The Pennsylvania Separations Act derives its name from its mandate to have separate prime contractors for one public construction project in the areas of general construction, electrical, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning. This is referred to as a multiple prime delivery system.
In essence, the Separations Act forces the public owner to serve as the general contractor for a project and each prime contracts directly to the public owner. This is an inefficient contract delivery method fraught with problems such as delays and claims, which are two culprits for projects being over-budget. This multiple prime delivery system only exists in three states and this system is not used in the federal, private, residential and commercial markets.
Pennsylvania can no longer afford to ignore the fact that the construction industry has evolved since 1913 and more construction delivery methods are available to decide from, yet PA mandates the use of one delivery method. Multiple prime can be a good delivery method depending on the project, but that same statement can be made for design-bid-build, design/build, construction manager-at-risk, integrated project delivery, etc. There are numerous delivery options to select from and it's time PA public construction allows choices.