This is a guest post by Jon Earle, PE, ENV SP
Part 3 – Developing and Executing Projects with GSCs
In Part 3 of the 5-part blog series, I will be discussing the development of specific project scopes of work once a general services consultant (GSC) has been selected. In my experience, having a GSC in place and leveraging this relationship is critical for project success from the beginning.
Developing Capital Budgets
One of the key roles of any municipal engineer is the development of multi-year capital improvement plans (CIPs) that outline future projects, a schedule for delivery, and anticipated project costs. The GSC can provide support by reviewing project scope, schedule, and most importantly, budget based on their experience working on similar projects within a geographic area. A GSC can also provide some preliminary design support and graphic presentation materials for discussion with the local governing bodies (town/city councils or select boards).
Task Order Development
Once a project has been approved by the municipality, a task order is then negotiated with the GSC for specific services as needed, including preliminary and final design, bid review, construction administration, and construction inspection. These services can be selected as needed by the municipal engineer based on their internal staffing availability and technical ability, depending on the complexity of the project. The GSC would also be able to provide (or include) additional disciplines within the task order such as a topographic/boundary survey, wetland scientists, and other environmental professionals needed to move the project into the bidding phase.
Bidding and Construction Phase Support
After the project plans and specifications are completed and the project is out to bid, the GSC may be retained to provide additional support as the project moves into the bidding and construction phases. The GSC and the municipal engineer typically work collaboratively to determine if the bids are accurate, reasonable (based on similar projects), and most importantly, within the approved CIP. If necessary, the GSC and municipal engineer would work closely to value engineer and/or reduce the scope of the project should bid pricing come in higher than what was anticipated. Additional approvals may need to be obtained from the town/city manager or governing body depending on the municipal policies and procedures.
As the project moves into the construction phase, the GSC may also be retained (or subcontract) services related to construction administration and inspection. In my region in particular, it has been very challenging to find qualified and experienced construction inspectors. We have found success in identifying the need for these services early on in the project to allow the GSC to hire additional staff (if needed) based on our commitment of work related to the project.
In summary, having the GSC involved in the project early helps to align the goals of the project with the services needed for a successful project. Having a GSC pre-selected based on qualifications-based criteria streamlines the design process and leads to a more efficient method of project delivery. In part four of the series, I will discuss developing and maintaining a professional relationship with consultants.
About Jon Earle, PE, ENV SP
Jon Earle graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and has completed graduate coursework at the University of Southern Maine in Public Administration. He currently serves as the Supervisor of Engineering Services for Maine Water Company. Jon is responsible for capital project delivery and oversight in 12 public water systems serving approximately 32,000 customers across the state of Maine. In addition, Jon has served on his local planning board and is currently a board member of the Maine Society of Professional Engineers.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s post by guest author Jon Earle, PE, ENV SP. If you’re interested in your firm possibly joining the Civil Engineering Collective, please contact us here or call us at 800-920-4007.
I hope you’ll join us.
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success