Monday, March 29, 2010

Industry Experts Confirm Economic and Social Value of PLAs at Michigan State University Conference

Experts from the construction industry, academia and local government spoke to the value of Project Labor Agreements at a conference jointly sponsored by the School of Labor & Industrial Relations and the School of Planning Design & Construction at Michigan State University.

The conference, "Understanding PLAs", was designed to bring together leading experts on the subject of PLAs.

There was even an unintended surprise when a panelist for the Associated Builders and Contractors, an industry group that is aggressively opposed to PLAs, shocked both his colleagues on the panel - there to present the ABC’s opposition to PLAs - when he actually praised PLAs as being a “good thing.”

The ABC panelist – an attorney with Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith, PC in Michigan – even singled out for praise a Metropolitan Building Trades Council for their work on a PLA project in Michigan that included both union and non-union contractors.

Other panelists unanimously endorsed the concept of PLAs as being good for on-time and on-budget construction. Steve DiBartolo – a Vice President for Hill International; a professional services and construction management firm that specializes in helping its clients minimize the risks inherent in the construction process – spoke to the cost savings that can be achieved by construction owners through the use of project labor agreements.

He was followed by Doug Maibach, of Barton Mallow (a nationally recognized provider of construction management services) who offered a unique perspective of the value of PLAs. Most “revenue producing” projects (i.e. sports stadiums; casinos; etc.) that require a fast construction phase in order to minimize revenue loss, are almost universally constructed under a PLA. This is due to the fact that PLAs offer greater jobsite efficiencies and cost savings through the employment of a safe, highly skilled, highly trained and highly productive workforce.

Another value that PLAs bring an area is to provide pathways for local, disadvantaged residents to secure career training opportunities through the building trades’ local joint skilled apprenticeship programs.

All in all, the conference offered a ringing endorsement of the overall economic and social value that PLAs provide to construction owners, contractors, government entities, and the community at large.

Employing a knowledgable,trained, productive and safe workforce on a project is the most important component required in making the project progress efficiently.

When the public hears the truth about PLA's they overwhelmingly support using them.

Help spread the word - PLA's make Sense!

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