Bravo, Cumberland Valley School District, for being forward thinking when it comes to construction. Despite having its hands tied by having to abide by a century-old law called the PA Separations Act, CV is encouraging collaboration among the contractors that will build its Mountainview Middle School and Winding Creek Elementary School.
The PA Separations Act requires public construction projects to bid and award at least four separate prime contracts for one construction project. When there is no clear lead or general contractor steering the ship it can lead to a lot of finger-pointing, which can result in delays and cost overruns.
Knowing that it must abide by this inefficient delivery system, CV is setting up a co-location collaboration trailer so that the multiple prime companies will be forced to directly communicate with its building partners in one trailer. This communication hub is not the savior for improving the efficiency of public construction, but until a repeal of PA Separations Act happens it’s good to know that some are being innovative to improve construction.
The co-location trailers have proven successful on a few Penn State projects. Not only were the projects under budget and ahead of schedule, but by working close together the workforce created positive relationships with each other and this benefits safety. A safe construction industry is good for our commonwealth’s economy: according to a Public Citizen study construction fatalities and injuries cost Maryland’s economy $712.8 million from 2008 to 2010.
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Jon O’Brien, Dillsburg
The writer is executive director of the Keystone Contractors Association.