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Project Delivery Teams

by the WBDG Project Management Committee

Last updated: 10-23-2014

Overview

Every capital project has a unique set of program goals and technical requirements that demand assembling a specialized mix of core team members and other stakeholders (a stakeholder is a party with a vested interest in a project). Successful project management involves continuous leadership of the team through successful project planning and development and through project delivery and control. It also involves establishing quality control processes for each team member to better understand those goals and objectives determined by the owners of the project. Early involvement of all parties through an integrated delivery process ensures that the expertise of the professionals involved at all stages will work to improve process and delivery stages for the project.

This section of the WBDG has been developed to assist those involved in capital design and construction programs in understanding how project teams are selected, procured, contracted, and coordinated for successful project delivery.

Assembling a Project Delivery Team

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Delivery teams typically include those professionals involved in the programming, planning, design, construction and sub-contractor roles for the project. Assembling the correct team is critical to achieving the best outcomes possible and minimizing risk and loss.

The extent of professional disciplines and technical specialists (often called Program Advocates) represented on the delivery team will vary depending on the extent of the managing agency's capital design and construction budget and their associated management, professional and support staff resources. Delivery team members should be identified in the Project Management Plan (PMP) and typically will include a project manager, contracting officer, owner/client representative, A-E professionals, commissioning agent, facility manager, representatives of the O&M staff, specialty consultants, construction contractor, construction manager, and peer reviewer(s).

Partnering

Partnering, often referred to as dispute prevention, is a formal program used by the Project Delivery Team to improve communications and avoid disputes by working towards mutually beneficial goals and project objectives. Partnering creates opportunities for higher performing projects, more efficient resolution of issues, higher levels of trust and personal satisfaction, and increased collaboration.

The partnering process typically starts during preconstruction where an initial workshop or session is held. During the workshop, members of the Project Delivery Team meet to define their goals for the project, identify lines of communication, and establish a conflict resolution process. At the conclusion of the workshop, members of the Project Delivery Team will sign a formal partnering agreement, or charter, that will serve as a non-binding document to remind team members of their commitment to the process and goals. Follow-up partnering sessions are held throughout the life cycle of the project to address project issues and concerns, review performance according to the partnering charter, and refine processes.

Project Delivery Teams may benefit from a third-party facilitator, or consultant, with knowledge of partnering to facilitate and continuously improve their program.

Integrated Project Delivery

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is an approach to the design and construction process that is based on a cooperative working relationship, shared risk and reward, and open exchange of information that is intended to optimize project results, increase value to the Owner, and reduce waste during all phases of the project. IPD unifies the Project Delivery Team at the beginning of the project with the shared goal of project success.

The principles of IPD can be applied to a project in two ways—IPD as a Philosophy and IPD as a Delivery Method. IPD as a Philosophy occurs when integrated practices or philosophies are applied to more traditional project delivery methods such as Design/Bid/ Build, Design/Build, and CM at-Risk. The degree of collaboration may vary with IPD as Philosophy, but most or all elements are not contractually binding. IPD as a Delivery Method occurs when an Owner signs a multi-party contract with key members of the Project Delivery Team that incentivizes collaboration, team risk-sharing, and other IPD principles and practices.

Commissioning

When assembling the project delivery team, it is important to bring the commissioning agent (CxA) on board during or before schematic design. This early involvement is critical for the timely and useful development of the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR), the subsequent design team Basis of Design (BOD) and the beginning of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Systems Manual. If these tasks are left until later in the process and "reverse engineered" to match the design, their usefulness as catalysts for dialog and quality tracking tools is lost.

The CxA should be appointed immediately after the architects and engineers. This allows the CxA to become familiar with existing programming documents and proceed immediately to the OPR workshop and the development of the MEP and other criterion that match the project needs. When the Systems Manual is started at this early stage, the inclusion of O&M requirements is ensured. The inclusion of O&M in the early stage project programming is the key to the long- term persistance of the energy efficiency and equipment longevity strategies built into the design.

Contracting and Acquisition

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Project Managers work closely with agency contracting officers in assembling the project delivery team. They need to have familiarity with acquisition and contracting regulations and procedures applicable to the managing agency, but only contracting officers (often referred to as the "CO") are permitted to contract for professional and construction services on behalf of the government. The selection and procurement of contracted delivery team members on federal projects are regulated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and both professional and construction services are advertised in FedBizOpps.

There are several types of acquisition regulations that apply to design and construction contracts for Federal projects:

Acquisition Regulations specify procedures for advertising work, selection stages of submissions, and contractor evaluation and selection criteria. The "Brooks Bill" is a procurement method that allows awarding projects to the best qualified, rather than lowest priced, offer. Advertisement, evaluation, and selection are followed by contract negotiation and award of the assignment. Many agencies have developed and adopted standard forms for professional services and construction contracts.

Federal budget cycle considerations will also impact the project planning process. Depending on the scale of a project, funds for site purchase, design fees, and construction costs may be spread over several budget cycles. Contracting for each phase of work may only occur after funds are requested in agency budgets and have been appropriated or authorized.

In the private sector references, past experience and certification determine who the various professional team members will be. It is important to look for experience in similar types of projects and for the credentials and recent experience of the people involved. Early contractor and designer involvement enhances this process so that all stakeholders are involved in setting the specifications for the project to more forward efficiently. It is also important to consider experience with sustainability issues to enhance project performance and the relationships with the community.

Defining Roles/Responsibilities and Team Management

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Project Managers develop and define roles and responsibilities for each team member through the use of Project Management Plans, agency handbooks/guidelines, Commissioning Plans, RFPs, Scopes of Work, and Contracts. Because project requirements and solutions evolve during the design phase (and even into the construction phase) a high degree of ongoing coordination among team members is needed for an integrated effort that will result in projects that are on time, in budget, function properly, and meet the project owner's expectations. A good quality control process provides needed documentation of the project goals and objectives and helps keep these goals at the forefront of the planning process.

Project Management Practices and Standards

Successful project management of a major, complex design and construction program requires mastery of a body of knowledge (BOK) including proficiency in project planning, development, design, scheduling, cost management, codes and regulations, contract law, and exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. These professional skills are necessary for effective and successful project leadership and improve the performance of the team as a whole.

Careers in Government

Federal agencies advertise all job announcements for architecture, engineering, and construction/project management positions in USAJobs. Each agency offers programs in professional development, internships and mentoring, and promotes career advancement opportunities. For more information on a particular agency's programs and opportunities, contact a representative directly through the Participating Agencies section of the WBDG Home Page.

Information on annual salaries (by grade and step) for federal positions can be found at the Office of Personnel Management.

For additional information on careers in Project Management, visit Project Management Institute—Career Headquarters.

Major Resources

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Federal Agency

  • Federal Acquisition Regulation
  • FARSite Contracting Laboratory—Information of DOD acquisition procedures.
  • FedBizOpps—FedBizOpps.gov is the single government point-of-entry (GPE) for Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet. Through one portal—FedBizOpps (FBO)—commercial vendors seeking Federal markets for their products and services can search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community.
  • GSA Partnering
  • Standard Form 330, Architect-Engineer Qualifications—On December 11, 2003, Standard Form 330 (SF330) was released by the federal government. The new form, which architects and engineers use to present their qualifications and experience when seeking federal projects, replaces SF 254/255 and emphasizes qualifications-based selection for the procurement of A/E services.
  • USAF Project Managers Guide for Design and Construction

Publications

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