Seven Ways to Optimize Your Alternative Delivery Project

Seven Ways to Optimize Your Alternative Delivery Project
​Here are seven tips to help maximize your next alternative delivery project.
While the benefits of alternative delivery are substantial, getting used to the process can be a challenge for you, your staff and your stakeholders – particularly if it’s your first time trying an alternative to design-bid-build. To help make the process as smooth as possible, we created this list of 7 tips that will help you maximize the value you can obtain by choosing alternative delivery.
AD101Have a clear vision of your project. Start with the end in mind. Let your vision of project goals guide your choice of the delivery method: some forms of alternative delivery are better suited than others for your particular priorities. For example, Construc­tion-Manager-at-Risk (CMAR) is excellent at providing total trans­parency throughout the project, while Design Build (DB) is best for fast-tracking projects with scheduling concerns.


AD101Start with the right project. A smaller, straight­for­ward project might not be the right fit for your first foray into alternative delivery. Choosing a medium-sized, more complex project ($10+ million) will allow you to gain the full benefits of alternative delivery, while acquiring more in-depth knowledge of the process for use on future projects. In general, the more complex a project is, the greater value differ­en­tial you‘ll obtain by using alternative delivery.


AD101Choose an experienced team. Look closely at the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of the teams that you consider selecting to assist with an alternative delivery project. When you’re trying alternative delivery for the first time, make sure you balance a competitive price with a team that’s worked together on alternative delivery projects before. Joining forces with an experienced team will help minimize roadblocks and delays. They will help you through the process with hard-won, first-hand knowledge.


AD101Get buy-in from legal. Get your legal department involved early and often. Each state has different rules and regulations, so your attorney can help find the right approach to navigating contracts. Try having your legal team work with your consultant partner to identify a model alternative delivery contract that’s a good fit, and then tailor it to your particular needs. By aligning the priorities and expec­ta­tions of your legal department with your own, you can eliminate a major potential stumbling block.


AD101Identify an executive sponsor. Using alternative delivery for the first time will unlock major value for your orga­ni­za­tion, but change always presents a potential challenge. If you’ve determined that alternative delivery is the right choice on the merits, don’t let political issues sidetrack you. Leave that work to the experts. Enlisting a strong executive sponsor (a board member, city councilor, executive director, or similar) to be the public face of the project will provide “air cover” for you as you move forward.


AD101Hone your skills with CMAR. CMAR is typically the methodology an owner should choose when first imple­ment­ing alternative delivery, since it preserves many of the structures of traditional design-bid-build while adding some alternative delivery improve­ments. To optimize CMAR, bring the construc­tion manager into the process early, so they can start looking at efficiencies and sequences and work with designers to enhance the design.


AD101Ensure your scoring system is sound. As the owner, it’s crucial to spend time thoroughly commu­ni­cat­ing to the bidders exactly what is important to you and what will be your deciding factors. Be transparent and up front about how you will pick the winner. Having a smooth system and defining the rules will give everyone going in an understanding of what they need to do to win and what you value in your partner. And it will make the selection process much easier for you and your team.
Alternative delivery offers notable positive oppor­tu­ni­ties to owners, but it’s important to go into the process well-armed with information. Get as much education as you can and look to an experienced consultant to help you through the process. Put careful thought into how the role of the owner can and should change as you shift to alternative delivery, and how you can make the most of that role change towards more involvement, collab­o­ra­tion and partnership. 
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