Blog

A New Perspective: Meeting in the Middle Through Collaboration

After 18 years working as a design engineer for a nationally recognized water consulting firm, I switched career paths to the other end of the spectrum: construction. I was not actively seeking a new position but accepted an invitation from a colleague to consider an opportunity with one of the country’s largest builders, Walsh Construction. With more and more projects being procured using collaborative-delivery approaches, Walsh recognized the benefit of not just working closely with engineering firms but having in-house design expertise and experience to properly manage the work and relationships with the firm’s engineering partners. It was exciting to know that I would be the first person to fill a role of this type with Walsh in its California Water Group. Leaving the only firm I had ever worked for in my professional career, and the many associates whom I deeply respected, was a daunting prospect. Still, the opportunity intrigued me. Some of the most gratifying and challenging experiences of my career were those that kept me involved throughout the entire life of a project. I believed this new opportunity would afford me that same satisfaction but in a new and exciting way, and I accepted the offer.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, The Walsh Group.

Price and Schedule Aren’t the Owner’s Top Drivers Anymore When Choosing Collaborative Delivery

The Water Design-Build Council is at it again…collecting data and doing research. The latest efforts are being finalized for public release shortly. In the meantime, I’d like to share some preliminary results that I find interesting. The Council interviewed dozens of owners across the country and asked a variety of questions. My favorite was, “What is driving or influencing project procurement decisions in the context of collaborative delivery?” It appears that price and schedule are not the owner’s most important concerns as they once were.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Research.

Closing the Gap with Design-Build for Water Infrastructure

Today’s global infrastructure investment, estimated to be $2.5 trillion per year, falls short of the $3.3 trillion annual investment needed to keep pace with expected growth, not to mention renewal of existing aging infrastructure. With funding flat or declining, new ways of increasing productivity by streamlining project delivery are needed, according to a 2016 report from McKinsey & Company, “Bridging Global Infrastructure Gaps.” The report also states that improving project selection and maximizing existing assets could result in cost savings as high as 40 percent, which would help close the gap. But just how can streamlining project delivery lead to increased productivity — particularly in the case of complex water and wastewater projects?

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Topics: Burns & McDonnell, Collaborative Delivery.

Progressive Design-Build Delivery Provides Design and Construction Flexibility for the Clifton Water District

The Clifton Water District (District) was formed as a Special District within the state of Colorado in 1951, and provides water service to more than 13,700 residential and commercial users. When the District’s conventional water treatment system was no longer able to cost effectively treat their source water, it became necessary to purchase more expensive potable water from an outside supplier. To minimize the impact of the higher water cost to their ratepayers, the District determined an upgrade of their existing treatment system was necessary. When it was time to implement this upgrade, the District knew they needed to balance a number of key objectives, primary among these was to continue to supply their customers with a reliable source of potable water during construction of the project.

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Topics: Carollo, Progressive Design-Build, Water Design-Build Project.

Happy Birthday, Spearin!

Looking for something different to do this holiday season? Reach out to 100 of your favorite friends and family members, play a single-round game of Family Feud, and ask them to name a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Even if they have had more than their share of spiked eggnog, they will likely have the presence of mind to think about the Kavanaugh hearings and big constitutional and social issues. I suspect that the overwhelming number one answer will be Roe v. Wade. Maybe Bush v. Gore will show up on the list. But will anyone mention U.S. v. Spearin? Be honest. Did that decision ever cross your mind? Did you even know that the Spearin Doctrine – our country’s most important construction law doctrine – was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court?

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Topics: Construction Law, Education.

How Progressive Design-Build (PDB) Offered New Solutions To A Global Manufacturer And Saved Millions

When a global manufacturer of carbon fiber products announced plans to invest $1 billion in building a manufacturing plant on a 400-acre greenfield site in Moore, South Carolina, it quickly became apparent that PDB was the best model to achieve the “must haves” for project delivery.

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Topics: Haskell, Progressive Design-Build, Wastewater Infrastructure/Treatment.

Why Do Design-Build Projects Go Wrong?

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from projects that go smoothly and according to plan and budget. But what about those projects that don’t go so well? The lessons gleaned from budget mishaps, contract issues, and first-time design-build experiences can be just as valuable. While not easily covered in 700 words or less, let’s look at a few of the reasons we have seen DB projects go wrong.

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Topics: Best Practices, Design-Build, Education.

Field Trips Aren’t Just for Kids

  San Jose Water Company (SJW) recently completed their first progressive design-build project and largest capital improvement project ever: a $50 million upgrade to the Montevina Water Treatment Plant in Los Gatos, California. The project was recently recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers San Francisco Section as the 2018 Environmental Engineering Project of the Year. During his acceptance speech at the awards banquet, Andrew Gere, President and Chief Operating Officer of SJW, said, “The success of the project was founded upon partnering developed by the owner and the design-builder.”

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Topics: HDR, Progressive Design-Build, Water Design-Build Project.

Addressing the Craft Labor Shortage

“Can we fix it? Yes, we can!” If you raised a child in the early 2000s you may be hearing the enthusiastic proclamation from the popular animated children’s series Bob the Builder echoing in your ears at this very moment. The series featured Bob, the resident builder, his partners, and a fleet of talking yellow iron. Bob the Builder was my daughter’s favorite show – her favorite character was Scoop, a backhoe loader, or an “I-Dig-Dirt,” as she called it. As a descendant of a proud line of craft laborers including legacy carpenters, crane operators, and yes, even a large backhoe operator, I entertained the thought that maybe, just maybe, my daughter might land in the construction industry, spurred by her admiration of the determined and optimistic Bob and his talking fleet of yellow iron.

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Topics: Craft Labor, Design-Build, Education, Flatiron.

Key Factors for a Successful Construction Management at-Risk (CMAR) Project: A Contractor’s Perspective

Rice Lake Construction Group, in conjunction with AE2S Engineering and the City of Watford City, successfully completed the first construction management at-risk delivery of a municipal wastewater treatment facility project in North Dakota. Below are a few items that made the project a success and a few that could have made the process better.

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Topics: Best Practices, CMAR, Rice Lake.