Blog

Community Investment that Goes Beyond Water Quality

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.

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Topics: Alberici, Burns & McDonnell, Diversity.

When Changing Enabling Legislation – Keep It Flexible

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 U.S. 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). Enabling legislation modifications can be unique to each public owner and frequently come in the form of a charter amendment, ordinance change, or municipal code modification. Regardless of the required process, WDBC supports the best practice of engaging each public owner’s legal counsel and governing body to guide and implement modifications to enabling legislation.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, HDR.

Collaborative Contracting: How To Be An Ally

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.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Contracts, Kiewit.

Team Structure – What Does This Really Mean?

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. While contractors and designers are forming teams, they often consider what the right organization of the team should look like. Many firms …

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Topics: Clark Construction, Design-Build.

Top 3 Qualities to Expect from a Quality Design-Build Contractor

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.

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Topics: Best Value, Collaborative Delivery, Kiewit.

Collaborative Project Delivery in Action: The Altoona Water Authority

Rendering of the new anaerobic digestion complex at the Altoona Water Authority’s Westerly facility in Altoona, Pennsylvania

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. The Altoona Water Authority’s (AWA) Water Resource Recovery Facility project with Energy Systems Group, LLC (ESG) is a recent example of a utility using the collaborative approach to address its long-term operational, environmental, infrastructure, technology, and financial needs through a single solicitation.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, ESG (Energy Systems Group).

Is Design-Build Right for Your Smaller Project?

Design-build has become the fastest-growing delivery method in the water/wastewater industry across the nation. Cost certainty and accelerated schedules have encouraged most states to embrace the design-build model. In the current market, large-scale design-build projects receive most of the headlines, but design-build can be a perfect fit for your small-scale projects.

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Topics: Collaborative Delivery, Design-Build, Garney.

Innovative Technologies Play Key Role in Gaining Winning Advantage in Competitive Collaborative-Delivery Projects

The word “innovative” is talked about a lot in the water and wastewater industry, but as an industry we have been slow to accept technology innovation. I have been in the industry for 30+ years and participated in several industry efforts with WEF, AWWA, NSF, and EPA—like the EPA’s Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program, WEF’s LIFT program, etc.—to increase the use of innovative and new technologies. These programs typically test the equipment through a range of conditions and a report is written on the testing. Testing the full range of conditions that technologies might experience is virtually impossible in the water and wastewater industry since the influent conditions are constantly changing. The major difficulty in gaining the acceptance of new, innovative technologies has involved state-by-state regulatory approval, with some engineering firms and utilities not wanting to be early adopters due to the believed risk of failure and local bidding requirements.

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Topics: Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Collaborative Delivery, Technology.

Addressing Critical Water Infrastructure Needs in Uncertain Times

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the continued development of critical infrastructure, creating growing uncertainty concerning financing opportunities and project delivery. The water industry has not escaped this reality, and for municipalities that already struggle to find financing opportunities the situation is more dire. Due to a reduction in commercial water use throughout 2020, the water industry faces more than $13 billion in annualized revenue losses across the U.S. This is forcing municipalities that would normally finance critical infrastructure projects through more traditional bond measures to look for new avenues to deliver necessary infrastructure upgrades.

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Topics: Burns & McDonnell, Collaborative Delivery, CWSRF, Design-Build.

Dispute Boards on Water/Wastewater Projects? Why Not?

I have always been perplexed as to why dispute boards are so rarely used on water/wastewater projects. They enjoy a long history of successful use on transportation projects – particularly tunneling projects and big-dollar design-build projects. Most transportation owners find dispute boards helpful, and it is clear that they provide the parties with a vehicle to get real-time resolution of project challenges. But it seems that water/wastewater owners and owner advisors don’t even give a thought (let alone a second thought) to considering the use of a dispute board when they put together their contracting approach for a non-tunneling project. And why haven’t design-build teams pushed owners to use them on complicated, big-dollar design-build water/wastewater projects, as their counterparts in the transportation industry have done?

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Topics: Dispute Board, Water Design-Build Project.