The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Procurement Contract (Case Study Sample)
The "new" Tacoma Narrows Bridge project had a myriad of technical, political, legal, and procurement issues. Your review and case analysis of the project should focus on the procurement issues from the viewpoint of Tacoma Narrows Constructors (TNC) as buyer, and not from the standpoint of WSDOT. The case analysis must specifically analyze selected project procurements, and how those procurements may or may not have followed the three PMBOK 6th Edition procurement processes. Your analysis should also focus any legal issues that might have affected the selected procurements.
Analyze and answer the questions listed below from a project procurement viewpoint. As appropriate, include recommended actions that could have improved the given procurements, and how such actions might have improved the overall project. This is a research paper, not a summary of the project. Use your research to substantiate your assessments and conclusions.
1. Describe the general structure of TNC's design-build contract with WSDOT, especially as that contract structure influenced the work flow for the bridge project.
2. Identify and discuss at least three advantages and three disadvantages of such a contract.
3. As noted in the case study, the more common type of contract used in public sector projects like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a "design-bid-build" contract. What advantages does a "design-build" contract have over a "design-bid-build" agreement?
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Procurement Contract
Institution of Affiliation
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Procurement Contract
The Tacoma project is situated at Gig harbor and the Tacoma Washington. In July 16th, 2002 a design-build contract was signed between The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Tacoma Narrows Constructors (TNC), a joint venture of Bechtel Corporation and Kiewit. This contract included the construction of the bridge and the upgrade of the existing bridge and infrastructure. As Hagerman (2017) notes this type of contract was not very similar to the usual design-bid-build contracts. This is based on the fact that TNC subcontracted the design stage of the project to Parsons Corporation. The procurement process was of international standards as several contractors and subcontractors were invited for the contract from across different countries of the world such as Canada, China, and Japan among many others. Notably, the scope of the contract required that the WSDOT buys the services of TNC, while TNC takes care of all the other aspects including payment for materials, tools, equipment, machinery, insurance and the signing of all the regulatory requirements (TNC- WSDOT, 2002, P.21). The overall costs of the project were at $ 722 million saving $38 million from the estimated $760 million. Despite the success, the project was faced with several challenges which led to the collapse of the bridge (Hagerman, 2017).
The design-build contracts have several advantages and disadvantages as witnessed in an ideal case of such a contract. Firstly, the design-build contracts focus on performance and hence take a shorter time to complete because in such a case the time for bidding for the construction contract is reduced. This was evidential in the project in the case of the TNC where there was no bidding for the construction part of the project. It saved time and contributed greatly to the overall delivery of the project timely despite the weather challenges that they encountered in November 2007 and Januray 2008. However, the bridge was on schedule and it was officially opened for traffic in July 20th 2008. Secondly, once the contract has been signed it's very easy to initiate other aspects of the project even without the completing the design phase. In the case of TNC contract, they were able to start the fabrication of
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