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February 7, 2020

Former ACEC Chair Pecori Testifies to Congress on Permit Delays, Lump Sum Contracting

Former ACEC Chair Pecori Testifies to Congress on Permit Delays, Lump Sum Contracting

Sergio “Satch” Pecori, CEO of Hanson Professional Services and 2017-2018 ACEC Chair, testified before the House Subcommittee on Highways & Transit on Thursday, calling for more efficient agency management and decision-making, and increased utilization of lump sum contracting by federal, state, and local agencies.

Pecori described his firm’s experience on a rail relocation project in Springfield, Ill, in which foundations from homes burned in a 1908 race riot were found. The riot was a catalyst in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). At the beginning of the hearing, Subcommittee members viewed a video highlighting the historic site and a planned memorial.

Unfortunately, the archaeological discovery led to more than three years of project delays due to federal review and permitting processes.

“No one wants to lose important resources to construction projects,” Pecori said, “but when the project sponsor, the State agencies, and the consulting parties have all agreed on a path forward, the federal agencies should assist, not delay. The three years lost did nothing to improve the project or to preserve any resources.”

Pecori recommended that Congress approve “strict project controls and schedules with milestones for federal agencies during their review and processing of project documents.”

Pecori also urged the subcommittee members to respect the important “trusted advisor” role that private sector firms play in helping agency clients deliver projects in innovative, cost-effective ways.  He encouraged the committee promote contracting practices that ensure that qualified firms can compete for work and that incentivize innovation and efficiency, including more lump sum contracting by government agencies.

Lump sum contracting “increases the firm’s flexibility to manage the project…and provides incentive to be innovative and creative, finding efficiencies in project delivery,” Pecori said. “Lump sum contracts are also much easier to manage, especially invoicing and auditing, saving staff time and money for both the agencies and firms.”


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