Turnkey Construction in the United States

by Seymour S. Greenfield, Chmn. of the Board; Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas, Inc., One Penn Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10001,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 2, Pg. 201-210

Document Type: Journal Paper


Turnkey construction has been in practice in the United States since the early 1900s, and has been used most successfully in private capital projects, particularly those involving proprietary process systems. In Europe, South America, and developing nations (where the legal/institutional climate differs significantly from that of the U.S.) turnkey is more universal in public works projects. U.S. government agencies have made limited attempts at implementing turnkey projects in public works. Generally the major impediments to the use of turnkey construction contracts in public works projects are current competitive bidding laws, the diffuse decision-making process in government, restrictions on contract negotiations, traditional owner-engineer-contractor relationships, lack of shared risk between owner and contractor, and substantial likelihood of downstream regulatory roadblocks, all of which serve to make the potential risks to the contractor (and cost to the owner) too great in comparison to the potential gains.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure | Owners | Construction management | Government | Risk management | Contractors and subcontractors | Infrastructure construction | Private sector | United States | Europe | South America

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