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The Impact of PLAs on School Construction Costs

If you are being forced to use a Project Labor Agreement to construct a public building as the result of President Obama’s executive order, you might want to take a close look at this study.

A newly released report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research in San Diego found that

“PLAs are associated with higher construction costs.  We found that costs are 13 to 15 percent higher when school districts construct a school under a PLA.  In inflation-adjusted dollars, we found that the presence of a PLA is associated with costs that are $28.90 to $32.49 per square foot higher.”  

“This study examines the relationship between the adoption of PLAs and public school construction costs in California.  We examine the inflation-adjusted square foot construction costs for 551 school projects in California built between 1995 and 2009.  Sixty-five of these projects were built using PLAs in eight separate school districts.”

There are arguments on both sides of the issue with the pros stating that the contractors using the PLAs are hiring more qualified workers who do a better job on the project.  The cons on the issue claim that in this current environment where states like California are making massive cuts to avoid bankruptcy, that PLAs drive up construction costs higher than needed.

The Daily Kos published this view calling the study “Deeply Flawed".

You be the judge and let us know what you think.


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