Water Design-Build Council Blog

Can Industry Partnerships and Private Financing Create Evolutionary Change in the Water Delivery Market?

During the past two decades, this industry has seen tremendous change in the way water infrastructure projects are delivered. Fifteen years ago, design-bid-build was by far the dominant delivery mechanism. Today, collaborative project delivery using fixed-price, progressive, and construction management at-risk methods has increased significantly and, for projects of any size, is becoming the delivery vehicle of choice.

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What is the Importance of Well-Defined Acceptance Standards on Treatment Plant Design-Build Projects?

Posted by Scott Thibault, PE, DBIA, Vice President - AECOM on Fri, Feb 09, 2018 @ 04:24 PM

shutterstock_566398444.jpgTwo of the most important elements of a treatment plant design-build project are the performance and acceptance standards associated with the start-up and commissioning of the treatment plant. Performance standards can be defined as the standards the plant needs to meet in order to operate in compliance with applicable permits over a range of typical operating conditions. Acceptance standards can be defined as the standards the design-builder must meet in order to satisfy the contractual requirements of the design-build agreement with the owner. Ideally, the performance and acceptance standards should be closely aligned. Problems can arise when contractual acceptance standards are overly conservative in relation to the normal performance standards of the facility.

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Managing Risks in Design-Build Delivery

Posted by Mark Alpert, PE, DBIA, WDBC Executive Director on Fri, Feb 02, 2018 @ 04:12 PM

risk-management-design-build

Findings in the research study of "Lessons Learned from Owners Using Design-Build Project Delivery" emphasizes that the key to successful design-build projects is an active and continuous collaboration between an owner and the selected project team.

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Topics: design-build

Hidden Risk Topics in Construction Contracts – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Posted by Mark Alpert, PE, DBIA, WDBC Executive Director on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 @ 04:40 PM

hidden-topics-in-construction-contractsAs discussed in the previous blog, the underlying principle of allocating and managing risk in projects using CMAR or design-build delivery methods is to embark upon a collaborative process between the owner and construction professionals with initial discussions on how to allocate specific risks to the party best positioned to manage and assume the risk. These decisions ultimately end up in the contract between the owner and construction professional.

As part of the initial discussions when formulating a contract, the following additional areas are highlighted for your attention. In addition, WDBC’s 2018 education program now includes a specific module on contracts which also addresses the elements of risk.

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Topics: risk allocation

Construction Contract Risk Allocation – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Posted by Mark Alpert, PE, DBIA, WDBC Executive Director on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 01:26 PM

construction-contract-risk-allocationThe underlying principle of allocating and managing risk in projects using CMAR or design-build delivery methods is to embark upon a collaborative process between the owner and construction professionals with initial discussions on how to allocate specific risks to the party best positioned to manage and assume the risk. Chapter 3 of the WDBC Water and Wastewater Design-Build Handbook, Fourth Edition, Apportioning and Managing Project Risk, is an excellent resource on the subject of risk in collaborative delivery projects. However, the purpose of providing this more specific commentary is to share some of the risk allocating scenarios observed during the contractual process.

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Topics: risk allocation

Utilizing Design-Build Delivery to Provide Water Treatment Solutions on a Deadline

Posted by Bryan Bedell, DBIA, Haskell Water Division Leader on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

design-build-deliveryOwners often look to design-build delivery as a means to accelerate the overall schedule for their water or wastewater project. In fact, schedule advantage was cited as the #1 reason for selecting design-build delivery in a recent survey of owners conducted by the UNLV and Water Design-Build Council.

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Topics: design-build

Insights Into the Use of “Earned Performance Fees” in Design-Build Projects

Posted by Doug Wachsnicht,Vice President, Goodwin Brothers Construction on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 04:59 PM

earned-performance-fees-water-wastewater-projectsOne of the questions frequently asked by owners is how and when to use “earned performance fees” in water and wastewater design-build projects. In this context, earned performance fees are defined as monetary benefits established to attain a specific achievement or goal.

The use of earned performance fees with any delivery method can be a powerful tool that helps both the owner and design-builder to better align accomplishing the project objectives. However, in a design-bid-build project, the intent of earned performance fees is often to drive innovation, collaboration, schedule, and cost savings, which are all hallmarks of design-build delivery. This begs the question: Why use earned performance fees for design-build delivery projects? One of the answers is: When earned performance fees are used with a design-build delivery project, it further stimulates maximizing innovation, collaboration, schedule, and cost savings – well beyond what can occur in the limited design-bid-build process, since much of the contractual arrangements are already locked in once the project goes out to bid.

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Stephen R. Gates, PE, BCEE, Elected 2018 President of Water Design-Build Council Board of Directors

The Water Design-Build Council (WDBC) announced that Stephen R. Gates, PE, BCEE, Brown and Caldwell Senior Vice President, has been elected as its 2018 President of the Board, receiving the gavel from 2017 President John Doller in Dallas, TX. Transitioning from the role of the First Vice President/Treasurer, Gates chaired the Budget/Finance and Research Committees, and is in a leadership role on the Technical Practices Committee. He is responsible for development of Brown and Caldwell’s collaborative project delivery business, focusing on design-build, CMAR, and remediation services related to the environmental, water, wastewater, and energy markets provided to municipal, federal, and private organizations throughout North America.

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Understanding the differences in Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) and Fixed-Price for Design-Build Delivery Projects

Posted by Denis Dandeneau - CH2M - Vice President of Business Development on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 @ 11:49 AM

The intent of this article is to further an Owner’s understanding of the commonly used pricing approaches for either Design Build or CMAR delivery methods. For additional information on these topics, please review the appropriate sections in the Water and Wastewater Design-Build Handbook (4th Ed).

When discussing Design-Build projects, there are potentially two forms of final project pricing and compensation: Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) or Fixed Price (FP). Owners and practitioners should be clear in their respective understanding of what each approach leads to in performance of services and responsibility for cost documentation.

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Topics: design-build

WDBC Announces 2018 Officers

At its annual meeting in Dallas, TX, on December 7, 2017, the WDBC Board of Directors elected its officers for 2018.

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