Suppose that a school system in any Georgia county has the SPLOST (special-purpose local-option sales tax) funds to make a number of improvements to several schools in the county in the next few years. For example, say your county system wants to:
- add an elementary school gymnasium to one school,
- renovate an auditorium at a middle school,
- make repairs to the roof, replace air-conditioning, and add new lighting at a high school, and
- add vocational classrooms and administrative offices at another high school
These are four projects that individually may or may not be large construction volume contracts, but together they become an attractive package to entice a competent construction management firm to pursue the award. If the school system bundles all projects into one RFP, the result should be reduced administrative costs and a more attractive fee structure on the larger total contract. The school board will almost certainly save time by not repeating the proposal process and eliminating the time to review new proposals from various construction managers on each job awarded.
In local SPLOST spending, we often hear the cry to “spread the money around” for political reasons from board of education members. It is important to remember that the important goal should be to use the available funds to provide the best facility possible that will serve the community well for years to come. Nothing assures success more certainly in the complex process and detailed planning required to safely build or remodel a school facility than experience. If you choose a construction manager that has a long and successful track record of building schools, your board of education will have the peace of mind that proven processes will be followed and things will be properly done
In the four hypothetical projects we outlined above, the individual budgets could vary greatly. One project may cost $2 million and another $8 million. When the projects are bundled, your school system gets the same expertise and experienced personnel from the winning construction manager working on the small-budget projects. The odds of a successful outcome, including reduced costs and on-time completion, are exponentially increased.
When fast construction time is important, as school calendars often dictate, the bundled RFP makes even more sense. A construction manager with the staff and experience to handle the phasing of all these projects simultaneously can move infinitely faster than four, or even two, separate firms working on these projects. Communication between the owner, the design team and the construction management firm becomes more familiar and more focused. And the management of subcontractors and material supplier services follows one process to ferret out errors and omissions.
RA-LIN has been a part of several capital improvement campaigns for school systems that have bundled multiple projects into a single contract award. In every case, there have been surplus funds after the program was completed. The board of education had the pleasure of deciding either to add new features or amenities to the project or to save the available funds for future work. If you would like to hear more about how RA-LIN can inject value into your plans for capital expansion and improvement of school facilities and other public buildings, call Bernie Buchanan at 770.834.4884.