Project Management

"Miracle" Project Wins PMI Project of the Year Award

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Shave US$100 million from a project's budget and your stakeholders will likely be thrilled. Shave another US$100 million from the budget and the entire project management profession will likely take notice.

The team behind the Prairie Waters project of Aurora, Colorado, USA, did just that. And last night at PMI® Global Congress 2011--North America, it was named 2011 PMI Project of the Year.

After a two-year drought in Aurora, the project aimed to provide an added 10,000 acre-feet to the city's water supply.

What set this particular project apart from the pack? "Excellent project management" and "a little bit of luck," said Larry Catalano, manager of the capital projects division for the City of Aurora, as he accepted the honor.

"Just imagine for a moment: one program management firm, three construction managers, four city project managers, five design engineering firms, seven general contractors, 10 bid packages, 36 regulatory agencies, 140 property easements, 410 permits and 11 city council members representing 330,000 people that weren't too happy about their water bills being increased," he said. "Sprinkle in a few attorneys here and there and add an owner-controlled insurance program and I think it's a miracle we got this project done at all."

Mr. Catalano called Prairie Waters "truly a legacy project" for the city.

The project required constructing a 34-mile (55-kilometer), 60-inch (1.5-meter) pipeline, four pump stations, a natural purification area and one of the world's most technically advanced water-treatment facilities, which handles 50 million gallons (189 million liters) per day.

During the project's design phase, city council members required project leaders to cut US$100 million from the initial estimated budget of US$854 million. In the construction phase, project leaders created incentives for contractors to come up with ways to deliver the project more cost effectively, while maintaining safety and quality standards. Any cost savings were split evenly with the city and the contractors.

The project was ultimately delivered for US$653 million -- and two months ahead of schedule.

The Prairie Waters project was honored along with two finalists: Oak Grove Steam Electric Station, Franklin, Texas, USA and EMAL Smelter Complex, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Look for video case studies of all the finalists along with more awards coverage and a full list of winners on PMI.org
Posted by cyndee miller on: October 23, 2011 08:05 PM | Permalink

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