A reader sends this along ….Green Roads Construction: Are Contractors Our Roadblock?
The article argues in favor of green construction techniques, (construction results in a great deal of CO2 emissions, e.g.) and suggests the barrier is the cost-plus contracting system found in many places which rewards contractors for higher costs. An excerpt below:
“The lone region that’s scrapped “cost-plus” contracting, North Carolina, is indicative of the untapped potential of green construction. Instead of awarding contractors on a cost-plus basis, North Carolina has established road performance criteria. That means contractors in North Carolina have to bear the cost of asphalt themselves and can use any method available to them as long as they meet the standards set forth by the engineer.
“What [we] need to do is say, ‘Roads need to be paved to this standard, give me the least cost contract.’ Let the contractor take up the risk of the asphalt. If they think they can do it and meet the standard through hot in-place recycling, they’ll do it. They may make more profits in the process, but that is what you want – you want to incentivize more sustainable roads.” – Hadi Dowlatabadi
And guess, what? North Carolina has the lowest cost of road construction in all of North America. Coincidentally, it’s also home to the highest amount of hot in-place recycling. Consider this, in British Columbia it costs $25/square meter to build a road; in North Carolina it costs roughly $19/square meter. It’s no surprise that these lower costs result in higher profits without the need to use more asphalt.”