Capital improvement office to host building pro forum this month
By Lou Ortiz
Scores of architects, engineers and construction experts are expected to gather May 19 to discuss better ways to accomplish the billions of dollars in capital improvement projects in Miami-Dade County.
"The purpose of the industry forum is to establish a fresh dialogue with the building professions and trades," said Johnny Martinez, director of the county's Office of Capital Improvements.
"We are asking as a county," he said, "what can we do better to support and work in concert with the industry."
The forum, to be held at Jungle Island, will focus on:
The selection and bid award process.
Economic stimulus initiatives.
Standard contracts and billing and payments.
The design and building approach.
Streamlining procurement and equitable distribution program.
The permitting process
Small business participation and legislative initiatives.
The projects, valued at $2 billion, include ongoing capital improvements at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami and water and sewer upgrades in the county.
Others projects include those approved by voters in 2004 in the $2.9 billion Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond program.
The projects are expected to help soften the construction slowdown in the private sector in the current ailing economy, according to the county.
"Miami-Dade County is striving to work more efficiently with the architects, engineers and contractors who compete to work on the hundreds of capital projects that are put out to bid each year," County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said in a statement.
"We need to partner with the building trades and professions to devise new strategies to streamline the contracting process and get the work out on the street faster," he said.
"The current economic climate makes it imperative."
The response to the upcoming forum has been positive.
"We expect more than 100 people," said Paula Musto, a spokesperson for Mr. Martinez. "The response has been very good.
"The No. 1 thing is we want to get input from the industry and create a dialogue," she said. "We haven't done it for a while.
"We want to look for ways to work more efficiently," Ms. Musto added. "We want them to know what projects are coming up."
Mr. Martinez, County Manager George Burgess and directors from the airport, seaport and Miami-Dade Transit and others are expected to participate in the forum, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: (305) 375-2724.