Letter to the Editor: Design-Build vs. AWP
I just read with interest Bruce Buckley's cover story on enhanced productivity, titled "Teams Are Driving Detailed Planning Into Design Phase" (ENR 7/7 p. 34). [The story does a "great" job of documenting the] benefits of aligning, early in the process,engineering planning with construction planning and integrating advanced work packaging.
As I perused the article, I kept waiting to read two specific words to describe this integrated process. However, as I reached the conclusion of the story, I was somewhat disappointed that the two words did not appear in print.
The article was adept in describing the approach of integrated project delivery and the benefits of aligning the interests of all stakeholders. Moreover, it showed the significant benefits that owners and practitioners can expect to derive from such dedicated, cohesive planning. The missing two words: design-build!
From the ancient days of the master builder to the current design-build environment, the article very concisely describes design-build done right. Regrettably, too many public owners—federal and state agencies—do not structure their requests for proposals to fully utilize the benefits the ENR story describes. The Design-Build Institute of America's best practices, for example, enable the essence of the author's article to be accomplished routinely in today's fast-track design and construction industry.
Unger Security Solutions, LLC
Editor's note: To differentiate advanced work packaging (AWP) from design-build, ENR reached out to Jim Rammell, co-chair of the AWP team at the Construction Industry Institute-Construction Owners Association of Alberta. Rammell is vice president of construction operations for Wood Group Mustang. He says AWP was generated in the industrial sector, in which the term "engineer-procure-construct," or EPC, is more commonly used to designate a design-build style of contract. In a memo to ENR, Rammell explains:
"Central innovations of AWP are the processes by which engineering and construction are aligned during early project planning and how that discipline is maintained throughout execution until mechanical completion, startup and turnover to the client. We believe these process innovations, although generated in the industrial sector, have implications for practice in all sectors. We acknowledge the important role of contractual structure and the ability of contracts to create incentives that encourage or inhibit alignment, and that market forces and other constraints will drive owners' contractual strategies for engaging design and construction services. The AWP documentation developed by CII-COAA has a chapter on recommended contractual strategies and requirements for AWP success.
"It is important to note that AWP methods have been deployed in projects with various approaches to engaging engineering, procurement and construction expertise. In some cases, the engineering and construction parties have been split and held in traditional contracts. In others, AWP has been deployed in projects with only one EPC firm and contract. Whatever the contract style, it is important that contractual requirements and incentives support AWP alignment processes."