Recommended Best Practices: Preparing for a Water Design-Build Project

22671866_sThese “Recommended Guidelines for Best Practices,” Produced by the Water Design-Build Council, summarize the directions provided in the 3rd Edition of the Municipal Water and Wastewater Design-Build Handbook.

The goal of these practices is to guide Owners and industry members with the steps needed to prepare for, procure and manage a collaborative delivery model for water and wastewater projects. Moreover, as evidenced over the past months in WDBC’s education sessions, the single, most important component is the “preparation phase.” While WDBC’s education sessions address these aspects in far greater detail, the following activities for this phase are summarized below.

Preparing for a Water Design-Build Project

  1. Organize and conduct a project team meeting to discuss the project’s parameters and identify the critical factors (drivers) required to achieve a successful project. Project drivers are the result of the agreed to project goals and priorities, which become the criteria used to select the design-build delivery method best suited for the project
  2. Initiate an internal education process about design-build delivery methods with the various stakeholders who will become the project team; most important is including legal and procurement decision-makers; project managers, administration, operations and maintenance staff
  3. Ensure that key operations and maintenance staff are part of the project team from the inception, so that input into the design process occurs to enhance the successful operability of the completed project and the transition process proceeds without impediments. Assess the knowledge and education gaps that may exist among the identified team and where additional resources may be needed
  4. Make sure that all project team members participate in evaluating the available design-build delivery methods against the weighted/ranked project drivers
  5. An initial project delivery and management plan, produced during the planning phase, needs to define the scope of work, required treatment processes and performance capabilities, as well as the functional requirements of all facilities
  6. As early as possible (preferably in the project’s initial planning phase) take any steps necessary to secure land-related transactions
  7. Recognize that making changes to the site or facility layout later in the project plan could result in serious design and cost ramifications, particularly with respect to geotechnical and foundation design considerations
  8. Care should be taken during the development of the RFP document to specifically identify those areas of the wastewater or water treatment project for which LEED certification may be desired
  9. Due to the dynamic nature of the surety industry, the subject of sureties should be approached early in the RFP process through the selected short list of proposers
  10. If considering “outside” support of an “Owners Advisor,” use only firms or individuals with specific and previous experience in design-build projects and procurement
  11. Clearly define the “Owners Advisor’s” role, responsibilities and interaction among all parties involved in the design-build project, (e.g., interacting with design-build firm, monitoring the firm’s performance, approving invoices, and, objectively facilitating the resolution of issues that may occur during the course of the project
  12. CMAR delivery requires more owner planning prior to selection of the designer and the CMAR firm

The planning phase of a design-build project is the first module in WDBC’s education program; this specific session can be provided both to owners/agencies and industry practitioners by contacting the WDBC.

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Topics: Best Practices, Water Design-Build Project.

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