February 13, 2015

On Thursday, Feb. 12 the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners took another significant step towards a new central courthouse by selecting the project delivery method for the courthouse replacement project.

The board selected the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) method, which allows the county to engage a construction manager earlier than traditional methods to provide input on constructibility. The method takes the place of the standard low-bid project delivery method, where the project is designed, then contractors compete by trying to bid the lowest price.

“There are many advantages [to the CM/GC method],” said Assistant County Attorney Ken Elliot. “We have the involvement of the general contractor at an early stage, working with the designer and the county -- a trilateral process. History shows us with other projects, this will lead to a project that is delivered in less time, for less money and with fewer disputes than with a general contractor and architect blaming each other for problems.”

During the CM/GC process, a construction manager provides input during the design phase, then provides a quote for the guaranteed maximum price.  The price is analyzed and may be negotiated. If an agreement is reached, the construction manager becomes the general contractor.

Project team members recommended the CM/GC procurement method in January with a list of  advantages in support of it including:

*Hiring an appropriately skilled general contractor based on qualifications and lowest percent profit margin

*Greater flexibility for design and construction on a technically complex project

*Opportunity to maximize contractor and workforce diversity 

“I really do come to this vote today with a feeling of confidence that we’re making the right decision,” said County Chair Deborah Kafoury. 

Commissioner Judy Shiprack and Chair Deborah Kafoury mentioned the benefits of the CM/GC method for achieving county goals.   

“I know there is a strong value from our board to use DMWESB [disadvantaged minority-owned, women-owned and emerging small businesses] and DBE [disadvantaged business enterprise] firms,’ said Chair Kafoury. “I think this system will allow us the most flexibility in choosing the people working on this project.”

Project team members say the county’s procedures for procurement of the CM/GC contractor will encourage competition. The procurement will be advertised in the Daily Journal of Commerce.