February 18, 2013
Manitoba Heavy Construction Association weighs in on accelerated projects
The Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) has recommended six steps to enhanced capital program management for the City of Winnipeg as one councillor calls for accelerated construction on some projects.
“As council moves towards adopting its 2013 and five year capital programs, we would like to urge consideration around ensuring timely and efficient program management to enable enhanced programs to flow, and capture cost and delivery efficiencies for the City as project owner, the public and the multiplicity of industries affected by budgets,” wrote the MHCA in a letter to Winnipeg city council.
Recently, Winnipeg councillor Scott Fielding called for more evening and weekend construction, and penalties and incentives for early completion of major construction on regional streets.
The MHCA asked council to consider moving towards approving 150 per cent of the construction/capital program annually in December, which would allow for 100 per cent for the next year and 50 per cent of the following year’s construction program. Upon those approvals, the MHCA recommended the city “quickly award design responsibilities to the engineering community. No project can be tendered or contract awarded without the project being first designed.”
It recommends the city should tender projects early and then quickly award the contracts to the lowest qualifying bidders.
As an example, MHCA said 80 per cent of the roadwork should be tendered and awarded between February and April.
“The above steps allow the design and construction industries in the winter months to organize their anticipated equipment, labour and material supplies earlier, and to position themselves to bid competitively — ultimately a benefit to the taxpayer,” said the MHCA.
The association also recommended the city allow flexibility in the scheduling of projects within contract parameters.
“Imposing unrealistic project start and completion dates impedes industry’s ability to efficiently organize its affairs,” it stated.
Another recommendation is that the city orients program design preferences in favour of larger projects.
“In the case of streets for example, larger projects whether regional, collector or residential, would reduce the waste associated with mobilization and demobilization; enable cost advantages of economies of scale; support design award and delivery efficiencies; and ultimately deliver more product,” it wrote.
The MHCA recommended that the city use penalties and bonuses for projects in a balanced manner.
“Relying on penalties alone sets a negative relationship tone and results in adding the risk of unreasonable penalties to the bid price,” it wrote.
“Balancing penalties with bonus opportunity levels out the bidding process and provides more of an incentive.”
The MHCA noted that Winnipeg’s practices have improved over the last number of years.
It said adopting these six points would accelerate construction project completion, enhance competitive bidding, improve labour productivity, supply logistics and program management.
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