• Ohio Public Contracting Reform Comes Alive: First Projects Are Taking Advantage of the New Project Delivery Methods
  • May 3, 2012 | Author: Steven W. Weeks
  • Law Firm: Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP - Cincinnati Office
  • As practically every other federal and state jurisdiction adopted modern construction contracting structures, Ohio was stuck in the distant past, requiring most public agencies to award multiple parallel prime contracts (with optional use of an agency construction manager to coordinate them) - until the Summer of 2011, when long-awaited legislation finally allowed the range of project delivery methods common in other states, including:

    • General Contracting - the use of a single, lump sum prime contractor
    • CM at Risk - where the construction manager provides a guaranteed maximum price, engages subcontractors and bills the owner on a cost-plus “open book” basis, and
    • Design Build - where the design-builder, rather than the owner, engages the architect/engineer, or the design-builder may be a joint venture between a constructor and a design firm.

    While the legislation was effective last July, public agencies desiring to use modern contracting procurement had another wait ahead of them, as the new methods could not be used until the State Architect’s Office had issued regulations and contract forms.  This process is finally nearing completion; General Contracting was authorized for use at the end of 2011; CM at Risk became available in February, 2012; and the Design Build documents are expected to be finalized shortly.  The approved documents, and General Contracting and CM at Risk projects have appeared in the market.

    State agencies and universities are required to use the designated forms, while other public agencies may use the State forms or industry-standard forms including AIA and ConsensusDOCS among others.  A subcontract form is also prescribed for use by a CM at Risk or Design Build entity.  Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati have already issued supplementary conditions for use with these documents.

    There are many questions yet to be answered about the practical implementation of the new structures.