Dundar F. Kocaoglu
In recent years the number of claims filed in the U.S. courts has continued to increase. The use of arbitration, mediation and other alternate dispute resolution techniques are not enough. Claims are expensive and takes a long time to resolve, create bad feeling between parties, and are counter-productive. Today's focus in the construction industry is claim avoidance and resolving claims when they occur. Partnering is one way of doing this. A recent study published in the California Lawyer showed that in 1990, 142 companies that used partnering saved more than $100 million in litigation expenses.(i) Partnering is an alternate construction management strategy aimed at improving the owner-contractor relationship. It seeks to produce organizational change to resolve the traditional problems with claims, costs overruns, construction delays, adversarial relationships, litigation and a "win-lose" climate. With partnering the owner, contractor, architect/engineer, subcontractors, and all the other parties contract to have the same goal: a quality project delivered on time and within budget. It is about team-building, creating mutual trust and respect for one anothers' respective roles in the construction process, sharing risks, improving communication and cooperation, improving quality and productivity, increasing opportunity for innovation, reducing costs, expediting schedules and improving employee morale. Partnering, if successful, will develop a "win-win" attitude among all team players. In this paper we will look at: the benefits of partnering to each individual party, the potential problems with partnering, and the development of the partnering process. We will evaluate the qualitative and quantitative results from our survey questionnaire sent out to 50 general contractors, 50 architect/engineers, and 50 owner/developers. We will graphically present these results in the form of bar charts, and will perform hypothesis tests to determine which groups had the most amount of agreement. We will also compare our data results with our research results. Next, we will look at partnering at work on the Portland District of the Corps of Engineers' Bonneville Navigation Lock Project. We will look at the development of the partnering process, the implementation, and the results of the first contract: The Diaphragm Wall Project. This project was awarded to S.J. Groves & Sons in early 1989 with an approximate value of $34 million, and resulted in value engineering saving of $1.8 million. We will conclude by showing how partnering will work if an environment of trust, commitment and active participation can be built. In order for "partnering to work, work must be put into partnering." When partnering works, the only loser will be the lawyers and arbitrators.
Lee, Gordon D., "Partnering in Construction:
A Concept Designed for
Continual Improvement" (1992). Engineering and Technology Management Student Projects. 733.