Planning Public Construction Projects

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Threshold requirements for public construction projects were among the dozens of changes in the “Municipal Modernization Act” passed late last year. The intent of the law was to streamline processes and offer greater flexibility to municipalities.

The sections of the law relating to public construction procurement allow cities and towns to award contracts under $50,000 without going through a formal competitive bidding process. Larger projects must still undertake the formal process, and unchanged is the requirement to engage the services of an Owner’s Project Manager on projects over $1.5 million.

Although the requirements of the law may seem cumbersome or unnecessary to some, they are designed to protect cities and towns to ensure public funds are spent wisely and projects stay both on schedule and on budget. It has been LPA’s experience that OPM services can actually save municipalities time and money through careful management and good oversight.

For example, as OPM for the Town of Lancaster, LPA helped the town apply for and receive a $250,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs to support energy conservation measures in the historic Prescott Building. In another project for the Town of Holden, site work revisions undertaken by the OPM accounted for a $250,000 cost reduction for the project.

The services of a qualified OPM can not only help municipalities to adhere to the requirements of the Massachusetts General Laws, but also protect cities and towns from unnecessary costs, unanticipated problems, and delays.


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