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What are good practices for defining the scope of design services and deliverables?

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What are good practices for defining the scope of design services and deliverables?

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Unless an Owner has designated staff, the development of technical requirements for a construction contract is usually performed by a design consultant.   The Owner identifies the scope, deliverables and performance schedule, and then establishes the process for Owner representatives to participate with the consultant in developing and reviewing the design deliverables.   In order to manage the work, the Owner typically assigns a Project Manager (PM) to monitor the consultant and to ensure project participants complete activities to support a defined project plan, schedule and budget.

Design deliverables typically consist of iterative packages, such as conceptual/basis of design, 30%, 60%, 90% and 100% design, that are reviewed and revised before becoming the technical requirements in a construction contract.   The content, format and level of detail in the deliverables are defined in the design scope, which is supplemented by the Owner’s design input such as design criteria, standard terms and conditions, model Division I specifications, industry standard specification formats and contract forms, operating standards and rules, and government code and regulations.   

The design scope for contracting with a consultant will establish objective requirements for services and deliverables, and for performance metrics.   It may also provide background for the consultant to understand the Owner’s objectives and strategic goals.   The design scope may be contained in a Scope of Work (SOW) and requirements integrated with other sections of the Owner’s standard contracting agreements.

In the rail transit project domain, the PM is largely responsible for defining and compiling the design scope.    As a result, the PM manages the technical writing of the design scope and contributes to customizing the contracting agreement with the Owner’s contracting and legal departments.   

Good Practices for the SOW

General description and purpose:   This is a summary of the consultant’s work, the current conditions and how the deliverables will be used by the Owner.    

Project background and objective:  This provides information to the consultant on how the work fits into the Owner’s strategic project plan the overarching objectives in a program, predecessor work or successor work.    

Team composition and member experience and qualifications:  This is the Owner’s expectations for the Team performing the work.   

Office location and business hours:   This is the Owner’s plan for conducting the work and coordinating with the Owner at defined locations and work hours.   For on-site requirements, this may include office space, equipment and conveniences for conducting the work.  For remote sites, this may include defined time by time zone for conducting video conferences and telephone conferences. 

Equipment and training for performing work:   This defines the Owner’s technical, safety and security requirements for the work, which can include surveying equipment, personal protective equipment, and personnel training for the work environment.

Description of services:  This is the Owner’s objective and implied expectations for the consultant’s interaction with the Owner during the execution of the contract and the creation and review of the deliverables.     

Description of deliverables and milestone schedule:    This describes the format, content, organization, incremental design levels and timeframe for the deliverables from the consultant.   The deliverables may include conceptual design description, product requirement definition and catalog cuts, and best value analysis. 

Design Criteria and reference documents:    This defines the technical design requirements for development of the construction deliverables.  The requirements may include a comprehensive list of industry standards, applicable government laws and regulations, and an appendix of documents from the Owner.  

Good Practices for the Contract Agreement Supporting the SOW:

Description of proposal format and content:   This is the Owner’s specific requirements for the proposal documentation from each bidder.   This includes written content and matrices of personnel, hours and cost to perform the work planned.  

Experience and qualifications of the consultant company:  This is the Owner’s expectations for the consultant company performing the work.   

Evaluation criteria for selecting and negotiating with prospective consultant:  This is the Owner’s critical element and metrics for meeting requirements.  This is used by the Owner for rating bidders and for comparative analysis and measuring the proposal for receiving the best value for the manhours and costs.

Critical bid response dates:    Unless modified by the Owner, these dates are not excusable.    Bidders missing dates will be eliminated from the bidding process. 

Bid conference and site tour dates, time and personal protective equipment:   Unless modified by the Owner, these dates and requirements for attendance/compliance will not be excused.  

TIP:  If there are known challenges and risks for work, the Owner should share the information with the bidders and selected consultant.   If needed, the consultant can provide the information in the design scope description.

TIP:   The proposal from the selected consultant becomes an extension to the contract SOW.   During the bid period and the selection and negotiation activities, there may be clarifications or amplifications of written proposals that become part of the contract.

TIP:   The SOW should be clear on the Owner’s support during the work.   This can be described in the SOW under Work By Other and encompass specific activities within the Owner’s organization or other contracts with interdependencies.    The activities may include the timing of review meetings and the durations and deadlines for returning comments on consultant deliverables.   Examples are:  Conduct review meetings with Owner – 7 business days after consultant’s delivery of design submittal.   Return submittal review comments to consultant 21 days after delivery to Owner.  Conduct monthly progress meetings with Owner -  5 business days after Progress Reports.

TIP:   If the consultant’s services include soft deliverables such as progress reports, updated work plans and schedules, meeting agendas,  meetings notes, and comment review matrices, the SOW or other area of contract will need to describe the requirements and milestones dates.   Examples are:  Progress Reports – 5 business days after the reporting period.    Meeting Agenda – 5  business days ahead of the scheduled meeting.   Meeting Notes  -  5 business days after the meeting date. 

TIP:   If the scope of construction is substantial, the deliverables may include interfacing the products with the Owner’s Asset Management System (AMS).    The SOW will need to describe the AMS and the specific interfaces needed in the in the consultant’s deliverables, which will be in the construction contract.     

TIP:   If the Owner intends to use the consultant for Construction Phase Services, a brief description should be identified in the SOW as an Option.   This allows the Owner to negotiate a more detailed scope and cost at a later date, when the construction scope and execution plan is better defined and time-scaled in an integrated schedule. 

TIP:   For work with community impacts and planned benefits to customer experiences, the SOW should describe Owner’s expectation for consultant’s outreach and hands-on review of the plans, products, features and finishes that will be integrated into the construction contract. Examples are:  With Owner support, schedule and conduct community meetings or attend public hearings to answer questions and obtain feedback.    At Owner’s designated location, provide access to renderings, sample products, video simulations and prototype products for community reviews and feedback.  

Posted on: August 17, 2019 03:41 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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TIP: For projects that produce new fixed assets, some rail transit agencies are requiring the design consultant to create an SOW deliverables for Commissioning, Acceptance and Maintenance Plan (CAMP). This deliverable better assures the successor construction contracts and the agencies’ transition plans have a framework to follow throughout the project lifecycle for accepting, operating and maintaining the new asset. The CAMP will be initiated in design by the consultant and Owner; verified during construction with the contractor, construction manager (CM) and Owner; and completed by the CM and Owner during the turnover of the asset for operation. For large projects, this process may be performed on an incremental basis leading to a final acceptance of the entire set of project deliverables.

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