Imagine you're suddenly placed in an owner's shoes. What type of project delivery system would you rely on to keep your project on track? If you're anything like a group of public owners who participated in a recent industry survey, you've already started looking into alternative project delivery methods to either reduce costs or shorten project schedules.

In the “2005 PinnacleOne Pulse of U.S. Public Construction” study released by PinnacleOne — a Phoenix-based national construction consulting firm, 95% of respondents reported exploring alternative project delivery methods. Of the various approaches at their disposal, two-thirds of study participants consider design-build effective in reducing their risk on a project. In fact, 45% of owners in the municipal/government sector currently use or plan to use it in the next year.

The second most popular delivery method is the job/task order contracting method (essentially putting a contractor in standby mode and asking the firm to render its services on demand). This method is particularly popular in the transportation sector, where almost half (47%) of the respondents currently use or plan to use it during the next year.

Coming in third on the list was the construction management at-risk method (applying the contractor's input to planning and design decisions, and having the construction manager act as the general contractor during construction), where 51% of all owners feel this method reduces their level of risk on a project. The construction management at-risk method is popular in the education sector, where more than a third (35%) of owners say they currently use or plan to use this method in the coming year.