What happens when your project has a fixed budget and an open-ended project scope? Or what if there is a desire to deal with not only a specific need, but also address a “wish list” of additional improvements?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 US. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.