Chicago Department of Aviation

Understanding the Business Process


The City of Chicago is the owner and operator of Chicago O’Hare International Airport (O’Hare).

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is the delegated city department responsible for the administration and operations of all aspects of O’Hare.

The CDA provides oversight and management of the Construction Managers at Risk through the Program Manager, Connect Chicago Alliance (CCA).

Connect Chicago Alliance (CCA)​, as the CDA’s Program Manager, assist the CDA in the overall management of the capital improvements at O’Hare, acting as the administrative and technical representative with the Construction Managers at Risk.​

The Construction Managers at Risk (CMR) are the entities the CDA has selected to deliver construction services associated with the Terminal Area Plan (TAP) and select capital improvements at O'Hare. Among the CMRs duties is to procure construction services via publicly procured subcontracts while ensuring that the construction community at-large is provided an opportunity to pursue these subcontracts.

In addition, the CMRs  set up technical assistance to the sub​contracting community through educational opportunities and facilitating contact with appropriate agencies and available programs. The CMRs are working in different areas of the airport, on different projects.

The Construction Managers at Risk

​​AECOM Hunt Clayco Bowa​, A Joint Venture – www.A​
Austin Power Partners – Austin Commercial, Power Construction and Ujamaa Construction –
​​​​Turner Paschen Aviation Partners – Turner Construction, F.H. Paschen, SPAAN Tech, d’Escoto Incorporated, and Griggs, Mitchell and Alma. –


The CMR Delivery Method was chosen by the Chicago Department of Aviation in order to deliver an aggressive overall program schedule by leveraging the expertise of the CMRs early in design through construction to allow more cost and schedule certainty and to maximize opportunity for firms of various sizes.

The Construction Manager at-Risk delivery method transfers risk from the Owner (Chicago Department of Aviation) in exchange for a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) from the CMR to deliver the project on time and within the GMP. The CMR procures the work of subcontractors via bid packages and holds the contracts with its subcontractors. It manages the subcontractors and acts as the construction manager in order to provide expedited field direction, on-site safety programs and quality assurance, and acts as a general contractor ensuring the subcontractors are building in accordance with plans and specifications.

The CMRs release packages that are specific in their scopes and sizing to provide opportunities for firms to successfully work at the airport and increase their capabilities and range. The unbundling of the trade packages that might otherwise be bid out as larger packages allows for important growth for small to medium sized Chicago businesses in the O’Hare 21 Program.


The selected CMR teams are experienced with working at the airport and are tasked to assist the subcontracting community to understand the airport environment so they can provide complete and accurate bids.  Successfully completing work under the guidance and mentoring of CMR teams provide experience and confidence for smaller subcontractors to perform work under future contracts for CDA.


The CMRs are committed to working with all subcontractors to grow their capacity to work successfully on airport projects and to ensure that the O'Hare 21 program is diverse and inclusive. For subcontractors and suppliers that wish to bid on a CMR contract for O'Hare 21, The prequalification process assists the CMRs and subcontractors with identifying opportunities for participating in the O'Hare 21 program.


To support economic growth, workforce development, increased competition in the City contract, and to encourage greater diversity in the pool of businesses that bid on and earn City contracts, the City has a number of programs, preferences, and incentives available to bidders competing to obtain City contracts. For O'Hare 21, bidders on selected bid packages are allowed to submit bids to the CMRs utilizing these bid incentives.

The available Bid Incentives may include the following:

Several DPS programs may be available to bidders on O'Hare 21. The City's Bid Programs may include the following:

Bidders and their subcontractors are required to report verifiable data to prove compliance with the incentive requirements, such as proof of BEPD, VBE, MBE, WBE, proof of hours worked by certain employees, and/or proof of a subcontractor's place of business.

Additional information on bid incentives and programs is available at:


The Municipal Code of Chicago requires that 50% or more of the work hours performed on the O'Hare 21 program must be performed by workers who are residents of the City.​

The Municipal Code of Chicago also requires a minimum amount of work hours performed on the O'Hare 21 program to be performed by residents of the Project Area. The City-defined Community Areas map is the source used to identify Project Areas.


Bidders and their subcontractors are required to furnish proof of ability and willingness to provide the bonds and insurance required by the Contract with their Proposal. For certain bid opportunities the CMR may provide Subcontractor Default Insurance (SDI) in lieu of requiring a payment and performance bond. This is determined by the CMR after bid opening but prior to award. ​


The CMR and its subcontractors must provide and maintain the insurance coverages and requirements specified by the Contract until project completion and during the specified time period following final completion.

The following insurance coverages may be specified and required by the CMR:

  • Workers Compensation and Employer's Liability (Primary and Umbrella)
  • Commercial General Liability (Primary and Umbrella)
  • Automotive Liability (Primary and Umbrella)
  • Excess/Umbrella
  • Builders Risk
  • Professional Liability
  • Contractors Pollution Liability
  • Installation Floater Insurance
  • Railroad Protective Liability



All CMR contracts have project-wide goals for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) Firms. These goals are defined on a package-by-package basis in order to meet the overall contract goals set forth by the City of Chicago.

Teams conduct introductory meetings with the City's various Assist Agencies. A key component of these introductory meetings discuss the Prequalification Process in detail so that the contracting community, and specifically MBEs, WBEs, SBEs, BEPDs and VBEs, understand the process and allow these firms to immediately participate in the prequalification process.

The City of Chicago has created programs for small and medium sized businesses. To support this initiative the CMRs set aside trade packages that only SBE and MBE firms can bid, creating capacity and expanding the market for these companies. In addition, the CMRs host community outreach events to engage and inform the MBEs, WBEs and VBEs; BEPDs and SBEs.

All CMRs are required to utilize the City of Chicago Bid Incentives and Programs in order to encourage the use of certified firms. Additional information for bid incentives can be found at



For prime subcontractors to apply for payment, the following must be submitted, reviewed, and approved via the payment management software used by each CMR:​

    1. Pay Application Form
    2. ​Contractor's Sworn Statement Form
    3. Certified Payrolls (from all tiers and subcontractors)
    4. MWBE Status Report Form
    5. Lien Waivers (from all tiers and subcontractors)
    6. Stored materials backup for on or off-site materials​


Retention is not held on O'Hare 21. Once all contract terms have been met and forms submitted, for example, completed punch list, closeout documents, etc., final payment is released to the Prime.​


The CDA implements an Early Pay Program, available to all Primes in exchange for a nominal fee. This program guarantees payment to the Prime within 30 days following approval of the Prime’s invoice in their Payment Management Software. A Prime may enroll month to month, or opt in for longer term. A Prime may request early pay for the full amount of their monthly invoice OR a portion specific to a MBE/WBE sub-tier. Once the Prime receives its early payment, it is required to pay its sub-tiers within 7 days.

Additional information regarding the Early Pay Program is available through each specific CMR.​​