Confidence through Construction Management
The $500 million treatment plant was built through two major construction contracts. Traditional design-bid-build (DBB) was used for the solids and odour control infrastructure, and general contractor/construction manager for all liquids facilities, including a 136 million litres-per-day membrane bioreactor technology process—the nation's largest. "Managing two different and simultaneous alternative delivery contracts for the same project presented challenges, but as the owner's representative, we needed to build trust with the contractors while instilling confidence in the county that they could depend on us," says Kevin McEvoy, CDM Smith vice president and construction manager.
Benefits were realised before construction began. CDM Smith partnered with the design engineer to clearly delineate the plans' scopes to solicit more accurate bids, as well as performed detailed cost, constructability and proposed contract packaging reviews for the general contractor/construction manager contract. "We worked with the county to generate contractor interest and competitive bidding on the DBB contract," says McEvoy. Since the general contractor/construction manager can self perform up to 30 % of the work, we assisted with the public bidding process of the remaining contract packages and reviewed bids with the county to select the lowest responsive bids.
While the day-to-day management of field work rested with each contractor, we ensured close coordination between contracts to identify where liquids and solids work would interface. The project team conducted weekly contractor meetings to promptly resolve field conflicts and schedule deviations with everyone’s concurrence, minimising confusion in the field.
Vigilant review and processing of payments and other cost issues, as well as responsiveness to owner and contractor needs, prevented routine change orders from becoming costly claims. "Most importantly, difficult issues were addressed head on without a single issue brought before the Dispute Review Board," notes McEvoy. Overall, the project team negotiated more than 110 change orders and addressed a variety of scheduling conflicts; while keeping change orders to only 3.8 % of project cost. "This was well within our expectations," states Gunars Sreibers, King County program manager. "Construction management was instrumental to completing this project on time and within budget. A spirit of mutual trust and cooperation was evident throughout."