JOC Best Practices: When Is Job Order Contracting the Perfect Fit for a Project?

Have you ever tried to put a nail in a wall with a screwdriver handle or the butt of a drill? You can do it, but it would be a lot easier if you had a hammer handy. Construction project delivery methods work like that: Any delivery method may work for your project, but using the right one will make the process a lot easier.

Each method out there was developed for specific types of work. And while we’re partial to Job Order Contracting (JOC) because of its time and administrative cost savings, we recognize that it is a stronger choice for certain kinds of projects. To help out, we put together a list of the types of construction projects JOC is known to help owners complete with time and cost savings. After all, we’d hate for you to use a drill as a hammer.

Small- or Medium-Sized Projects. Projects that can be scoped, priced and completed quickly are ideal for Job Order Contracting because, with JOC, construction work is delivered through a selection of Tasks from a Unit Price book that lives for the entirety of a Job Order Contract. We call our Unit Price book the Construction Task Catalog (CTC). Because owners are “ordering” Tasks from the CTC, Job Order Contracting is best suited for repairs, replacements, renovations and rehab projects rather than for building new from the ground up.


Advance Work for Large Projects. While JOC isn’t the best project delivery method for a large-scale project, it can still assist in the process. Project owners can use JOC to perform preliminary work such as demolition, hazardous material abatement and site work, in conjunction with other project delivery methods designed for large scale projects.

Time-Sensitive Projects and Emergency Work. For tight deadlines, JOC contractors are already awarded and ready to respond immediately to minimize downtime. For example, San Antonio’s Dos Rios Water Recycling needed to have elevated carbon steel air piping painted fast, before a public ceremony to celebrate the plant’s 30 years of service. Using ezIQC® (a form of JOC available through a shared contract), the Dos Rios project was wrapped up in 16 days, in plenty of time for the event.

Punch List Work on Traditionally Bid Projects. JOC is a great tool for completing the outstanding portions of work for a traditionally bid project. The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority in Florida, used ezIQC for this exact purpose when they needed help finishing up construction of a new self-service area at the Tampa International Airport.

Backlogged Projects. JOC Contractors can supplement your in-house staff by completing backlogged projects or teaming with in-house staff and performing a portion of the work. Konawaena High School in Hawaii used Job Order Contracting to take on a project that had been backlogged for eight years. Once started, the awarded contractor finished the work in just 36 days.

See how Job Order Contracting has been used by airports, state and local government agencies, small colleges, major universities and healthcare facilities in this free eBook, “Building Excellence – Completing a Variety of Projects with Job Order Contracting.”

Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO). JOC contracts can be put in place to specifically address MRO work – quickly eliminating a backlog of pending work and keeping up with current MRO requests.

Grant Projects. Job Order Contracting can help you complete work with a fixed budget, like a state or Federal grant. With traditional bidding, if the prices exceed the available budget, the project must be redesigned and rebid. On the other hand, JOC allows contractors to prepare a Price Proposal to maximize the work for an allotted budget.

You can even use JOC to ensure you keep grant funding, just as the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) did. The organization was struggling, only completing 10 to 15 repairs and renovations every year. When LACDA implemented a JOC program in 2011, they increased their throughput to 60 projects a year, a 400% increase. The explosion of construction work has improved the quality of life for LACDA residents and helped the agency grow its grant funding.

Replacement-In-Kind Projects. These projects generally require little design work and can be scoped and priced quickly. Using JOC saves you the time and cost of preparing full plans and specifications and conducting a formal bid process. When the chiller went out at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, JOC was selected to replace it quickly. In just two weeks, a new chiller was installed, ensuring comfort for visitors and employees.

Planning for Limited Scheduling Windows. With Job Order Contracting, projects can be scoped and priced well in advance of limited scheduling windows for completing the work. Tarrant County College (TCC) had only the summer to convert existing unoccupied retail space into learning and social environments for its students. The project had high stakes: Construction needed to be finished by the fall semester if TCC was going to earn accreditation. With JOC, the school finished all the work and is now open to students.

End of the Year Funding. Owners sometimes scramble at the end of the fiscal year to commit available funds or risk losing the money. Job Order Contracting projects can be scoped and priced quickly, allowing the owner to obligate the funds.

Projects Lacking a Clear Scope. An important part of the JOC process is the Joint Scope Meeting, where the owner and the contractor walk the job site. During this meeting, the contractor can help the owner define the Scope of Work and make recommendations for success.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all construction project delivery method. Owners need all the tools in their procurement toolbox at different times to complete different work. Now you know when it is best to reach into your toolbox for Job Order Contracting.


About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Sightlines Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.