For on-time and on-budget project delivery, the selection of the most appropriate procurement model is essential, however Ontario public sector clients and its proponents do not have the benefit of a comprehensive and transparent process guiding these decisions. It is ACEC-Ontario’s position that such a process is essential to successful public procurement; the characteristics of the project should determine the model used.
Provincial ministries and agencies have the ability to draw from a diverse set of procurement models, each with their own advantages and challenges, to procure for public sector projects. For efficient and effective delivery, the selection of the most appropriate model is essential, however there is no set criteria informing this decision. It is ACEC-Ontario’s position that such a process is essential to successful public procurement; the characteristics of the project should determine the model used.
Procurement model options have evolved with the needs, complexity, tone and tenor of the Ontario market. In past years procurement approaches were more binary- often involving a choice between more traditional methods, such as design-bid-build (DBB) or newer options, such as design-build (DB) or a form of Public-Private Partnership (P3). But as project scope and requirements became more complex, a need for additional, more appropriate procurement options emerged. Now, procurement models exist on a continuum of sorts, with multiple model options available to meet the needs for diverse project specifications. Models such as design-bid-build, design-build, public-private partnership (P3), integrated design-build/progressive design-build, integrated project delivery (IPD), and Alliance are all available to use to meet the needs of diverse project types.
Among the several available models, Design-Build and P3s reign supreme in Ontario, but not all projects should be procured using those models. While many projects are clear-cut and readily fall under traditional models, other projects that are more unique, complex, long term, and require different levels of collaboration need to be carefully and thoughtfully procured. As the province continues to invest billions of dollars annually into infrastructure, it would be at a significant disadvantage if it does not take advantage of a comprehensive suite of procurement model options that enables the consulting engineering sector to fully bring its diverse experience to market. ACEC-Ontario is advocating for a Unified Procurement Model Decision Making Framework that should be developed for provincial ministries and agencies to guide and assist with the selection of the most appropriate procurement models for infrastructure projects. Decisions guiding the selection and use of these models should be based on criteria including maintaining and creating jobs, local and regional economies and the need to develop sustainable, long-lasting projects. A balanced approach using the most modern procurement and delivery methods available, that ensures a continued commitment to achieving value for money and optimizing taxpayer investments in public infrastructure, will best serve the needs of this province.