Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Our Broken Procurement System

I wanted to share the following comment with readers of the blog.

Most public procurement programs mandate a low bid / tender process. Procurement officers in the public sector believe, with all their hearts, that low bid means best price. Experience teaches that is not true. But experience also teaches something about doing things the same way again and again and expecting a different result.

Governmental entities, in pursuit of a green agenda, realize old school planning and design cannot deliver green facilities. Owners used to want better facilities and infrastructure faster and cheaper. Experienced built industry professionals - including sophisticated owner's reps - know you can only get two of the three at a time. Now owners, especially federal agencies, want green too. So they want greener, better facilities and infrastructure faster and cheaper. Having demanded something only a handful of professionals in the built industry can deliver - sustainable green facilities and infrastructure delivered faster and a at a lower price than ever before - these entities craft RFPS and RFQs that call for low bids! It's madness.

A new legal framework is needed. One that supports, enables and encourages a collaborative, cooperative and integrated culture in the built industry. Existing legal frameworks, and the legal agreements executed within those legal frameworks, pit built industry stakeholders against one another at every phase the infrastructure and or facility's life cycle. The existing legal framework prompts a constant game of "prisoner's dilemma" among those stakeholders, poisoning the well early and sowing seeds of distrust on a cross disciplinary basis.

You get more of what you reward. And the current legal framework supports, enables and encourages fragmentation of teams, adversarial behavior and paranoid reactions. If, instead, you want a collaborative, cooperative and integrated built culture that supports and enables innovative technologies - like BIM - on the one hand and innovative business processes - like IPD - on the other, you should craft, negotiate, execute and implement integrated legal agreements that REWARD collaborative, cooperative and integrated behaviors.

Everybody laments the fact that there's no trust among built industry stakeholders. Well why would there be? The legal framework within which we plan, procure, design, construct, operate and maintain facilities and infrastructure promotes and REWARDS behaviors antithetical to the building of trust. That impairs our ability to effectively adopt BIM and to deploy BIM in an IPD environment. Built culture is badly broken. Until we fix it, and rip the existing festering legal framework out by its rotten roots it will remain broken. As I said before, all the BIM Pixie Dust and IPD Unicorn Farts in the world won't fix STUPID.

Teams that want to do it better can. Even in the public sector. But the TEAM has to want BIM and IPD and the owner, especially has to WANT it. Currently, too many owners are mindlessly treating the symptoms of failure and not looking to the root causes of repeated failure.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446

Collaborative Construction Website
No Silos Website


pmsgl said...

James - Great comment. The system has been broken for awhile and is in need or overhaul.

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