Blog

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.

Benefits of a Proven Self-Performing Design-Builder

A critical element of success for progressive design-build projects is cost savings. It is the design-builder’s job to make every penny of the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) count. A self-performing design-builder provides cost and schedule certainty during the design-to-budget process. These advantages also extend to construction activities, where the design-builder provides the client with the ability to cost-effectively self-perform much of the construction work, controlling the critical path and managing project risk. Here are some specific benefits to self-performance in the design-build delivery method.

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Topics: Self-Performing, Ulliman Schutte, Value Engineering.

Strategies for Material Delivery and Price Escalation Risks on Collaborative Delivery Projects

The pandemic has impacted not only our day-to-day lives but it is forcing us to reexamine long-accepted approaches to how collaborative delivery firms specify and procure materials and equipment for our projects. A global scarcity of shipping containers, skyrocketing shipping rates, clogged ports, and shortages of manufacturing components are driving firms to evolve their procurement approach to avoid long lead times and escalation charges. Gone for now are the days when quality and price were the two primary drivers for equipment and material selection. Firms and owners are now putting greater emphasis on other factors such as manufacturing location, delivery methods, material availability, and fabrication lead times when selecting materials and equipment.

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Topics: AECOM, Collaborative Delivery.

Principles of O&M Engagement for Design-Build Projects

As design-build (DB) becomes more common for the development and construction of long-term infrastructure, the engagement of the owner’s operations and maintenance (O&M) team becomes significantly more important to project success. For some projects, the traditional design-bid-build process may not have taken advantage of the institutional knowledge available from the owner’s O&M teams as facilities and systems were designed, constructed, and commissioned. When projects are implemented without O&M team input, the O&M function can be “stuck” with facilities that do not work as well as they could have if there had been more O&M input into the entire project development process.

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Topics: Brown and Caldwell, O&M.

Is CMAR the Best Delivery Solution for your PFAS Problem?

Perfluroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (commonly referred to as PFAS) are impacting drinking water supplies nationwide. These emerging contaminants are challenging municipalities, water districts, and all water providers. Unlike system capacity increases and aging facilities incorporated into long-term planning, PFAS levels spike, forcing owners to take immediate actions to maintain water quality and the need for regulations surrounding them to change quickly. Do you need a PFAS solution?

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Topics: CMAR, PFAS, Rice Lake.