Productive first quarter celebrated as Public Building Commission work moves forward

Kevin Smith, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

The Board of Commissioners of the Public Building Commission met today and issued a quarterly report highlighting the accomplishments of the first quarter of 2009.

Having committed to more than $103 million in work during the first quarter of 2009, the Commission reported strong progress with 21 projects in construction, 15 projects in design and another 28 in planning. The strong first quarter comes as the PBC is overseeing a program of projects with a total value of $1.4 billion, in various phases of development.

Since beginning a large phase of capital work in 2007, more than $594 million in work has been bid and awarded. In its first quarter of 2009, the Public Building Commission awarded four general construction projects valued at over $95 million as well as Job Order Contract projects with a total value of over $8 million.  The Minority-Owned Business Enterprise commitment on the newly awarded work was 30.26 percent, or $31.2 million, while the Women-Owned Business Enterprise commitment was 4.04 percent, or $8 million.

“We monitor all project delivery activities on a regular basis, continuously assessing and improving our operational effectiveness,” said PBC Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi. “These figures illustrate an agency with a strong delivery approach and a strong commitment to diversity and capacity building. Our process is one that is transparent and responsible in the application of public funds. This year started strong, and we expect the rest of 2009 to continue to exhibit the same track record of exemplary project delivery and community benefit.”

Also in the first quarter of 2009, the PBC made 50 awards totaling over $500,000 to 12 pre-qualified specialty consultants, in areas such as surveying, commissioning, environmental consulting and construction materials testing. Thirty-one percent of the work was assigned to MBE firms and 58 percent of the work was assigned to WBE firms.

The report also included program-wide change order statistics. The change orders were as low as 1.7 percent for vertical construction. Changes orders have been running at 2.7 percent on average for all construction processes, including the abatement and demolition phase, the site preparation phase and the vertical construction phase. This record compares quite favorably against industry standards.

It was reported that, on average over the last two years, bids for vertical construction were 6.95 percent below the estimated values. Market conditions indicate a significant decrease in construction costs. Timely payment activities, coupled with the change in the market, have caused more bidders to bid on PBC work, increasing the competition and further lowering the cost of construction work.

The PBC manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its other sister agencies. Mayor Richard M. Daley serves as the PBC’s chairman. Additional information about the PBC and its projects is available at the agency’s Web site: