Mitigating Risks Through Collaborative Delivery

During the preliminary design or preconstruction phase of a project, developing a risk registry in parallel with the design, scope development and costing, gives the owner and the collaborative delivery firm a clear understanding of potential risks and their potential effects on delivering the final project.

If the owner and the firm practice true collaboration during this phase, they can discover risks early and have them addressed by whichever party is best suited to resolve the issue.

Examples of risks to owners and collaborative-delivery firms on water infrastructure projects may include:

  • Unforeseen conditions;
  • Delivery delays;
  • Weather;
  • Schedule;
  • Process performance;
  • Warranty;
  • Service disruptions; and
  • Safety of the public and operating staff

Many new water-infrastructure projects, particularly those with expansions or enhancements of currently operating facilities, include a number of these risks. Specifically, unforeseen conditions and service disruptions is a prime example, where owners have often shifted this risk to the design-build firms, which could create service outages. In this instance, owner’s need to consider retaining this risk, in order to ensure that they are in control of continuing to provide essential operational services throughout construction.

Another area — preliminary investigations of existing process and piping-including underground — is key to successful preliminary design, constructability reviews and costing. “As-builts” or final plans are often used as starting point for establishing design and scope on water projects. in these situations, the design-build team must physically verify the site conditions, types of materials and locations of the facilities on which are to be included in the new work. Discovery of locations, sizes and materials of existing pipelines and structures through hydro excavations and internal cameras can be safely accomplished without the risk of disrupting service.

Operations involvement throughout the preliminary investigation process is vital as part of the team because they need to know for how long key processes may be offline for tie-ins.  The sooner a roadblock is identified and resolved, the costs and disruptions will be lessened.

We know problems can be complex when working in these existing sites, but with collaboration these risks can be diminished.  Most often there will be a design resolution to each construction challenge and a construction resolution to each design challenge.


About David Odell, Vice President, UCI Construction

Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Risk Allocation.

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