What is a Public-Private Partnership?

A public-private partnership (P3) is a funding model for public infrastructure projects such as new airports, waste water treatment plants and new roadways.

The government at a local, state and/or national level make up a public partner. On the other hand, privately-owned business, public corporation or consortium of businesses with a specific area of expertise are what factor into a private partnership.

P3 arrangements are useful for large projects that require highly-skilled workers and a significant cash outlay to get started. They are also useful in countries that require the state to legally own any infrastructure that serves the public.

Different models of P3 funding are characterized by which partner is responsible for owning and maintaining assets at different stages of the project. Below are a couple of examples of types of projects that Terracare Associates has participated in some form:

Design-Build (DB)

The private-sector partner designs and builds the infrastructure to meet the public-sector partner’s specifications, often for a fixed price. The private-sector partner assumes all risk.

Operation & Maintenance Contract (O & M)

The private-sector partner, under contract, operates a publicly-owned asset for a specific period of time. The public partner retains ownership of the assets. Our partnership with CH2M-Hill and the City of Centennial Public works department, which just became the first accredited P3 of its time, is an example of this type of arrangement.

The primary value of the P3 model comes from delivering a needed project more efficiently and at less risk for the public entity.

Using Denver as an example, CDOT has been able to complete an expansion of Highway 36 between Boulder and the I-25 corridor using private sector funding in exchange for an arrangement on tolling fees. This model has proven itself successful enough that the same type of model is being used for the eventual I-70 expansion project.

Another large scale Denver area project is the connection of Denver International Airport to downtown Denver via a monorail going from the airport to downtown Denver. This project was started first by a public-private arrangement and finished through support by the federal government with large funding to finish the project.

Our P3 experts on staff at Terracare are available for a P3 consultation with your team throughout the United States. Contact us today for more information on this innovative approach to public works requirements.

Parking Lot Repairs That Will Improve Your Property Value This Spring

Spring has made an early appearance and that’s a great excuse to get outside and walk your parking areas to determine what needs should be addressed. As a commercial property owner, a sound facilities management and maintenance program is a necessity to keep the value and appearance of the facility at its best. Maintaining a parking lot can seem daunting, but it is a necessary task. The parking lot is the first impression your customers are presented. It should be clean, easy to navigate and free of asphalt defects.

Here are some types of maintenance services you should be looking to be provided:

Cleaning:

Regular trash pickup, sweeping and power washing will help keep the parking area neat and attractive. Potential customers will not have to worry about driving or walking amongst discarded cans, containers or other debris from the “less than considerate” folks that will come through the facility.

Potholes and asphalt repairs:pothole

Once asphalt deterioration begins, it can progress quickly. These areas should be addressed as soon as possible to reduce the overall affected area in need of repair. A poor condition parking lot is a direct reflection on the business.

 

 

Seal Coating:

The application of an asphalt sealant not only keeps the parking lot looking new, it helps prevent the degradation of the asphalt surface. The sealant repels the damage of day-to-day exposure from the environment, such as UV rays, water, salts, spilled fuel, etc.

Crack sealing:

This is the biggest bang for your buck in maintenance processes. Any crack in the parking surface presents an opportunity for water to infiltrate and begin the process of creating a compromise in the integrity of the pavement. This is the beginning of the menace called potholes.

asphalt repairReplacement:

When you have an area that just falls apart: the real solution is to remove and replace it. Temporary fixes just prolong the inevitable. Have it dug up, recondition the base and then re-install the pavement. The new asphalt should then become part of a regular maintenance plan to prevent a repeat scenario.

 

If there is one thing to remember, it is that maintenance must be done at a planned regular sequence to prolong the longevity of the pavement and enhance the property appearance and value.

Commercial Property Management: Why Parking Lots Are Crucial In Making a Great First Impression

As a business or property owner, your parking lot is a crucial aspect of your business, contributing to your business’ overall value and appearance. A freshly sealed parking lot with new striping gives a more mature, complete and professional feel to a business. Incorporating the best preventative and corrective maintenance plans of action into your overall property management and budget will help your business make a solid first impression.

 

Evaluation

Since parking lots are big part of your property, they require timely and appropriate maintenance. Parking lots sporting many potholes can leave a poor impression on visitors. As a property owner or manager, you should evaluate your entire parking lot and note the types of distress and the severity of those deficient areas. Here is a high-level list of what to look for:

  • Number of potholes
  • Approximate square footage of damage and severity of the holes (low, moderate, severe)
  • Cracking, the amount of square footage and the severity (how wide is the cracking, etc)

 

Plan of Action

After the evaluation, which can be conducted individually or with the assistance of a professional, a plan of action should be developed for maintenance and incorporated into the facility budget. The maintenance plan should be split into two areas, preventive and corrective. Remember deferred maintenance is often more expensive and larger in scope because of the neglect. Pavement technologies change rapidly, which means plans and costs can change too.

  • Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach addressing the needs of normal wear and tear. We recommend developing annual, five year and ten year plans. Annual programs should include sweeping, crack sealing and a periodic check for any areas that might show the need for patching before it turns into a full blown pothole or worse. Many of these can be repaired fairly quickly by the use of an Infra-red machine. Next create a detailed five-year plan. It would include the yearly maintenance plan along with a seal coat to renew the asphalt surface and seal the surface from the possible penetration of water. A seal stops water from entering the ground under asphalt, which would allow the expansion and contraction by seasonal temperatures. Projecting out to a ten-year plan, you would include the annual maintenance and add a slurry seal, which would replace some of the thickness that may have worn away and fill ion minor ruts and cracking.

 

  • Corrective is the type of work involving removal and replacement of material — think of potholes as a general rule here. Corrective care often involves cutting the area(s) and removing the material, replacing it with fresh asphalt and compacting the asphalt to the level of the existing surface. If the area is large, you now have equipment removing large areas of failed asphalt (or concrete), then re-compaction of the afflicted area and new asphalt laid — a very expensive procedure. Worth noting, irrigation is a common culprit of asphalt failure. Water will find into the weak point in a paved surface and will work its way to the sub-surface where the strength and stability will degrade. This often results in the start of a pothole.

 

 

Proper and regular maintenance of parking lots are often susceptible to tight budgets. Try to protect this line item and you will reap the rewards later when you do not have to invest heavily in major repairs. A professional company can help with recommended repairs and the timeline for future maintenance.

 

5 Tips for Fighting Weeds

Keep grass healthy and weed-free by mowing regularly.
Keep grass healthy and weed-free by mowing regularly.

Spring brings warmer weather, more sunshine, longer days, and the start of the growing season for plants. Unfortunately, plants also include weeds. Weeds tend to be the most resilient and prolific of all plants. Each weed type has its own unique growth and seed cycle that occur at various times during the year. The unpredictability of the weed cycle and vast root system, plus the constant seeding cycle, is why weeds continue to exist. Removing the whole root is the right approach, however close to impossible to achieve without destroying of the root system of the entire area. Any part of a weed root system will eventually lead to the re-establishment of the weed.

 

Inevitably there is one commercial property, city park, or highway medium that has a perfect lawn – super green and mysteriously, no evidence of weeds. What are they doing, that you aren’t?

 

Here are five tips for fighting weeds that will deliver healthy and attractive parks and landscapes.

  1. Rake the yard. Once the snow has disappeared from a property, don’t instantly go wild with chemicals. Over the winter, plant matter may have accumulated on top of the grass shading the soil and root structure. Wake up and stimulate growth through light raking.
  2. Stomp out seeds. As temperatures reach 50-65oF apply a pre-emergent type herbicide to combat the seeds (we highly recommend seeking expert landscape advice). This treatment creates a barrier in the soil, when seeds germinate they either grow down or up to the barrier and die off.  Once this has been applied, water to start the treatment but don’t over water and allow the product to work undisturbed.
  3. Fertilizer. Once temperatures are consistently warm, there are a variety of fertilizers that can help. Your outdoor maintenance provider can assist in finding the best mix. In fact, Terracare Associates offers a custom blend that helps with water absorption and fertilization. It is important to have three specific nutrients in the mixture.
    1. Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen will help green the plant
    2. Phosphate (P): Phosphorous helps promote root growth
    3. Potassium (K). Potassium promotes overall plant health (i.e. a good “winterizer” will have a high Potassium number)

    Fertilizing throughout the season improves grass health and stimulates growth so there is no available space for weeds to try to compete.

  4. Mow regularly. Mowing is a key component of the annual process. Each type of grass has an ideal cutting height for health and growth. Mowing at the proper height is an effective weed control practice and will help with the health of your lawn plant. Depending on the weather and time of year, mowing should occur every 4-5 days or every week. Our company often uses mulching mowers; this reduces the amount of matter sent to the landfill and returns the finely clipped grass to the soil as a fertilizer itself.
    • Expert tip: Ask your landscape professional what type of turf is best for your property. You may have a grass that is not ideal material for your landscape.
  5. Spot spraying. Larger properties tend to have sporadic weeds throughout the turf. Terracare’s best practices include spot spray instead of a wholesale treatment. The “down- stream” concerns of run-off can be hazardous to the environment.  Be cognizant of when and how chemicals are washed out into storm drains.

 

Sticking to these steps will help curb weeds on your property and make it a healthy, beautiful, and sustainable landscape for years to come.

 

Bill Winfield serves as Director of Operations for Terracare Associates overseeing all public infrastructure operations. Currently, he is the lead project manager on the largest public private partnership contract in the country between City of Centennial, Colorado, and CH2MHill. In addition, he supervises operations of the public works departments for Northwest Parkway and Lone Tree, Colorado, and Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and is responsible for an additional 23 infrastructure contracts and projects. He is a graduate of the University of Wyoming.