Water Design-Build Council Blog

Key Steps to a Successful Transition to Owner Operations

transition-to-owner-operations.jpgBoth the owner and the selected collaborative-delivery firm share responsibility for ensuring a smooth transition from construction to operation. This process actually begins during the planning stage, when the owner drafts the implementation plan. The transition process is later addressed in the owner’s procurement documents, contract, and final project implementation plan.

The reasons for beginning transition planning early is that the owner is able to incorporate the knowledge and experienced input of the existing facility’s operations and maintenance teams into the project’s development. It is also at this point in time that the owner needs to identify the education and training that may be required to operate the project with the envisioned new equipment — and possibly new technology.

The foundation of a successful project transition begins with incorporating the owner’s priorities into the draft project implementation plan which should always include elements on transition. Anticipating and developing plans for startup, testing, training, and transition activities is a core responsibility of the owner during project planning, as is identifying transition responsibilities of the owner’s team members.

Subsequently, while owners identify their transition priorities in the draft project implementation plan, they also use it in the RFP, instructing proposing firms to include language for a draft plan for appropriate start-up, acceptance testing, and O&M training. Table 6.1 provides examples of the differences in the transition process between collaborative-delivery and design-bid-build projects.

The new 4th Edition of the Water and Wastewater Design-Build Handbook describes the final stages of a design-build or CMAR project — startup, testing, training and commissioning — leading to acceptance and transition of the completed project from the collaborative-delivery firm to owner operation.

Illustrated with new graphics, the difference between collaborative delivery methods and design-bid-build (in the context of this chapter) is the extent of involvement of the owner’s operators. In collaborative project delivery, the owner’s operations team becomes involved early in the project — specifically, during the planning process in order to ensure a cohesive and successful transition from builder to owner.

Once selected, the collaborative-delivery firm begins working with the owner to refine the transition and start-up plans, integrating input from all project participants. The updated and now jointly developed project implementation plan includes specific topics to ensure success.  Learn more about this process in the new 4th Edition of the Water and Wastewater Handbook and in the Water Design-Build Council's education and training sessions.

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Topics: design-build, Collaborative Project Delivery