North Miami Beach Water (NMB Water) serves more than 175,000 customers in northern Miami-Dade County. To support the growing needs of the North Miami Beach community and surrounding areas, NMB Water is investing approximately $106 million in their Capital Improvements Program (CIP) to enhance water quality and reliability. The NMB Water CIP includes aging infrastructure replacements and significant improvements for the water treatment plant, collection and distribution system, sanitary force main and sanitary sewer.
Making the Most of Every Dollar
To make the most of its investment, NMB Water turned to Black & Veatch to provide program management services throughout all CIP phases including planning, design, preconstruction, and construction. Black & Veatch developed a detailed work plan to begin executing work on day one, achieving NMB Water’s goals quickly and cost-effectively. Under the blended capacity program management model, Black & Veatch and NMB Water are working together as one team managing third-party architects, engineers and contractors. This approach bolsters NMB Water’s resources including policies, procedures, and staffing to increase overall program value through enhanced infrastructure and organizational performance.
Adjusting the Scope to Match the Budget
Black & Veatch also innovated a progressive design-build-at-budget approach to the rehabilitation of the Norwood Wastewater Treatment Plant as part of the overall CIP program. The firm was tasked with working through a list of priorities (rather than a specific scope) to ensure completion at a fixed price. Working closely with subcontractors to develop solutions, the team was able to adjust the scope to match the client’s budget — not the other way around. NMB Water benefits from this delivery method because they know the exact guaranteed maximum price (GMP) that the program will cost, and they’re getting the best value out of every dollar. Black & Veatch consistently submits reports on exactly what has been spent so far, the remaining budget, and which client priorities have been achieved as a result.
Mitigating Challenges Facing the Program
Together, NMB Water and the Black & Veatch program management team have navigated the following obstacles:
Alternative delivery method. The blended capacity and progressive design-build approaches offer many client benefits but also pose unique challenges that require a lot of flexibility to solve. Black & Veatch had to adapt quickly to meet budget, schedule and permitting requirements to keep the CIP running smoothly. This meant finding creative ways to check off priorities within the constrained timeframe and keep costs down for NMB Water despite supply chain issues.
Existing conditions. As commonly found in many aging infrastructure systems, the team uncovered inconsistent applications of engineering specifications and unreliable construction as-builts. Black & Veatch also encountered hazardous materials and conditions including asbestos and sinkholes. In addition, the existing systems being worked on are still operational; Black & Veatch must only take them offline for brief periods of time to minimize disruptions to the community.
Environment. NMB Water’s service area spans multiple cities, meaning the team needs to be well-versed in various environmental regulations in terms of protected plant and animal species. Construction operations for the NMB Water CIP take place in low-lying areas with very wet conditions; Black & Veatch has advised on various water crossings from both safety and environmental perspectives. Natural disasters are another environmental concern — the program management team developed emergency shutdown and lightning protection procedures in the event of major storms and hurricanes.
Public safety and events. Construction activities are being coordinated to promote safety and lessen impacts on the public. Providing contractor oversight, the Black & Veatch program management team is ensuring compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and advising on pedestrian barriers and traffic control. To date, there have been zero reportable accidents or injuries associated with NMB Water’s program.
Supporting the Surrounding Community
It’s essential to be transparent with community members about construction activities. The program provides a Black & Veatch-developed public dashboard that shows in real time how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent. So far, the program is under budget and extending the reach of its funding. Black & Veatch also supports the North Miami Beach Public Information Office (PIO) through public outreach marketing and events, putting together literature and presentations for town hall meetings and addressing customer inquiries. Black & Veatch began work on the NMB Water CIP in August 2020 and is contracted to provide its program management services through completion, scheduled for 2027.