Design-Build Allows for Additional Scope | Black & Veatch

Addressing Your Project ‘Wish List’ Using the Design-Build Delivery Method

Design-Build Allows for Additional Scope

What happens when your project has a fixed budget but an open-ended project scope? How do you effectively address specific needs and a “wish list” of additional improvements?

A key benefit of the progressive design-build project delivery method is the collaborative approach to design, value engineering and constructability. Design-build allows us to optimize the project budget and provide better cost certainty. The costs of changes increase through the progression of a project, meaning it’s far more cost effective to make design decisions early on rather than implementing changes later.

If your project budget limits your capacity to address wish list items, taking a segmented approach to Phase 1 (preconstruction services) benefits owners with significant capital improvement needs. A segmented approach enables owners and their design-build partners to prioritize options, perform pilot tests, assess ancillary scope, estimate costs and ensure the project stays on budget.

To effectively implement a segmented preconstruction phase, a client’s request for proposal (RFP) includes the base scope and the wish list of additional improvements. Competing design-build bidders present their qualifications and an initial fee for preliminary engineering, preconstruction efforts and development of a project estimate, which would include an assessment of wish list items to help the client make choices about what makes best use of the project budget. Once the winning design-build firm is selected, a contract is issued for this Phase 1A. For a water treatment facility, Phase 1A may include the following:

  • Evaluating flows and loading

  • Analyzing alternatives

  • Assessing the condition of existing infrastructure

  • Undertaking surveying and geotechnical services

  • Engaging with permitting agencies

  • Drafting a basis of design report

  • Identifying priorities (including which wish list items to include in Phase 1B)

  • Developing scope and price for Phase 1B based on decisions made in Phase 1A

At the end of this initial Phase 1A, the client has an opportunity to make informed decisions and an amendment would be issued for Phase 1B, which may include the following:

  • Developing 30 percent design documents

  • Evaluating work sequencing and constructability

  • Creating a cost model

  • Furthering design to 60 or 90 percent (depending on the client preference)

  • Engaging suppliers and subcontractors to solicit competitive pricing

  • Establishing a guaranteed price for Phase 2 (construction services)

  • With client acceptance of the guaranteed price, issue second amendment (or additional contract) for Phase 2

The value of a segmented Phase 1 approach is determining which procurement and construction costs fit within your project budget. This process provides clarity, identifies priorities and decreases Phase 1 costs by refining project scope early on, eliminating engineering for wish list items never actually constructed.

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