traditional design-bid-build DBB type of delivery system. Single prime and multiple prime are subclassifications of the DBB system. The first is characterized by the presence of only one single prime contractor that relatesdirectly to the owner. The second is characterized by several contractual relationships between the owner and more than one prime contractor. There are five U.S. states Illinois, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania that require separate prime contractors for public construction projects.
1 Project Engineer, Turner Construction Company, 265 Davidson Ave., Suite 255, Somerset,NJ 08873. E-mail: 2 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 949 Benedum Hall, 3700 O’Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260. E-mail: Note. Discussion open until April 1, 2007. Separate discussions must be submitted for individual papers. To extend the closing date by one month, a written request must be filed with the ASCEManaging Editor. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for review and possible publication on July 30, 2004; approved on March 24, 2006. This paper is part of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 132, No. 11, November 1, 2006. ©ASCE, ISSN 0733-9364/2006/111131–1138/$25.00.

The multiple prime delivery system has been the focus of ongoing discussion in the...
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