Transparent Collaboration Maximizes Value on Big Projects

Collaboration, innovation, and inclusion are key to the success of big design-build projects. Implementing such measures in the early phases of a project helps ensure overall project success and should be a guiding principle on all large design-build projects. Moreover, a commitment to transparent, collaborative, and inclusive project delivery fosters a culture of communication and cooperation that yields the best overall project results.

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Topics: CDM Smith, Collaborative Delivery.

Silver Lining: Lessons Learned from an Envision-Rated Treatment Plant

Sustainability has become a word mentioned across our lives and the industry but isn’t as clearly defined as other terms like efficiency, safety factor, or effluent quality. According to the United Nations Brundtland Commission Report of 1987, “Sustainable development is…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Its lack of specificity can make it difficult for engineers to improve their project’s sustainability; however, this freedom in exact definitions also provides the opportunity to apply sustainability in every decision and stage of design, construction, and operation of an engineered project.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Freese and Nichols.

Designing for Procurement Can Help Alleviate Supply Chain Headaches

The design-build project delivery approach continues to deliver value to municipal water utilities. From a single point of responsibility and integration to cost certainty and timely delivery, design-build can help create a more streamlined and seamless project experience. Design-build planning starts by assessing which project elements will take the longest. Then, the team works backwards to inform sequencing of design and procurement. However, the global supply chain crisis is creating major bottlenecks in the delivery of much-needed equipment for projects in all industries. Some portions of the planning need rethinking accordingly.

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Topics: Burns & McDonnell, Collaborative Delivery, Design-Build, Procurement.

Transferring Risk: An Opportunity to Add Value Using Progressive Design-Build Delivery

Projects delivered under construction management at-risk (CMAR) and progressive design-build (PDB) contracts are becoming more common in the US water sector. Each method offers opportunities for an owner to accelerate schedule, collaborate more effectively with a project team, facilitate early consideration of construction issues, and receive insight into project cost. There are many similarities between these two delivery methods, but PDB offers one major differentiator: an opportunity for the owner to transfer additional risk.

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Topics: Black & Veatch, Progressive Design-Build, Risk Allocation.

Balancing Self-Performance and Subcontracting in Collaborative Delivery Projects

As the number and size of infrastructure projects continue to increase, while the qualified available workforce continues to decrease, contractors who traditionally identify as “self-performing” contractors find themselves having to make decisions on what scopes of work they ultimately need to self-perform for project success. This is especially true on the “mega-sized” projects. Collaborative delivery projects, such as construction management at-risk (CMAR) and progressive design-build (PDB), if approached correctly from the outset, allow self-performing contractors to concentrate on those packages required to maintain the project schedule, while ensuring a successful project by attracting the “best of the best” subcontractors to perform the other scopes of work.

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Topics: Clark Construction, Collaborative Delivery, Self-Performing.

Top 5 Reasons to Use a Standardized Contract Document

There is a long and rich history of the development and use of standardized contract documents in the US construction industry. There are several off-the-shelf contract options that have been strategically developed specifically for our industry:

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Topics: Alberici, Contracts.

An Owner’s Top 3 Action Items for Organizational Preparedness

Do you have a one-time mega-project that you don’t have the capacity or capabilities to deliver? Is your capital improvement program growing quickly and you need to equip your staff with the right skills and relevant knowledge to keep up with the rising demand? Do you need to decrease your average project delivery time due to rate-payer or political pressure? All of the above?

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Tanner Pacific.

Do You Really Want to Contract with the Greater Fool?

One of my typical roles as an owner advisor is to review proposed construction management at-risk (CMAR) and design-build contracts from a commercial perspective—i.e., what’s the likely marketplace reaction to the contract and is the contract consistent with the philosophy behind collaborative delivery? I am continually amazed by what I see. For example, on two of my current public design-build projects, the RFP versions of the contracts: Made design-builders responsible for consequential damages Gave very limited rights for time and cost relief for events beyond the design-builder’s reasonable control Contained substantial, uncapped, schedule liquidated damages Made the design-builder responsible for not only managing the performance of the owner’s other prime contractors, but for their delays in performance Obligated the design-builder to a far-reaching and uninsurable indemnity Provided that all disputes would be fully and finally resolved by the owner’s chief engineer, with limited appeal rights When I pointed out my concerns to the project’s legal team, the reaction was one that I have heard for years: “Yeah, whatever. Let’s see how the marketplace responds. They can price the risk in their proposal.”

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Topics: CMAR, Collaborative Delivery, Contracts, Design-Build, Uncategorized.

Using Collaborative Delivery to Mitigate Supply Chain Disruption

When we emerge from the extreme days of the COVID environment, there will be some lingering effects that become a permanent part of our way of doing business.  Management of the supply chain is probably one of the most significant. I was at a national association conference last month with nearly two thousand attendees. Last year I moderated a panel at the same conference talking about early supply chain engagement. The reception from the audience was interest, but not urgency. Fast forward a year and the same conference had a thread of supply chain issues running through every presentation. We’ve all seen the pictures of backed-up ocean freighters parked off the west coast. We’ve seen costs for construction commodities rise to 200% or 300% of previously predicable prices in under a year. The existing way of handling these risks has not responded to the challenges.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Equipment/Technology Suppliers, Victaulic.

How the Design-Build Process Improves the Chance of Success for the Commissioning Process

The beginning stages of the design-build process may seem premature to begin discussions on commissioning, but early planning improves the chance of project success. Collaborating on commissioning with the design-build team allows an owner to articulate their goals and expectations for the project, develop a commissioning plan that is built upon throughout the design process, and successfully execute the plan. The commissioning team can work collaboratively during the design phase to develop warranty and functional testing requirements for process systems that articulate those owner goals and expectations. Early work packages with the design-build process also allow for the commissioning process to be spread out rather than everything occurring at the end, reducing stress on operations staff. For these reasons, utilizing the design-build process improves the chance for success in the commissioning process.

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Topics: Commissioning, Design-Build, The Walsh Group.