While several monumental tasks need to be completed on the Lake Mead Intake No. 3, Erika Moonin, project manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, says neither its contractors nor owner anticipate future issues, thanks to preconstruction risk management. "We had a very strong approach to risk management," she says. "We had open communication meetings between the owner and the construction manager, and we had experts, including our peer-review committee."

The contract also included allowance accounts that provided tunnelers leeway when dealing with "potentially variable items," mainly pre-excavation grouting and hyperbaric interventions, says Moonin. Any funds that remained in those accounts will be split between the contracting joint venture and the owner. "That was designed to help [contractors] make their best estimate of the effort, but they were reassured that there was a pot of money that they could dip into if they exceeded it," she says. "Those were the two areas where we had an allowance item—where, if the contractor exceeds the line item for the lump sum, we go into this allowance item. We also have a provision in there where [the firms] cannot claim for a different site condition until we use up that allowance item."

Moonin says that approach also allowed for quick decisions by the contractor "as to what needed to be done." The joint venture was "the design-builder as far as changing the plan," she adds.