Guided by their smart city plan, City of West Hollywood (WeHo), California, began to implement projects that would help them become a City of the Future. But like many communities, WeHo was busy and needed support in the form of technical expertise to integrate multiple smart city technologies into the built environment. This could have stalled their progress, but WeHo proactively established a procurement pathway that gave them access to a bench of technical experts before they launched their smart city projects. Through the established Master Services Agreement (MSA), Black & Veatch provided innovation, data, and design services and expertise to advance WeHo’s smart city projects, including electric vehicle (EV) charging.
Collaboration is important to solve smart city challenges, but access to essential collaborators is often tied up in procurement red tape and long-drawn-out contracting processes. Black & Veatch estimates a 3-6-month project delay if a city has to backtrack through procurement in order to resolve an unexpected project glitch. To ensure their projects didn’t lose momentum, WeHo set up an MSA before the project launch, enabling quick access to technical experts, as needed. By pre-qualifying technical experts, WeHo sidestepped a potentially long procurement cycle. This proactive action means WeHo and other smart cities will successfully navigate the complex process of smart technology deployment even if conditions— such as internal staffing or technical aspects— shift over the course of the project.
Working under this MSA, Black & Veatch joined forces with WeHo and provided a range of support—from phone call consultations to fully developed technical solutions. The MSA proved beneficial when WeHo grappled with the interplay between multiple complex technologies related to their EV charging sites.
Complex Technology Integration
Sustainability and mobility are important elements of WeHo’s Smart City Strategic Plan, and EV charging is a technology that helps advance the plan objectives. Development of EV charging stations involves several weighty considerations, including charging infrastructure technologies, power demand and capacity, and utility coordination. As WeHo moved through development, they realized that the intricacies of EV design necessitated expert collaboration. Working through the MSA, WeHo engaged Black & Veatch who quickly joined forces with WeHo to help them navigate the complexities of EV charging design. As engineer and designer, Black & Veatch:
- Reviewed contractors’ permit applications on behalf of WeHo to ensure sound electrical engineering and design
- Served as WeHo’s advocate during specific EV charging program development
As a testament to a successful engagement, WeHo trusted Black & Veatch to continue the evolution of their EV planning by issuing a work order under the MSA to help implement their city-wide EV charging plan.
Fast-Moving Smart Solutions
Cities that collaborate are the first to create best practices and sharable assets that benefit their smart city programs. In the end, the collaborating city will have an innovative and vibrant community, whereas cities who try to solve problems alone unknowingly walk a slower path to innovation and citizen-centric city functions. Regardless of which technologies a city wants to deploy—from EV charging and connected kiosks to smart buildings and intelligent transportation—they will benefit from a bench of experts. WeHo contracted with Black & Veatch to deploy their smart city projects. Working with one contractor helps ensure a cohesive solution set, avoid duplicate digital investments, and optimize assets.