Congress recently approved a 5-year $287 billion bill to advance US surface transportation programs. As such, many infrastructure transportation projects are expected to start soon. The construction industry is plagued with multiple conflicts, claims, and disputes that account for substantial cost and schedule overruns. Two of the top three reasons for construction disputes are related directly or indirectly to contract administration issues. The literature falls short in studying standard specifications for Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and guiding contractors on how to manage their DOT projects from a contractual perspective. As such, the goal of this paper is to present contractual guidelines for contractors working under projects funded by six southeastern DOTs, namely, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The choice of both the southeastern region as well as these particular DOTs was triggered by their significance in terms of vehicle-miles driven, maintenance requirements, and unbalance between allocated and needed funds. To this end, the authors (1) analyzed the standard contract documents used by the six DOTs under investigation; (2) highlighted commonalities and differences in key subject areas including bidding, award, and selection criteria, payment and measurement, and project control acceptance and claims; (3) emphasized the opportunities and risks present in each standard specifications for each DOT; and (4) developed a checklist of the important contractual considerations to be incorporated by associated contractors. This research will have direct benefits for contractors working on infrastructure and transportation projects in these states through developing a better understanding of the different contractual obligations and the interrelated risks. Eventually, this will help mitigate construction conflicts, claims, and disputes, thus reducing the risk of excessive cost overruns and/or schedule delays.
|Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction
|Published - Aug 1 2020
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Engineering (miscellaneous)