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C. Outsourcing to Speed Project Delivery and Meet Deadlines

Closely related to the issue of using consultants during periods of peak demand is the issue of meeting deadlines in a timely manner. CSG data show that over 21 percent of state agencies say that speedy implementation is an important reason for outsourcing.71 “Consultants represent a larger reservoir of manpower resources . . . and consultants usually have greater freedom to marshal resources at short notice.” Furthermore, consultants are more sensitive to deadlines than in-house staff; their selection for future projects depends on how they handle current projects. 72

The flexibility of private-sector staffing enables consultants to shift resources more readily to meet time constraints. Time savings are especially seen in design-build and similar types of project delivery—because design and construction are overlapped, time can be significantly reduced. With design-build, materials and equipment procurement and even construction work can begin before construction documents are fully completed—resulting in time savings, lower costs, and earlier utilization of the facility.73 As officials in Washington State and South Carolina told Governing magazine, without outsourcing, their major infrastructure projects would “still be theoretical doodles on paper.”74 The same is true of projects in other nations. A World Bank study of outsourcing infrastructure projects found that outsourced projects are 60 percent more likely to be fully completed, take on average 9 months less to complete, and are more than four times as likely to be rated successful by project managers and financers.75

Using consultants allows for the completion of more work. In-house resources are limited to staff on hand. The fast-paced economy requires constant maintenance and development of new infrastructure. Coupling in- house resources with consultant resources means more work can be completed and allows for innovative project structures. For example, a number of states and the Federal Highway Administration sometimes use a construction procurement method in which construction contractors submit two bids—one the price, the other the number of working days to complete the project. The winner is the one with the best combination of price and speedy delivery.76

Outsourcing prison projects shows how speedy project delivery translates into cost savings. Since the final payment does not come until project completion, private firms have an incentive to complete construction more quickly. Construction of a prison or jail takes governments an average of two and one-half years— private firms complete the same type of project in about half the time.77 The United Kingdom’s National


Gregory G. Henk, “Privatization and the Public/Private Partnership,” Journal of Management in Engineering, vol. 14, no. 4 (1999), p. 28, citing studies by Oklahoma State University and University of Florida; and An Introduction to Design-Build (Washington, D.C.: Design-Build Institute of America).


Diane Kittower, “The Practice of Partnering,” Governing (May 2000), p. 79.


F. Humplick and T.O. Nasser, An Econometric Assessment of the Impact of Service Contracting on Infrastructure Provision, World Bank Research Project No. 678-64, cited in Frannie A. Leautier, “Private Partnerships and Delegated Management,” in Business Briefing: World Urban Economic Development in 2000 (London: World Markets Research Centre, 2000), p. 47.


D. F. Runde and Y. Sunayama, Innovative Contractor Selection Methods: Alternatives to Traditional Low Bid in Massachusetts Public Construction, Policy Analysis Report, John F. Kennedy School of Government (Boston: Harvard University, 1999), p. 18.


Samuel J. Brakel, Privatization and Corrections, Reason Foundation Policy Insight No. 107 (Los Angeles: Reason Foundation, 1989); Charles H. Logan, Private Prisons: Cons and Pros (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 79 (see www.ucc.uconn.edu/ ~wwwsoci/proscons.html for an excerpt); Bill Proctor, “Prison Crowding in the West,” Government West (January/February 1998), p. 12; and a case study in Idaho in Mark Carnopis, “Idaho’s First Private Prison Is on the Fast Track,” Government West (January/February 1999), pp. 6–8.



Chi and Jasper, Private Practices, p. 8. Wilmot et al., “In-House Versus Consultant,” p. 158.

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