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Community and Q&A

What do you know about ‘electronic plan rooms’ and do you prefer them over contractor pre-qualification?

mawsoni | Posted in General Questions on

I’m reading Guidelines for a Successful Construction Project by the Associated General Contractors of America. In the chapter entitled Guideline on Bidding Procedures the authors encourage owners and general contractors to investigate and implement web-based plan access to maximize plan availability while minimizing cost. Curious to know what your experience with these plan rooms has been.

Would also like to know if you recommend pre-qualifying your contractors and then only issuing requests for bid to those who qualify, hence bypassing general publication or electronic plan rooms. Jeffrey Russell makes what I consider a compelling case for pre-qualifying in his book Constructor Prequalification. Curious to know if you’ve had any experience with this practice as well.

Finally, do you have any general guidelines for drafting contracts for green construction projects? I notice that AIA seems to allocate risk in favor of owners and architects while ConsensusDOCS favors designers, contractors, and subcontractors. How do you prefer to see risks allocated?


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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    When I worked as a project manager for a nonprofit developer of low-income housing, we would routinely prequalify contractors. The idea was to make sure that bidders had the capacity to complete the project and were properly bonded and insured. The process made sense to me and worked smoothly.

    AIA documents are notoriously prejudiced in favor of architects. They are written in such a way as to minimize architectural liability and maximize the liability of contractors. Whether or not such contracts make sense to you probably depends on whether you have any architects in your family.

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