Rethinking the Competitive Bid

by Joseph Nicholson, (M.ASCE), Chief Executive; Nicholson Construction of America, Bridgeville, PA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 1, Pg. 66-68

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Concern that the U.S. construction industry is losing its competitive edge is nothing new. Ironically, the problem is not so much rooted in foreign technical expertise as it is in our own rigid competitive-bid contracting system. The sealed bid process has several major flaws, the most serious being the lack emphasis it places on quality in the constructed product. As a result, construction innovation is choked off at every turn. U.S. industry, however, has begun to take notice of European and Japanese contracting practices that foster new technology from within. This is especially true for earth retaining structures market where design/build contracts are being implemented. Ultimately, for innovation to thrive in the U.S. a peer review system must be adopted for contracts and splintered industry factions must come together and endorse a new bidding system.

Subject Headings: Bids | Construction industry | Competition | Contracts | Innovation | Peer review |

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