Purdue takes action to streamline construction management

December 3, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University announced Monday (Dec. 3) that it will close its construction inspection department on March 2.

The move is part of an overall plan to change how the university manages building construction, specifications and procedures and is expected to reduce costs and attract more competitive bids for future projects.

The changes come in response to external and internal reviews conducted over the past two years as part of Sustaining New Synergies, a campus-wide effort to cut costs and improve efficiencies that started in 2010. Purdue estimates the moves will save 10 percent to 15 percent, or $75 million, over five years based on expected construction projects in the current capital plan.

"We are not sacrificing any of the quality, performance and work we need for Purdue projects, but we are revising some of our procedures and standards. Construction inspection will be the responsibility of the architects and engineers of record, which is standard industry practice," said Robert McMains, vice president for physical facilities.

The 22 affected inspectors will have 210 days of preferential status for other job openings at Purdue. They also will be eligible for up to 90 days of pay and benefits after the department closes, and staff over 60 years old may qualify for an additional five years of medical benefits.

Aligning Purdue's specifications with current industry standards is expected to lead more builders to bid more competitively on Purdue projects.

The key changes to Purdue's new construction specifications will include:

* Architectural and engineering contractors will include inspection and quality assurance in their services.

* Purdue will use performance specifications for equipment rather than brand names and model numbers, allowing contractors to choose more competitive suppliers without compromising capacity.

* Eliminating standards that exceed code and peer best practices but don't contribute to life-cycle gains.

* Establishing standards based on building type, such as laboratories, office and classroom buildings, and residence halls.

* Maintenance staff will be involved in reviewing design and construction specifications to help with trade-off decisions on life-cycle costs versus facility rehabilitation and repairs.

McMains plans to invite a group of contractors to campus in January to go over the changes in specifications and procedures.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, 765-496-2644, sig@purdue.edu

Source: Robert McMains, 765-494-8000, rmcmains@purdue.edu

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