AbstractConstruction projects can be delivered through various approaches; nevertheless, all practitioners and involved parties have a mutual goal, which is completing the project within the original scope, defined budget, and schedule. Reviewing the literature on public–private partnerships (PPPs) showed that many efforts have been made to cover different research areas, including policies, risks, roles and responsibilities, and finance. The existing literature lacks studies involving the comprehensive process of preparing and implementing PPP contracts associated with highway projects in the US. This research, therefore, fills this noticeable gap in the body of knowledge on the PPP delivery method. The main objective of this research was to develop a framework for PPP contracts focusing on highway projects. To meet this objective, the authors conducted a Delphi study with highway professionals to identify the major issues that they should carefully deal with during contract document preparation, contract procurement, and contract implementation phases to make PPP highway projects successful. The Delphi study consisted of two rounds, with 25 open-ended interview questions over three phases. The study found that highway agencies must fix the scope of a project before a PPP project starts. They should also choose a lump sum contract type and a design-build-finance-operate-maintenance PPP type with a 35 to 40-year concession period for highway projects. Contracts should consist of incentive and disincentive clauses along with availability payments as the mode of compensating concessioners for their work. Before initiating a PPP contract, agencies should make sure that their state legislation allows this type of contract. The study also found that during the contract procurement phase, owners should use the best-value selection method to choose a PPP contractor; the competition should be fair and transparent, and the owner must have expertise in order to successfully procure PPP contracts. The experts recommended setting performance standards for PPP concessioners, performing inspections using independent third parties, and handing over condition data to maintenance personnel at the end of construction. The primary contribution of this research to the body of knowledge was to highlight the fact that each country, with the help of professional expertise and key stakeholders, background, and/or lessons learned, needs to develop a framework that lists the main issues and processes to be considered in implementing PPP highway contracts. This study presents a framework that can work nationwide, something that is missing in previous research studies. This framework can guide professionals in the transportation industry toward effective contract document preparation, procurement, and implementation of PPP highway projects in addition to giving academicians better insights to understand PPP highway projects in the US.

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