The economic downturn has provided a good climate for the rare water utility that has available cash. Potential bidders are crowding pre-bid meetings, materials prices have fallen steeply, and many bid prices have dropped 15% to 40% below engineering estimates. “If you’re an owner, it’s a good environment for bidding,” says John Boisvert, chief engineer with Pennichuck Water Works, an investor-owned water utility in New Hampshire. Photo: CH2M Hill The Buckman Direct Diversion project, the largest municipal water-supply project in New Mexico, did not receive any stimulus funds. Photo: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Pipes will feed a new $114-million
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.