Case Study Recommendations
At Aspinall and Federal Center South, the interactive RFP process started with an open-ended scope. Through the proposal process, the teams expanded performance goals and showed options for how those goals could be achieved.
Uniformly, teams believe that the inclusion of a verification process should be recommended as a best practice.Lessons can be learned in the cases of Aspinall and EGWW which did not plan or budget for a verification period. EGWW was able to use funds captured from unspent contingency for several core team members to continue work; Aspinall funded a consultant to make an in-depth study of energy loads.
Under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), contracting officers were assigned to projects for the full duration of the project. Assigning a consistent contracting officer was effective in maximizing the benefits of the best-value procurement process. In Federal Center South, the contracting officer fully understood the benefits of the best-value procurement to the project. As a result, their additional time required set up the best value procurement was perceived as a contribution to the team, not an overload.
In teams where trust has been established, transparent contingencies can increase trust. In these cases, there are many examples where the process of reaching collective agreement on the use of contingency funds increased alignment and reinforced shared goals.
Critical to project success was the intentional establishment of relationships, trust, respect, and effective communication. They were established in a variety of ways (preplanning or continual improvement). The amount of time invested and timing of investment can vary. Return on the investment in collaboration was high, but not all projects may need the full-scale investment used in these cases. Complexity of context, aspirational goals, and personnel limits are factors in the decision to invest in collaborative practices or to follow conventional methods.
Both EGWW and Federal Center South benefited from situations that created the time to deliberately pace the early planning phase. This allowed the teams to develop a strong set of core values and identify problems to anticipate complexities in the project. While not always possible in every project, if time can be budgeted early on and used to build the team, the payoff provides a high return on investment.
In addition to helping identify team members that would fit well into a collaborative environment, the tool could also help identify areas in the organizational culture where additional support is required for collaboration to be fully adopted by the entire team.
In GSA projects, managing tenant expectations is always important. For buildings with high-performing goals, tenant needs and behavior is critical. Federal Center South noted that even with a single tenant with clear decision-making, communication with individual departments and users would have been improved if the team had a single point of contact. Aspinall used partnering sessions and mock ups to align tenant and project team goals. EGWW created a “condo” model to since several tenants were not confirmed until late in the process.
Logistical and Process Tactics
An intentional development of process tools was critical for teams to manage information and complexity and at the same time support collaboration. Teams effectively paired tools with needs and explained the connection. Master schedules created buy-in and shared understanding. Building information and energy modeling were extensively used. Teams acknowledged the need for expertise beyond their core groups; GSA peer reviewers were leveraged resources, as well as other stakeholders and supply-chain entities.
The early timing of the first GSA peer review is critical in design-build delivery. By the time the contract is awarded, the team has invested in design development. Review should occur shortly after the team is selected, before too many decisions have been finalized. The first review for Federal Center South resulted in changes to the locations of mechanical systems, if the team had invested in design work before that point, it would have been wasted effort.
Tracking value creation by tying value engineering (VE) decisions to the financial outcomes is a powerful incentive but is time consuming to maintain. EGWW creating a prioritized “buy-back” list motivated the team during VE. Even before the Federal Center South team was awarded the project, they created a wish list of “betterments”, many of these items were successfully incorporated.