In this episode, I talk to Steve Long, P.E., a senior engineer with Freese and Nichols, Inc., who currently serves as the Program Manager for the North Texas Municipal Water District’s Bois d’Arc Lake Program. He discusses alternate delivery methods for the Bois d’Arc Lake Program and how one of these methods helped his client save $70 million.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Steve:
- Tell us about the North Texas Municipal Water District’s Bois d’Arc Lake Program.
- Why did the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) choose alternate delivery methods to deliver the mitigation project and what was the process?
- Why did NTMWD initially procure a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) to deliver the mitigation project and then switch to a “Full-Service Provider” contractor who specializes in mitigation work?
- How was the contract structured with the full-service mitigation contractor?
- How was the full-service contractor procured?
- Why is the mitigation project so large, 17,000 acres?
- Why is a civil engineer involved in a mitigation project?
- What are some of the lessons learned from such an unusual project?
- Do you have any final advice for civil engineers out there?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Using Alternate Delivery Methods to Deliver Civil Engineering Projects:
- North Texas Municipal Water District was created by an act of the Texas Legislator in 1951. The North Texas Municipal Water District supplies drinking water, collects and treats wastewater, and provides solid waste services to a service area that spans 2,200 square miles.
- Some of the fastest-growing cities in the region are in the North Texas service area. In response to the growth, they embarked on building the Bois d’Arc Lake. To build a dam, you must have a Federal 404 permit and a State Water Rights permit. By February 2018, both permits were in place. A water pump station, water reservoir, and water treating facility were built to purify and move the water to the service area that is 30 miles away. Roads and bridges were moved to compensate for the area that was flooded by the dam.
- The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) chose alternate delivery to deliver the mitigation project because the State 404 Permit caused a two-year delay. The project schedule, price, and complexity allowed the use of alternate delivery methods. To start construction immediately after receiving the permit, they had to compress the schedule. The NTMWD chose to use five construction managers at risk. It allowed the NTMWD to pick the designers and manage the design while the construction manager at risk (CMAR) could start procuring long delivery items.
- Alternate delivery helps the schedule because you engage the contractor and construction manager earlier. The CMAR finds the material packages he can receive bids on earlier in the project. This enables them to procure the long-lead time items earlier in the project. The CMAR can time the markets and lock in the prices of materials, and ultimately save a lot of money for the owner.
- Without having alternate delivery in a project, the project turns into a design, bid, and build project. The design must be completely done before you bid on the project. You have a construction contractor but lose out on the construction manager doing constructability reviews and value engineering.
- The CMAR was vital at determining early work packages and setting up the project. Mitigation projects are replete with risks that a construction manager would have trouble understanding. The full-service provider designs, constructs, operates, and maintains the project. They guarantee the performance of the project, and that it will meet the requirements that the Army Core of Engineers placed when approving the mitigation plan and 404 permits.
- The Bois d’Arc Lake is a one-of-a-kind mitigation project that has a unique contract with the full-service provider. The contract stated that the full-service provider takes the risk, delivers the mitigation plan, and has milestone payments during the construction. The growing season payments are based on measurable improvements. When the construction is completed, the NTMWD must have a payment and performance bond for the remaining work. The full-service contract must renew its payment and performance bond and insurance annually until the mitigation project achieves the requirements of the mitigation plan.
- A competitive sealed proposal was used to procure the full-service contractor. The Texas Government Code allows special districts, like the Texas Water District, to use things other than price to determine the best value. The full-service providers would submit their full qualifications, project approach, schedule, key personnel, and their price. They were all vetted against a criterion for each of the submitted items to determine a final score of who represented the best value to North Texas.
- The mitigation project is so large because the reservoir will inundate 16,641 acres.
- Mitigation projects are earthwork projects, but environmental scientists are involved in the planting phases. A civil engineer is assigned to manage mitigation projects because you must understand earthwork, equipment, staff, and materials.
- To get a 404 permit, an investigation of cultural resources in the area that is impacted must be done. When working on large mitigation projects, you must engage with cultural resources early. The cultural resources do the survey and testing phases. Any mitigation requires an archaeologist to excavate, which takes a lot of time.
- Use a full-service mitigation provider if your project warrants it. Procure them using a competitive sealed proposal. A procured full-service mitigation provider can potentially save your client a lot of money.
More Details in This Episode…
About Steve Long, P.E.
Steve Long, P.E., is a senior engineer with Freese and Nichols, Inc., and currently serves as the Program Manager for the North Texas Municipal Water District’s Bois d’Arc Lake Program. Steve is a 1979 honors graduate of Texas Tech with a BSCE and a five-year veteran of the U. S. Army. Steve retired in March 2021 after 30 years with NTMWD (almost 20 years as the Water System Manager and six years as a Program Manager in NTMWD’s Engineering Department).
Books Mentioned in This Episode:
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success