Site Development

Preparing a Vision for Your Project
Developing a Marketing Plan
Developing a Proforma

Sources of Project Financing
Project Phases

Wetland Delineation & Summary Report
Environmental Site Assessments

Permit Acquisition Process
Project Delivery Systems

Data Checklist 

Project Delivery Systems

There are a variety of project delivery systems that are used to design and construct a facility. The primary delivery systems are as follows:

1. Traditional Design Process

In the traditional project delivery process the owner selects a design team to prepare design plans, technical specifications and construction bid documents. Bids are obtained from interested contractors who base their proposals on these prepared documents.

The design team typically is comprised of an architect; civil, structural, heating, ventilating, electrical, traffic engineers, and engineers of other disciplines; wetland and/or special environmental consultants; and surveyor. Either the civil/site engineer or the architect would be the lead consultant providing team coordination and liaison with the owner.

The bidding process can be orchestrated to allow for prequalified contractors to be selected. Once the bids are received and evaluated, the client can select the low bid or could, if planned for in advance, negotiate with one contractor.

The advantages of utilizing this method is that the client is able to better customize the design to meet special building design and operational needs. It typically is the process chosen where company image is very important. The design team is not constrained by material and lowest cost financial requirements that a design/build project team would have. This process provides for the greatest flexibility to the client/Owner.

The primary disadvantage is that, while overall project and construction costs are estimated throughout the design program by the design project team, the exact cost to construct is not known until bids are opened and any negotiations are completed.

2. Design/Build Process
This project team selection and construction process provides the greatest control when lowest cost financial considerations are the overriding factor in the building project. The cost to design and construct is usually negotiated with the client/owner up front with the contractor who typically retains the architect, engineers, surveyors, and other consultants.

The primary advantage is that the design team and the contractor are working together during the entire project. Typically the contractor takes the lead in managing the project. The team is working together to collectively find ways to reduce project cost. Since the fee is negotiated up front these saving go primarily to the Design/Build team. The owner benefits because the potential for budget overruns is reduced.

The disadvantage is that the owner has less input into the process and little control of the quality of the materials used in the project unless the owner has taken the time to complete a very detailed listing of materials to be used and identified other project controls that the Design/Build team is to meet. Some design/build teams have internal suppliers and construct their own equipment, furniture, etc. or have special associations with suppliers that provide materials for all the design/build team's projects.

Another disadvantage of this delivery system is that the owner believes that everything is being taken care of by the design/build contractor and its team, the owner often has little knowledge of all of the details that are involved in the process or has very little time to devote toward making sure that this team is doing what they said they would achieve. Embarking upon a building expansion program, of whatever size, is an arduous and complex undertaking. A myriad of details and issues need to be dealt with and resolved, oftentimes in an extremely short time period. Handling these demands can take the owner away from their primary function of running a company or managing production.

Often, when a company is faced with a building expansion program, the initial step that is taken is to contact several design/build contractors and to seek priced quotations. This contact is usually made without the benefit of well thought out specifications and some engineered plans. Thus, design/build contractors have little information upon which to prepare their design and associated guaranteed maximum price (GMP) construction cost. This typically results in widely varying prices between competing firms for the same project. The potential exists for many extra costs to occur on top of the GMP. In addition, without a well defined specification program, the design/build concept offers little opportunity for the owner to have control over the quality of the materials used.

The engineer can assist you in exerting control over this process, thereby minimizing your costs. They can work as your representative in all dealings with the design/build contractor. As a part of your team, they can:
  • Prepare design plans that describe your site in sufficient detail to construct site improvements to to obtain site permits (local, state and federal);
  • Prepare outline specifications that describe your building's primary requirements such that the outline specifications serve as a basis upon which competitive design/build teams can prepare comparable quotations;
  • Serve as a liaison and be your on-site "eyes and ears" during the construction process observing whether the design/build contractor is indeed meeting the intent of the prepared specifications and engineered plans, alerting you to identified problems, recommending solutions, and reviewing and recommending actions regarding contractor payment requests. The engineer can also provide structural engineering services to design your building, complete an environmental site assessment of your property, evaluate utilities serving your complex, design industrial pretreatment systems and assist you in securing related wastewater permits.

3. Partnering

Partnering is a project delivery process in which the Owner, the design group comprised of an architect, engineers, consultants and a contractor work together as a team. Each party has a separate agreement with the owner, but more importantly, a written covenant to work closely together is signed by all parties. This style of doing business is like a healthy marriage where a shared culture exists between the parties. It is based on trust, dedication to common goals, and an understanding of each other's values and expectations. A win-win mind set is agreed to.

To make this process work, one individual needs to assume the responsibility for coordination and management. This person is the cheerleader and provides moral support but is also responsible for managing the schedule, budget and the quality of the work. This Project Manager is typically selected prior to selecting any of the other team members.

This Project Manager assists the owner in selecting the partnering participants. This is typically achieved by selecting them on the basis of their qualifications and their ability to work in a partnering culture to meet the owner's objectives.

Once the team is chosen the entire team should meet in a workshop to discuss the owner's objectives and the expectations of each member to serve the team as a whole. A facilitator is then chosen to begin and foster the initial communication process. The written covenant or charter is prepared and signed by all parties. Frequent project meetings are held to keep the focus of the partnering team. The Project Manager typically hosts these meetings.

The advantages of this delivery system are many. The primary benefit is that the members of the team can work cooperatively on a problem without pointing fingers at the other. The potential for litigation is substantially reduced. Substantial cost savings can be achieved since all parties are working toward a common goal. The potential for project completion delays are substantially reduced. The project also moves from dealing with crises to crisis prevention.

There are several disadvantages using this delivery system. The first is that this delivery system is relatively new. The tendency is to pull back toward operating as a design/build or traditional role where the potential for acrimony is relatively high. Turf battles can then begin to occur if the process is not managed properly through a Project Manager who is cognizant of this potential problem. If managed properly partnering can be the most beneficial of the project delivery systems for the owner. It implies a covenant of working closely together with trust and goodwill.

Text-based Table of Contents

contact information project portfolio technical services about us online resource center