Q: Are you reading something about my school, Dad?
A: Not just your school. The government is fixing the roofs on lots of schools. And it happens really fast.
Q: How fast?
A: They did eight roofing projects in about eight months.
Q: Is that fast?
A: Normally, one project using the traditional design-bid-build method takes an average of seven years.
Q: Why so long?
A: The project needs to go through appropriation, design, bidding, and construction.
Q: Why didn’t the roof projects take seven years also?
A: They changed the process to something called “Job Order Contracting.” Instead of having the contractors bid on only one job at a time, they had the contractors give the DOE a menu. The DOE picked a handful of contractors, and then was able to order projects off their menus.
Q: Like how I can go into a restaurant and order a hamburger?
A: Yes. But don’t do it now, it’s too close to dinner time.
Q: I want a hamburger!
A: Anyway, the DOE has lots of construction projects they need work on.
Q: You mean when they need chores done, they don’t do them?
A: No, they just make a list of the projects and call them “deferred maintenance.”
Q: How much deferred maintenance do they have?
A: At the beginning of this year, the DOE said it was $868 million. The Boss complained about that back in January.
Q: Wasn’t he also complaining about the University?
A: Yes, the University of Hawaii was reporting a backlog of $722 million.
Q: So, they didn’t do their chores either? And that’s legal?
A: Well, some of our lawmakers were scolding them when they came to the legislature for money.
Q: So, is the DOE going to use this menu stuff for other things?
A: Yes, they will use that method for air conditioning projects next, and then electrical upgrades.
Q: Is the method really new?
A: Not really. The federal government has been using it for some time.
Q: Then why haven’t we used it before?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Is the University of Hawaii going to use it?
A: I don’t know. They should. By the way, when are you going to clean your room?
Q: Next month. Deferred maintenance!