The Business Council of New York State, Inc., the leading state business and industry trade association comprised of over 2,500 members opposes the inclusion of mandatory Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) as a condition for proposed expansion for of the design/build method of construction delivery within the proposed state budget.
The Business Council supports the expanded use of the procurement method of design build in public sector contracting included in the proposed state budget. Extending design build to the dormitory authority, the New York state urban development corporation, the office general services, the department of health, and the New York state Olympic regional development authority would greatly assist economic development, job creation, and needed public infrastructure. However, The Business Council opposes the mandatory inclusion of project labor agreements as a condition for the use of this method of construction delivery.
The requirement of PLAs would negate the benefits of design build. It would undermine the collective bargaining that takes place between union contractors and labor, and PLAs hinder competition for these projects from open shop contractors. The use of PLAs also weakens the participation of MWBE contractors on these projects by limiting the pool of bidders. This latter point is especially troubling given the challenge of meeting the aggressive state imposed goals.
The Business Council supports a transparent system of full and open competition among all contractors. New York State should be looking to explore alternative methods of construction delivery such as design-build and CM at Risk (a process under which a qualified general contractor works collaboratively in the planning, design and construction process) in order to manage work, cost and quality of the project. Most importantly, the use of delivery methods such as design-build cut project design time and construction significantly thus affording lower costs and less time to delivery. Design-build utilizes a project team that works in collaboration with the project owner so that design, management and construction are all at the same table.
The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), a national organization that teaches and promotes this cost-saving construction method, is opposed to mandated PLAs. No other state in the United States is limited by such a law in regards to design-build.
For the reasons outlined above, The Business Council supports the expansion of the use of design-build but opposes mandatory PLAs as a requisite to employing this construction delivery method.