Consultant Roundtable Part 3: Schmidt, Walker-Ford talk workforce and more (Source: METRO)

Jun 17, 2020

By Alex Roman

Timothy Schmidt

Sr. Associate/California Transit Director

Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN)

How has LAN responded to the coronavirus pandemic, both internally and with your clients?

Many of our clients are in the midst of either expansions or state of good repair projects. These projects and our clients in many cases are considered essential businesses, so LAN has continued to provide the same level of responsiveness and support during this trying time. Our employees providing construction management support have continued to do so. We are working with our clients and contractors to plan work activities with social distancing practices in mind. We have implemented wellness checks with our client and contractor partners making sure employees who may feel ill stay home. For management and design work, we have been successful with a Work-From-Home program. Using technology such as Teams, WebEx, and other virtual tools, we are continuing to meet and collaborate with clients.

As far as project delivery, what new trends are you seeing take place in the U.S. and Canada?

Transit properties are looking at different ways to deliver their projects. In our opinion, there are various methods to address varying needs of our clients. The traditional Design-Bid-Build remains a viable delivery model, depending on the size, complexity, and needs of the transit property and the community it serves.

Design-Build has now been used for many years both in vertical and horizontal construction including transit and transportation projects. Design-Build can offer several benefits provided the contractor and designer truly work as a team. These benefits include an expedited delivery, the creation of a single contractual point of contact for the client, and improved and more open communication and collaboration between the engineer, its subconsultants, the contractor, its subcontractors, and the client. Again, a critical element in any successful design-build is effective teamwork between the engineer and contractor. It is also critical that the client-owner be sophisticated and experienced with the design-build method, or engage representatives that can help the client-owner navigate the complicated nuances of this delivery method.

A trend we see gaining momentum is the use of Progressive Design Build and Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC), also more commonly known as Construction Management at Risk (CMAR). The CM/GC method allows the client-owner to maintain control over the design yet receive the benefit of the contractors input into the design. CM/GC engages a contractor in a two-step process, bringing the contractor on board for pre-construction services to review, value-engineer, and provide feedback on the design prior to providing anestimate for the construction of the project. CM/GC works well for projects witha highdegree of complexity, staging and maintaining either the rail or bus service while the expansion or retrofit is being implemented.