Author Archives: Mark E. Alpert, PE, DBIA, WDBC Executive Director

About Mark E. Alpert, PE, DBIA, WDBC Executive Director

WDBC Executive Director Mark Alpert is a former CH2M senior vice president for design-build (Denver, CO), WDBC founding member, and past president. For more than 35 years, Mark has been a pioneer in the development of integrated project delivery for water and wastewater projects. Even before the term “design-build” was commonly recognized, Mark was focusing on cost-effective design and construction, which led to the formalization of design-build and other collaborative project delivery methods.

Does Collaborative Delivery Cost More?

For owners considering collaborative-delivery approaches for water and wastewater projects, such as progressive design-build (PDB) or construction management at-risk (CMAR), one of the biggest impediments to acceptance is the perception that the final cost of the project would be larger than a traditional design-bid-build and cannot be controlled. Based on our research, there are two primary reasons this stumbling block exists. One relates to the owner’s belief that their initial cost estimates are correct and that the project can be designed and constructed within their budget. A second, and perhaps more important issue, is that many owners still do not understand how the collaborative process evolves and how to reach a final acceptable price on the project, primarily because they are only familiar with the design-bid-build pricing process that uses the low-bid approach.

Read More →
Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Design-Build, WDBC Admin.

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

As 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.

Read More →
Topics: Risk Allocation, WDBC Admin.

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

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. Chapter 3 of the WDBC Water and Wastewater Design-Build Handbook 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.

Read More →
Topics: Risk Allocation.

Contingency – What Is It? How Is It Set? And Who Owns It?

What is a contingency? The definition of contingency is one of the following: A future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty A provision for an unforeseen event or circumstance In the case of an owner’s budget for a collaborative-delivery project, the purpose of a contingency is to incorporate an additional allotment of funds within the final approved budget that can be used when and if the scope of a project changes with an associated cost increase in the delivered project. If an owner’s team directs its project delivery firm to increase its scope of work, the contingency allows the owner’s team to proceed with the project and not have to receive additional internal authorizations for spending.

Read More →
Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Contingency, WDBC Admin.

Managing Risks in Design-Build Delivery

  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 and owner and the selected project team.

Read More →
Topics: Design-Build, Risk Allocation, WDBC Admin.

Design-Build: An Alternative Delivery Model Not To Be Ignored

As we continue to think about and discuss innovative delivery models for the water sector after the conclusion of the American Water Summit yesterday, design-build or design-build-operate (DBO) models certainly cannot be ignored. What began as the private sector offering to design, build, finance, own, and operate water and wastewater treatment facilities in the early 1980s has now become a key delivery approach by many owners throughout North America. Today’s DBO model is characterized by significant risk transfer, application of innovative solutions and significant cost savings of owners. The single contract for all three phases of project delivery brings not only the value of design-build but also the integration of operation and maintenance into solutions that result in the lowest life-cycle cost for owners and the highest-quality projects.

Read More →
Topics: Design-Build, Jacobs.