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Capital Improvements Program (CIP)

Construction Contract Types

The City of San Diego makes use of several types of construction contracts and methods of construction delivery, commonly used in the engineering and construction industry, to execute its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and other construction projects. The City's most commonly used types of contracts and methods of construction delivery are discussed below.

  1. "Low-Bid" Design-Bid-Build: This contract delivery method is the most common type of contract awarded and is used for both large and small projects. With this method, the plans are designed by an independent engineering professional (Consultant) or in-house staff. Once the project design is complete, the City then solicits bids from construction firms to construct the project. Once the bidding process concludes, the construction contract is awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.
  2. Design-Build: This contract delivery method includes both design and construction services that are contracted to a single entity. The City provides the design criteria and the Design-Builder completes the design and builds the project. For detailed summary, read: Design-Build Process Summary (PDF)
  3. Job Order Contract (JOC): This type of contract is as-needed and is used for construction-only projects; engineering design is not included. The projects under these types of contracts may be of urgent or emergency need and for repair, rehabilitation, or new construction projects. Furthermore, JOC is typically used for projects that rely mostly on single trades, such as mechanical, electrical, or pipeline work that is estimated to cost no more than $5 million. The contractor that provides the lowest responsible and reliable bid for each JOC contract is awarded that particular contract. Each JOC contract has a fixed term, typically two years, and is currently valued at a maximum of $30 Million for the total of the projects performed under each JOC contract.
  4. Minor Construction Program: This type of contract is awarded through a competitive proposal process to City of San Diego certified Small Local Business Enterprises (SLBE) and Emerging Local Business Enterprises (ELBE) only. The total project value for each contract is $500,000 or less. This type of delivery method is also used for list of certified SLBE/ELBE contractors to bid on CIP Projects of $250,000 or under.
  5. Multiple Award Construction Contracts (MACC): This type of contract is as-needed where design and construction projects are bid by a selected list of qualified designer and contractor partnerships. The contract is procured for specific assets, such as water, wastewater, or storm water related work. As construction work is needed, the project is assigned to the appropriate MACC based on the required work and asset type. Then each of the shortlisted designer and contractor partnerships are required to provide a bid for design and construction, saving valuable time in contracting each project through a full open solicitation. Each MACC project is currently estimated between $1 million and $10 million. The maximum contract value of all the MACC project is currently $100 million.
  6. Construction Manager At Risk (CMAR): This delivery method commits the construction manager to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price. The construction manager acts as consultant to the City in the development and design phases (Stage I - Pre-construction Services) and as the equivalent of a general contractor during the construction phase (Stage II - Construction Services). The City may enter into a separate contract with a design consultant simultaneously.
  • Construction Contracts Guide (PDF) - The City has produced this reference guide to provide general information about the bidding and contract award process for CIP construction projects.
  • Construction Contract Types (PDF) - This document provides a more complete overview of the different types of construction contracts and delivery methods used by the City.