Seemingly endless litigation on construction projects has led many contractors and owners to a new way of building. Partnering is being used with increasing frequency on projects nationwide. Partnering involves planning and building relationships among a project's principal players--the owner, contractor and designer. Some projects also include major subcontractors and suppliers.
Because partnering is a process, not an event, several steps are involved. Usually, the initial step is to hold a workshop or seminar where all involved parties meet to prepare for the project. This also works to build trust among the stakeholders. Other steps are: creating a partnering charter, developing an issue-resolution process, developing a joint evaluation process, discussing individual roles and concerns, and developing a final evaluation.
Concrete suppliers have an increasingly important role in partnering projects. That role depends on how vital concrete is to the project, the type of project, and the contractor's feelings on including suppliers in the partnership.