Monday, September 17, 2012

PSMJ Tips: New Project Delivery Methods = New Risks

The thought of a multi-billion dollar project stretching a decade or more sounds exciting. It keeps your employees working, guarantees revenue, and makes your firm’s status shine. More and more, projects of this size are being delivered as public-private partnership (P3s) or design-build, both of which can save money and cut time. But with these alternate project delivery methods also comes new risks and challenges. Here are just a few:

• Design responsibility shared by all. With design-build, the contractor becomes a partner in the design, whether through value-engineering or onsite detailing. With P3, it’s even more complicated. Make sure the design roles and responsibilities are crystal clear. 

• Lengthy warranties. Architects and engineers don’t typically carry coverage past the standard of care, yet contractors do. The partnered delivery methods, the coverage responsibilities get blurred. 

• Complex BIM coordination. It’s hard enough to coordinate the BIM process between a prime and subcontractors. Decide early who is responsible for hosting, maintaining, and setting the standards for BIM use and documentation. 

• Open to the liability of others. In a design-build, and particularly a P3, an architecture and engineering become signatories to other contracts, thereby increasing the chance of being involved in a claim. 

• Likelihood of increased scope. This is problem on all project delivery types, but for a project that may last more than a decade, the scope always has to stay closely in check. 

As with any contract or delivery style, it’s always wise to consult with your legal advisor(s) and liability insurer(s) prior to tackling any type of alternate project delivery. The strength of every A/E/C firm is its project managers. Every practice must develop highly skilled project managers to deliver projects successfully. PSMJ's A/E/C Project Management Bootcamp, which has trained more than 30,000 top-flight project managers worldwide, dramatically improves the performance of project managers.

This fall, PSMJ is providing 8 locations to give your project managers the tools and confidence needed to join the ranks of the world's most successful project managers. Register today!

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