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5 Job Order Contracting Myths and Facts

By Gordian

Myths persist over time to help people make sense of the world. Some myths are instructive, as in the case of Narcissus, a parable about the dangers of self-absorption. Some myths reflect the human psyche. The Bigfoot myth, for example, isn’t just a story about an ape-like creature living in the woods; it’s also a tale about humankind’s vulnerability to dangers lurking among us.

In the modern world, myths take hold when the stories we repeat to each other – and ourselves – seep into our attitudes and behaviors, even our workdays. Construction procurement work is not without its myths. There are common misconceptions about how Job Order Contracting (JOC) works and when it should be used, even though JOC has been proven to reduce time to construction and lower admin costs during the procurement process.

In the interest of clearing the air, let’s explore five myths and facts about Job Order Contracting.

Job Order Contracting Myth 1

Job Order Contracting Fact:

Job Order Contracting has been around for a long time. Gordian founder Harry Mellon created it in when he served in NATO in the early 1980s as a way to get routine projects started quickly. Like today’s facilities and procurement professionals, Harry was responsible for maintaining many different spaces and found it took him an exorbitant amount of time to get things done using traditional procurement methods like Design-Bid.

Harry brought JOC to the states and founded Gordian in 1990. Today, there are more than 300 active Gordian JOC programs that complete a combined $3.2 billion in construction volume every single year.

Job Order Contracting Myth 2

Job Order Contracting Fact:

It’s best to think of JOC as a complement to your current practices,  another project delivery tool to use when you need it.  There are projects where JOC is the best fit, and there are projects where it is not. Because JOC is designed to complete a succession of pre-defined construction tasks, it’s perfect for a variety of construction projects including repairs, renovations and maintenance work, especially when short timelines or fixed budgets are involved. Routine, simple projects:  That’s the JOC sweet spot.

5 Job Order Contracting Myths and Facts 1

Job Order Contracting Myth 3

Job Order Contracting Fact:

Recent research found that the transaction costs of implementing a Job Order Contract are comparable to traditional project delivery methods like Design-Build, Design-Bid-Build, and CM-At-Risk. So why is JOC perceived as more expensive and more time intensive? One answer might be familiarity.

As researcher Andrea S. Patrucco, Ph. D. explained on Procurated’s “Decisions That Matter” podcast, “JOC is a non-standard project delivery method. Government agencies feel that [since] JOC is not widely used or understood, [it] is something out of their comfort zone, then necessarily it will require more resource investment. Our finding actually does not confirm that. We don’t find that JOC programs require more people, more time and more money, which is what an organization that doesn’t adopt JOC might tell you to justify the fact that they are not using JOC.”

The persistence of this myth prevents procurement officials from adopting JOC, despite its verified benefits and long track record of success.

Dig into the report and see what else researchers discovered about Job Order Contracting and its benefits for procurement professionals.


Job Order Contracting Myth 4

Job Order Contracting Fact:

The same research mentioned above found that more than 58% of procurement professionals surveyed said  four or fewer people are involved in their JOC process.  On the other hand, nearly half of those surveyed said traditional project delivery requires more than five people. These statistics back up what villages, towns, rural schools and local government entities already know: JOC is a viable construction procurement option for small, overextended teams.

Job Order Contracting Myth 5

Job Order Contracting Fact:

You can invite any contractors in your area to participate in your JOC program, and you absolutely should invite them.  If you partner with Gordian to get your JOC program up and running, we’ll take care of all the legwork for you.  We will reach out to contractors and subcontractors in your area and teach them how to bid on your Gordian JOC program. We’ll even train them to follow tried and true Job Order Contracting best practices, so your projects run smoothly. In the end, you have a pool of local, competent, JOC contractors eager to take on your construction projects.

Typically, myths are more exciting than facts. With Job Order Contracting, the inverse is true. JOC complements, not replaces, more traditional project delivery methods; it’s a tool that procurement teams of all sizes can use to get more routine projects completed. JOC does not require great expense to implement or a large team to support, and it does create positive partnerships between project owners and contractors. Gordian has 30+ years of experience supporting JOC programs and has the know-how make your program so successful that you might just call it mythical.

About Gordian

Gordian is the leading provider of Building Intelligence™ Solutions, delivering unrivaled insights, robust technology and expert services to fuel customers’ success through all phases of the building lifecycle. Gordian created Job Order Contracting (JOC) and the industry-standard RSMeans Data. We empower organizations to optimize capital investments, improve project performance and minimize long-term operating expenses.

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