Blog

Clarify to Specify

Words are important — an obvious truism and pertinent to a collaborative project delivery effort. The action item is to ‘mobilize the language’ for maximum effect in our contract documents for water/wastewater projects. First, a quick anecdote: A lawyer friend (not mutually exclusive) shared a simple and keen observation when I first worked with him on a contract review. He asked, “Know the difference between an engineer and a lawyer?” After searching my library of lawyer jokes, I had to admit ignorance of the difference. He said, “Lawyers know they’re not engineers.”

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Contracts.

Evolution of Collaborative Delivery – The Progressive P3 Model

The City of Lake Oswego (OR) is currently implementing a progressive P3 project for its new wastewater treatment plant, replacing the City of Portland’s aging Tryon Creek facility.

As water utilities continue to harness the benefits of collaborative delivery methods to implement their capital projects, new variants are emerging that provide owners with a broader scope of services. Collaborative delivery methods have evolved significantly in recent years as municipalities struggle to meet the challenges of providing reliable, cost-effective water and wastewater service to their customers despite aging infrastructure, increasing regulations, and limited staffing and expertise.

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Topics: P3, Progressive Design-Build.

Mitigating Market Volatility During Construction Through Collaborative Delivery Methods

Across the board, supply chain issues and rising costs are impacting engineering and construction projects. The costs of construction materials have elevated over the past year due to growing demand and major disruptions to production fueled by the pandemic. These disruptions are responsible for construction material shortages much like the auto industry is facing with microchip shortages. And with more engineering and construction projects ramping up as the pandemic is winding down, the demand is increasing but the availability of materials can’t keep up. Materials that once took six weeks to have delivered on site can now take over a year. Some suppliers have even closed their books for the remainder of this year because of the strained availability of their materials. Suppliers are also hesitant to guarantee prices for extended periods because of the volatility in price and strained availability for the raw materials. Quotes previously honored for up to 90 days are now only good for as little as 24 hours.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Garver.

“BIM” is Not a Four-Letter Word

The term BIM (Building Information Modeling) has the power to make a seasoned construction veteran cringe. I get it. BIM may sound scary to those who have not used its full advantages. A foreman once told me, “I’m not going to let a Nintendo tell me how to do my job!” Fair enough, but when applied appropriately, BIM can benefit building projects in a variety of ways by aiding design planning, coordination, construction, operations, and facilities management.

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Topics: BIM, MWH.

Community Investment that Goes Beyond Water Quality

A vibrant, diverse business community contributes to a region’s innovation and economic performance. Infrastructure projects offer opportunities for diverse businesses to endure long after the completion of a project. Actively seeking out and partnering with qualified small, minority- and women-owned businesses helps fuel sustainable economic growth, resulting in successful project delivery and stronger, more prosperous communities.

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Topics: Alberici, Burns & McDonnell, Diversity.

When Changing Enabling Legislation – Keep It Flexible

Water Design-Build Council (WDBC) research confirms a significant increase in growth in the use of collaborative-delivery methods for water and wastewater projects in the U.S. For certain public owners, including some cities, counties, districts, agencies, special purpose entities, and states, where historically only design-bid-build (DBB) has been utilized for implementing capital works projects, enabling legislation modifications may be required so these public agencies can utilize collaborative-delivery methods such as fixed-price design-build (FPDB), progressive design-build (PDB), and construction management at-risk (CMAR). Enabling legislation modifications can be unique to each public owner and frequently come in the form of a charter amendment, ordinance change, or municipal code modification. Regardless of the required process, WDBC supports the best practice of engaging each public owner’s legal counsel and governing body to guide and implement modifications to enabling legislation.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, HDR.

Collaborative Contracting: How To Be An Ally

How many times have you read about construction projects that are delayed, over budget, have quality issues, or involve complicated claims? Historically, these are common occurrences in the construction industry that primarily derive from a misalignment of incentives between project owners, engineers, and contractors. Traditional contract models, which often position owners and contractors on different sides, are typically the root of the problem, yet they are still in widespread use, creating the risk of continued project overruns and performance shortcomings.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Contracts, Kiewit.

Team Structure – What Does This Really Mean?

The major tenet of design-build is collaboration. Our clients require a solution to their project that is built by a group of highly qualified and experienced design and construction professionals. The collaboration required to meet that demand is not simply between the design-build team and the owner, but also between each of the professionals within the design-build team.

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Topics: Clark Construction, Design-Build.

Top 3 Qualities to Expect from a Quality Design-Build Contractor

As water/wastewater projects continue to increase in complexity, collaborative delivery methods for project execution are becoming increasingly favored among clients. As this shift gains momentum, clients need to be able to trust that their design-build contractor will help them realize the benefits of the collaborative delivery approach throughout the life of the project. The list below outlines several key qualities a water/wastewater client should expect from their design-build contractor.

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Topics: Best Value, Collaborative Delivery, Kiewit.

Collaborative Project Delivery in Action: The Altoona Water Authority

Rendering of the new anaerobic digestion complex at the Altoona Water Authority’s Westerly facility in Altoona, Pennsylvania

Beyond simply being an alternative to the traditional design-bid-build method, collaborative project delivery offers wastewater utilities and authorities several benefits. Two of the most salient benefits of collaborative delivery are the flexibility it allows during the project development process and the performance guarantee it provides. The Altoona Water Authority’s (AWA) Water Resource Recovery Facility project with Energy Systems Group, LLC (ESG) is a recent example of a utility using the collaborative approach to address its long-term operational, environmental, infrastructure, technology, and financial needs through a single solicitation.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, ESG (Energy Systems Group).