Collaboration, innovation, and inclusion are key to the success of big design-build projects. Implementing such measures in the early phases of a project helps ensure overall project success and should be a guiding principle on all large design-build projects.
Sustainability has become a word mentioned across our lives and the industry but isn’t as clearly defined as other terms like efficiency, safety factor, or effluent quality.
The design-build project delivery approach continues to deliver value to municipal water utilities. From a single point of responsibility and integration to cost certainty and timely delivery, design-build can help create a more streamlined and seamless project experience.
As the number and size of infrastructure projects continue to increase, while the qualified available workforce continues to decrease, contractors who traditionally identify as “self-performing” contractors find themselves having to make decisions on what scopes of work they ultimately need to self-perform for project success. This is especially true on the “mega-sized” projects.
Do you have a one-time mega-project that you don’t have the capacity or capabilities to deliver? Is your capital improvement program growing quickly and you need to equip your staff with the right skills and relevant knowledge to keep up with the rising demand? Do you need to decrease your average project delivery time due to rate-payer or political pressure? All of the above?
One of my typical roles as an owner advisor is to review proposed construction management at-risk (CMAR) and design-build contracts from a commercial perspective—i.e., what’s the likely marketplace reaction to the contract and is the contract consistent with the philosophy behind collaborative delivery? I am continually amazed by what I see.
When we emerge from the extreme days of the COVID environment, there will be some lingering effects that become a permanent part of our way of doing business. Management of the supply chain is probably one of the most significant.
The pandemic has impacted not only our day-to-day lives but it is forcing us to reexamine long-accepted approaches to how collaborative delivery firms specify and procure materials and equipment for our projects. A global scarcity of shipping containers, skyrocketing shipping rates, clogged ports, and shortages of manufacturing components are driving firms to evolve their procurement approach to avoid long lead times and escalation charges.
As design-build (DB) becomes more common for the development and construction of long-term infrastructure, the engagement of the owner’s operations and maintenance (O&M) team becomes significantly more important to project success. For some projects, the traditional design-bid-build process may not have taken advantage of the institutional knowledge available from the owner’s O&M teams as facilities and systems were designed, constructed, and commissioned.
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.”