DBIA, SAME Release Report on Federal Project-Delivery Challenges

Aug. 15, 2016
The report is a summary of an open discussion and brainstorming session between various leaders in federal project delivery the organizations co-hosted.

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) recently released a report detailing things that work well, challenges, and proposed solutions in federal project delivery from the perspective of owners.

The report is a summary of an open discussion and brainstorming session between various leaders in federal project delivery the organizations co-hosted.

"While the forum was open to discussion as it relates to all project delivery, design-build project delivery immediately surfaced as something that works well when properly executed," Lisa Washington, executive director and chief executive officer of DBIA, said. "The owners at the forum discussed early knowledge of costs and appropriate allocation of risk as the two main advantages of design-build. Furthermore, there was a large discussion on the critical role of procurement professionals—especially contracting officers—in unleashing innovation and creating better projects. For this reason, we will be hosting a similar forum in the near future featuring only contracting officers in order to develop further recommendations."

"By bringing together leaders from 11 different federal agencies, the forum was able to provide a broad assessment of the issues that government, working with industry, faces in delivering projects that benefit the nation," SAME Executive Director Brig. Gen. Joe Schroedel, PE, FSAME, USA (Ret.), said. "From budget constraints to agency-staff turnover to inconsistently defined requirements, neither government nor industry can solve these and other complex challenges alone. True industry-government collaboration focused on developing solutions, along with establishing the right tools, people and processes—as outlined in the Federal Owners' Forum Summary Report—will be essential to successful project delivery in the federal marketplace."

The leaders' discussion focused on tools, people, and processes as the driving forces behind effective projects/project delivery, regardless of delivery method.

The report summarizes discussions related to each area and describes proposed solutions. In some instances, the solution lies with the federal agency. In most, however, the solution lies with collaborative change. It is these solutions that will drive the DBIA and SAME agendas in the coming year.

In summary, optimal conditions for success—regardless of the project-delivery method selected—described in the report include:

  • Pick a partner, not an enemy.
  • Think "team first" to drive project quality.
  • Pre-select on qualifications.
  • Incentivize and align A/E and contractors.
  • Survey past performance in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System.
  • Pick the best team with the best proposal.
  • Issue life-cycle-oriented, performance-focused requests for proposal.
  • Ensure proper workforce development (in particular as it relates to the unique aspects of integrated design-build).

To read the summary report, go to http://www.dbia.org/resource-center/Documents/federal_owners_forum_report_final.pdf.