Infrastructure BC’s David Hubner has said progressive P3s are an “easy decision to make” as they provide a new pathway forward for hard to procure projects.
“The evolution towards progressive procurement is really resulting from market forces and the number of responses we were getting for RFQs,” he said at the CCPPP annual conference.
“It was necessary to look for other ways to do it – and the progressive approach was the answer.”
Under a progressive P3, the authority brings the private sector into the procurment process after a short request for proposals stage, allowing their expertise to help scope and shape the project and its structure.
Laurie Mahon, vice chair at CIBC, added that collaboration models help to solve “the challenge of finding a procure method that balances the need of the public sector...with the desire to get the best of the private sector into the projects. It’s not just about design, it’s also means and methods and phasing.”
The model does however pose risks, with Mahon cautioning that “if we start monkeying with this process too much, banks aren’t going to lend the money”.
Concerns also remain around ensuring that the private sector isn’t put off bidding for projects, particularly in relation to high bid costs.
“How do you make sure [authorities] don’t put industry on the back foot and lose the will to want to bid but still create competitive tension?” asked Kate Borg of WSP. “There isn’t a sweet spot yet, there is still a bit of learning that needs to go on.”