The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) welcomed a delegation of 21 high-level Philippine government officials in February for a program designed to share best practices in public procurement. The delegates, who also received advanced training in life cycle cost analysis (LCCA), best value determinations, and risk management, paid a special visit to the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) to learn about innovative LCCA models.
“Life cycle thinking, which considers all phases from initial construction to demolition, is incredibly important,” said Jeremy Gregory, executive director of the CSHub and research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Our LCCA approach allows stakeholders to understand the full cost of a building or pavement project, not just initial costs. It is very encouraging to see senior policy makers who want to learn about and embrace this thinking.”
LCCA models exist to study the economic impacts of decisions made in infrastructure projects by identifying costs during each phase, including accounting for future maintenance and operational activities. The CSHub also promotes life cycle analysis (LCA), which looks at environmental impact over a lifetime.
The delegates’ visit to the United States marked the second phase of USTDA’s partnership with the Philippines under the Global Procurement Initiative (GPI), a program dedicated to assisting public officials in emerging economies better understand the total cost of ownership for procurement of goods and services related to infrastructure projects.
“This laudable initiative, spearheaded by the USTDA, provides an excellent platform and broader perspective to various participating government stakeholders on procurement best practices and innovative measures to achieve value for money in government contracting,” said Dennis Santiago, executive director of the Government Procurement Policy Board Technical Support Office in the Philippines.
The delegation, which included senior officials from the Philippines' Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways, asked questions about state-of-the-art infrastructure approaches specific to roads and highways construction alongside concepts of life cycle analysis and total cost of ownership and engaged in conversation about the Hub’s pioneering work on creating stronger cement and concrete.
“Our GPI program is structured very carefully to adhere to international best practices for procurement and to keep up with the latest innovations in life cycle cost analysis,” said Anna Humphrey, director of strategic communications for USTDA. The group elected to visit MIT because, Humphrey said, the CSHub is “at the cutting edge of these type of processes.”
Elizabeth Johnson, USTDA manager for global programs, said the conversation was especially important for the delegates because of their interest in green procurement and using sustainable materials. “The GPI provides training in life cycle cost analysis and best value determination to help our partner countries obtain optimal results through public procurement,” she said.