The world enters another month of the COVID-19 pandemic and we all slowly continue to figure out how to deal with it. “This new normal,” “in these uncertain times,” and wishing friends and colleagues to “stay safe” are the phrases of today. We use these now because they are necessary.
The construction management at-risk (CMAR) delivery model requires contractors, engineers, and owners to think differently about how, why, and when change orders are executed. For the sake of this topic, we will assume that the owner has a separate and autonomous contract with the contractor and the engineer and the project is a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) arrangement for a collaborative delivery.
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, maintaining critical water and wastewater operations has never been more important. Yet, ensuring continuity of operations has never been more challenging, and it will require using every tool in the utility manager’s toolbox.
Collaborative Project Delivery (CPD) methods, such as design-build, progressive design-build, and construction management at-risk, can offer a means to deliver a project faster than traditional design-bid-build. CPD methods can offer significant overall schedule reduction since the contractor and engineer collaborate early in the project, instead of the contractor taking over the design to implement once completed. The type of delivery model selected has different contracting methods, risks, and potential control for the owner. CPD is not right for every project, but there are many projects where it can offer significant advantages.
The idea of an integrated design management role for collaborative delivery projects is not a new one. For over 20 years, vertical commercial collaborative delivery projects have assigned an integrated design manager to drive seamless collaboration for overall project success. However, when describing this position in the water industry, the immediate response is, “What is an integrated design manager?”
Water/wastewater projects are becoming larger and more complex. Our industry is continuously innovating to maximize the productivity of existing and new plants. Recent events related to the COVID-19 outbreak may have permanent changes in the way plants are designed and built. The design and procurement process for collaborative delivery projects requires early involvement of supply chain partners to reduce risks for a successful proposal and construction.
Digital tools are the bread and butter of construction management, used to track schedules, budgets, checklists, daily journals, RFIs, etc. About 25 years ago, design engineers began a wholesale conversion from 2D flat drawings to 3D digital design tools. The benefits of converting to 3D included clash detection, electronic tracking of bits and parts for an electronic equipment and materials inventory, and easier owner visualization.
The design-build delivery method demands people from various backgrounds, companies, and professional expertise work together to deliver a successful project that benefits the entire team—owners, contractors, and engineers alike. Leadership from all members of the team makes the difference in delivering great results; however, how does such a varied team ensure that each member contributes elite leadership? How does each member of the team be the best version of themselves and contribute the most?
In early 2017, the City of Goodyear, Arizona, initiated the procurement process for the implementation of a robust water management plan. On November 1, 2019, construction began on the new $129 million surface water treatment campus with an initial capacity of 8 mgd and future build-out to 16 mgd. The new surface water treatment facility will use state-of-the-art water treatment technology; maintain water quality and quantity for the citizens of Goodyear; and will allow the City to continue its aggressive pace of development and economic growth.
A standard design-build-operate (DBO) partnership in the water and wastewater market may include an operations company, a lead design engineering firm, and a contractor to complete the construction phase. Depending on the contractual arrangement, each organization is typically contractually bound to one another through the completion of the construction elements of the project, and in some cases this relationship extends into the steady-state, long-term operations and maintenance period. Given the complexity of these projects, the question arises: How does each company succeed in a DBO partnership?