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The guidelines include best practices and experience gained from previous projects. The guidelines are published on the Internet http: This reduces procurement times and oversight requirements by government project officers. Utilization of an innovative developer manager approach for major capital projects. Under this approach, the developer manager holds all the contracts for the project, thereby outsourcing the traditional responsibilities of design, construction, and contract administration. Development of standard laboratory designs that have been preengineered and priced out to expedite the design-build process; this has reduced the level of design review that is required on individual projects.

Reengineered processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness and to keep pace with customer demands. Benchmarking with best in class of other facilities organizations has resulted in identification of ways to streamline processes and improve quality with a reduced work force. However, DES is retaining in-house the responsibility for review of programmatic and technical issues.

Basic to the process reengineering currently underway is a desire to make the design review process more proactive than reactive. The questionnaire response also notes that changes to date have resulted in shorter project delivery times, lower costs, and fewer claims. Overall, the questionnaire response indicates a well-organized program, indicative of the fact that the DES has implemented a quality management system for its facility engineering process and is pursuing ISO certification.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command NAVFAC provides facilities engineering services including planning, project development, design, and construction to all of the Navy and Marine Corps, to specific other Department of Defense DoD services and agencies as directed, and to federal agencies and others on a case-by-case basis when it makes good business sense.

The work is accomplished through four engineering field divisions located in Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; San Diego, California; and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and their subordinate local offices throughout the United States and many overseas locations. Each of the four engineering field divisions has a particular area of responsibility for a specific geographic area of the world. Each provides a full range of construction services including project management, contracting functions, and construction management.

About 10—15 percent of the designs are accomplished with in-house staff. Following the federal, DoD, and Navy budgets, NAVFAC has been steadily downsizing over the past five years to match workload declines and to take advantage of efficiencies that have been recently developed:.

PC-based productivity tools focused on one-time data entry and paperless acquisition;. This process is resource intensive, tends to increase the design cycle time, and actually encourages customer-generated changes. In addition to the Washington, D. NAVFAC questionnaire responses support the contention that the organization is in a state of transition.

All seven respondents indicated that the design review process has changed significantly since , driven primarily by reengineering of business practices mandated by staff downsizing initiatives. Respondents were split as to whether or not project quality, cost, and schedule have remained constant or deteriorated; none thought they had improved. Follow-up conversations with both headquarters and field staff indicate that field activities are indeed becoming more diverse in management styles and philosophies because. NAVFAC headquarters has pushed a significant amount of responsibility and authority to field offices, thus allowing them a greater degree of local autonomy;.

NAVFAC headquarters has encouraged field offices to innovate and accept a greater degree of risk with regard to management practices; and. NAVFAC, particularly since , has been aggressively exploring new ways of doing business in all of its areas of responsibility, with four innovative results:. If the program is in compliance, it is presumed that the design itself is compliant. NAVFAC has provided extensive technical, management, and leadership training for its military and civil service facilities engineering professionals for over 50 years at its naval school, Civil Engineer Corps Offices, located at Port Hueneme, California.

This well-regarded institution conducts wide-ranging classes and seminars in facilities engineering and also develops management solutions and process improvements.

Customer reviews

Evaluations can be entered into the database by any federal agency. Most NAVFAC offices now use variations of design-build and other performance-based contracting models as the preferred mode of project acquisition. This shift away from the traditional design-bid-build model has occurred since , in part because performance-based contracting methods generally require a reduced level of participation on the part of the owner in the design review process.

Department of State DOS office responsible for design, construction, and management of diplomatic facilities worldwide. The FBO operates as a centralized office and has no other field operating offices other than a facility management officer located in most major diplomatic posts. This reflected a reduction of positions from the FY staffing level.

For FY , staffing authorization has increased significantly due to the security supplemental funding and corresponding workload. FBO requested temporary staffing assistance from other agencies and currently has some Voice of America detailees architects and engineers working under a salary reimbursement arrangement to augment existing staff until new positions are filled. To expedite the execution of projects in the security supplemental appropriations, FBO is pursuing several contract mechanisms that differ from the design-bid-build process that is traditionally used.

There will be several design-build projects for new embassy buildings in which the contractor will be selected by the two-phase selection process legislated in The typical project design review is done by in-house staff. Typical design submittals of schematic 35, 60, and percent milestones are reviewed over a period of 21 days each. It is expected that this will result in time savings as well as better understanding of the basis of design due to the face-to-face interactions of the parties involved.

Questionnaire responses from the Department of State FBO differ from those of all other federal agencies in two respects:. Design review process reengineering is not being driven by downsizing, but primarily by a motivation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. FBO is able to accomplish the design review process without significant use of outsourced resources. Generally, the only review functions outsourced are those relating to value engineering and shop drawings.

FBO questionnaire responses indicate a high degree of use of technology tools such as CAD software, Intranet and Internet applications, and computer-based data management systems. Looking to the future, DOS anticipates a sharply increasing workload as a result of a requirement to enhance embassy security features worldwide. Such activity will likely exceed FBO in-house design review capability and require increased reliance on outsourced engineering support services. FBO's approach will be to focus in-house resources on the customer requirements review and outsource more elements of the technical review than previously.

As a result of specific legislation dating back to the s, DOS is able to contract for engineering support services with a great degree of flexibility. Department of Veterans Affairs VA owns, leases, and operates a capital plant that includes more than 22, acres of land, 4, buildings, and over million square feet of owned and leased space at 1, locations across the country. The VA's health care is rapidly changing from an in-patient, hospital-based system to integrated networks with a focus on primary and ambulatory care. These changes are having a profound effect on the VA's building environment.

The era of large bed facilities has passed and has been replaced with a new focus on smaller major. Many VA-constructed medical facilities are world class in terms of application of high technology and seismic design. VA facilities are not only designed to withstand earthquakes, but to remain in operation. The VA's use of seismic base isolation technology at the Long Beach, California, medical center is particularly noteworthy.

In addition, OFM's design-build program has been highly successful in bringing projects to completion significantly faster than use of traditional methods without sacrificing quality or increasing cost. Since FY , as a result of realignments, use of early-outs and buyouts, and reductions in force, OFM headquarters staff has been reduced nearly 65 percent from employees to a current on-board strength of Reductions have been particularly acute among staff in the engineering and architect specialties.

Although the VA's major construction budget has declined during this time in total dollars, the number of projects requiring management and oversight has remained relatively constant. OFM's construction management element has responded to requirements for downsizing in four ways:. Indefinite quantity contracts are used to procure these services. This allows OFM to write individual delivery orders for a variety of tasks in different locations. OFM is in the process of delegating greater project management and contracting authority to its resident engineers in the field.

The number of these on-site engineers has not been significantly reduced during the approximately five years of this transition. OFM has greatly expanded its use of alternative project delivery methods, including design-build, use of construction management firms, and purchase and hire techniques. The purchase and hire methodology is a procedure to accomplish construction, maintenance, and repair projects where a construction contract is impractical or in conflict with patient care activities.

OFM has vigorously worked to reengineer all processes to improve timeliness, quality, and cost effectiveness. In addition, OFM has systematically evaluated selected risks in the design and construction process and eliminated steps that are unnecessary, redundant, or add minimum value to the final product. The VA's questionnaire response indicates that the design review process changed dramatically between and , driven primarily by downsizing, related business practice reengineering, motivation to reduce the cost and time of design reviews, and much greater reliance on design-build as a project delivery method.

Remarkably given the scope of staff reductions absorbed and process reengineering completed , OFM clients have not reported any loss in quality. There is a sense that the design review process itself is more expensive as a consequence of greater reliance on outsourced resources. However, total design and construction costs have not shown any increase. During this same timeframe, OFM was able to reduce project delivery times. The questionnaire relates the ability to absorb the downsizing with minimal project impact to two primary drivers:. Questionnaire responses indicate that collection and documentation of design review comments is a relatively.

To illustrate, at the San Diego facility, the work to be done required extensive phasing and the areas remained under direct medical control. The medical center contracted for personnel and material directly and directed the accomplishment of work to meet the medical center 's needs through a VA senior resident engineer. No contract was issued to hire a general contractor. Data relative to design performance i. In the area of noteworthy initiatives, the VA uses a system to document lessons learned from the entire facility acquisition process including the design phase.

The TIL is updated on a monthly basis and it ensures the quality and operational efficiencies of the original design produced by the Architect of Record. The TIL includes only the latest and proven information applicable to the VA in fulfilling its mission. The following discussion compares and contrasts the responses contained in the 44 questionnaries that were returned by the nine federal agencies participating in the study.

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How are agency facility engineering functions organized to carry out their missions? There is no single organizational model for federal agency facilities engineering organizations. The DOE's facilities are government owned but contractor operated. Some agencies, like the VA, have moved to field-based design review and a mix of field-based and headquarters-based project management. Others, like NASA, have a centralized program policy and oversight office, with all program and project management functions conducted at the field activity level. The majority of the responding agencies maintain multiple regional project execution offices.

What has been the extent of downsizing on agency facility engineering organizations? Seven of the nine responding agencies' facility engineering organizations experienced significant downsizing between and , on the order of 20 to 50 percent reduction of in-house staff positions the VA's reduction has been estimated at 65 percent. How are agency facilities engineering organizations responding to mitigate the impacts of downsizing? During the early stages of downsizing, the responding agencies simply tried to do more with less. However, this adaptation became untenable at a certain point.

Agencies then began to reengineer their facility engineering processes and practices. Intensity of this reengineering varies among the responding agencies, reflecting the fact that the speed and extent of downsizing has varied greatly from one agency to another. Impact-reducing strategies reported by various agencies include the following:.

Augmenting in-house staffing voids through personal service contracts. Personal service contracts allow agencies to add contractor staff to in-house staff on a temporary basis to fill voids in specific disciplines, or to address unusual peaks in workload. Procurement policies vary among agencies with regard to allowing use of personal service contracts. Outsourcing functions previously accomplished in-house. Nearly all facility acquisition functions except agency policy development and oversight have been considered for outsourcing by one agency or another.

Eliminating some activities entirely. Similarly, a GSA region reported that they generally only require a single formal progress review during design. Using project delivery contracting schemes that shift more responsibility for design and construction oversight to the contractor, such as design-build, construction management, and program management. Indeed, NAVFAC reports that design-build is now the favored contracting strategy and the traditional design-bid-build strategy has become the least favored.

Why and how do federal agencies approach the practice of design review? Risk management, compliance with user expectations, and reduction of change orders were cited as the primary reasons for conducting design reviews. The least cited reason was to maintain in-house core competencies.

All nine responding agencies reported participation in a design review process. Significant differences were noted, however, as follows:. Also, the degree to which agencies and their field activities varied the intensity of the design review process between simple and complex projects varied greatly from one agency to another. Design review functions identified as having the greatest value-added were scope and budget compliance, constructability, and compliance with client design guides. Functions identified as adding the least value were the discipline reviews—architectural, electrical, mechanical, and structural although the responses did not support the idea that these functions could be dropped from the review process without risk.

Nearly all responding agencies reported conducting formal design reviews at the 30 and 90 percent project design milestones. The primary criteria used to determine the intensity of design review are project value, complexity, and the project delivery method.

Conversely, these criteria had little impact on the decision to review with in-house or outsourced resources. That decision rested primarily on in-house staff availability. When elements of design review are outsourced, all responding agencies still use in-house staff to review project scope and budget compliance. The most consistently outsourced elements included constructability, value engineering, and compliance with building codes. Nearly all responding agencies exploit technology tools to support their design review activities including CAD software, Internet and Intranet communication links, and computer software word processing and project management programs.

Less than half of the agencies measure performance of their design review processes. How have federal agencies changed their approaches to design review? Eight of the nine responding agencies reported that they have changed their approach to design reviews since The primary reasons cited for change are staff downsizing, changes in contract methods, and business process reengineering.

The most frequently reported changes included:. Several questions related to outsourcing of design review functions. Opinions and experience on this issue were varied, and no conclusions could be reached from the data provided. The following are typical comments:. This in turn results in a lack of ability to be a Smart Buyer. At some point, we wouldn't even have enough expertise to hire a contractor to conduct design reviews. And it is very difficult to have technically competent contractors in specialty areas. Looking to the future, about one-third of the responding agencies reported that they are considering further outsourcing of design review functions.

During the course of interviews and an extensive literature search, a number of innovative practices were noted that may have broader implications. These practices are discussed below, with points of contact for further information:. Partnering and teambuilding training. Although this practice is achieving widespread recognition, some programs have proven more effective than others.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the CII have both been recognized for their particular programs, and both offer formal training. Agencies have developed in-house training programs specializing in program and project management practices for federal agencies.


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Among the oldest are schools run by the U. More recently, NASA has developed two 1-week short courses of facility engineering management practices.

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It runs on a desktop computer and uses the Internet for communication among design review participants. Perhaps most important, it has features to aid follow-up of actions taken in response to review comments, which is a particularly troublesome area. Project Management Center of Expertise. The center has been staffed by GSA's most senior and competent project managers to serve two functions:. Actively manage all of GSA's uniquely large, complex, or high-visibility projects, regardless of location. Provide mentoring, counseling, and training services in the area of project management in support of all of GSA's regional offices.

It should be noted that ISO does not guarantee a quality product. Rather, it guarantees that the process that produces the product good or bad has been carefully structured, documented, and measured. Organizations have found that the process of securing ISO registration has been a valuable experience in understanding just what they do and how they go about it.


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  8. Calvin Williams, NIH; phone: Conceptual or advance planning. Most projects that fail to meet their planned objectives do so because of faulty or inadequate predesign development. The CII has recently developed a comprehensive preproject planning approach that allows organizations to measure whether they have adequately addressed all predesign requirements. CII also has developed a training module intended to assist organizations in adopting their recommended approach to preproject planning.

    Design review lessons learned. Problems identified in the design review process can become a powerful tool to improve performance. Its purpose is to identify recurring problems that result in change orders, claims, and delays and then to take positive steps to avoid such problems in the future. The system is the first of its kind in the federal government and was a winner of the Vice President's Hammer Award. NIH contractor performance system.

    The NIH has developed a multiple agency, shared file system that allows all authorized users to have access to the completed contractor performance evaluations of all subscribing agencies via the Internet. A separate module for each subscribing agency is developed with a unique URL, allowing each agency control of agency data and access authority. Phyllis Donoghue, NIH; phone: The federal government, like private corporations and other organizations, acquires buildings and other facilities to support specific functions and missions and the general conduct of its business.

    Adding Value to the Facility Acquisition Process identifies a range of best practices and technologies that can be used by federal agencies and other owners to provide adequate management and oversight of design reviews throughout the facility acquisition process. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

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