Department of Transportation (DOT) budgets are being stretched to the limits, while the infrastructure needs of the nation continue to grow. To address this issue, a few DOTs have adopted strategies that promote innovation and motivate industry to propose cost or time saving ideas. The advent of the Design Build (D-B) and General-Contractor-as-Construction-Manager (CM/GC) project delivery methods in highway and bridge construction has established the early involvement of the contractor in the design phase of a project. The next step on this evolution may be Alternative Technical Concepts (ATCs). The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has defined an ATC as “a request by a proposer to modify a contract requirement, specifically for that proposer’s use in gaining competitive benefit during the bidding or proposal process and must provide a solution that is equal to or better than the owner’s base design requirements in the invitation for bid (for a design-bid-build project) or request for proposal (for a D-B project) document”. ATCs have been reported to improve constructability, enhance innovation, and ultimately save costs. Issues with ATC use includes: time and resource constraints, confidentiality concerns, submittal issues, and difficulties in conducting fair “apples to apples” evaluations. This paper will report the findings of the research team as it goes through the early stages of identifying best practices for the FHWA to bring uniformity to the ATC process.
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