The Newest Team Member – selecting a contractor

There is a point in the life of a project as it moves towards the fruition of being an addition to the built environment that it is ready for construction. This means that another member needs to be added to the overall team whose services include constructing the project. The new team member we are talking about is the contractor. Up to this time it has primarily been the owner and architect working together to define and design the project.

The timing of a contractor coming on board is determined in part by the project delivery method which is the path the project takes from beginning through end of construction. There are several different methods a project can take starting with the most traditional method of Design-Bid-Build where the contractor first gets involved in the project during the bid period. Most often this is a competitive bidding process between several general contractors with the lowest bidder getting the job.

The architect’s role in the matter of choosing a project delivery method and eventually a contractor is to coach, guide and advise the owner. However, it is ultimately the owner‘s choice to make. Private sector companies and institutions typically have more latitude in choosing delivery methods and contractors than their public counterparts who are often bound by public policy and regulations. Until fairly recently, the only choice for project delivery for Oklahoma public institutions was Design-Bid-Build which was guided by the competitive bidding laws of state statutes.

Another project delivery method that is now allowed for public institutions is one that has been use in the private sector for some time which is Construction Management. The most common of these approaches is defined as Construction Management at Risk where the contractor guarantees a price for the project. The contractor is selected based on qualifications and can be brought into the project much earlier during design. During the design phases, the contractor can bring their expertise to the project and their services could include, cost estimating, knowledge on labor and material availability, developing a schedule for construction and reviewing the project for constructability. These are also referred to as pre-construction services where the contractor is in the role of a consultant.

The Chickasaw Nation chose to use the construction delivery process of Construction Management at Risk. They began the process with issuing a request for qualifications to a selected list of contractors and included the requirement to state their fee for the project along with a timeline for completion. An evaluation matrix was then used to review each submission and evaluate each company’s ability to construct the Visitor Center based on similar experience and to document their proposed fee and schedule. The Nation incorporates a Native American preference in its consideration. The next step may include an interview with selected contractors before a final selection, however, the Nation felt that they could make a clear choice for the project based on the submissions provided. FSB participated throughout the process.

The Contractor selected to be the Construction Manager for the project is Flintco. Flintco is one of the oldest construction companies in the state of Oklahoma and was founded in 1908. They are an American Indian owned company that began their roots in Tulsa. Offices now include Oklahoma City and surrounding states with work preformed nationally. I’ll introduce some of their team members in upcoming posts.

Flintco Projects

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Filed under Construction, Design

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