Bond Project Updates
Main Street & City Park
March 6, 2020
By Project Manager Kenny Crawford
We’ve all been there – passing that construction project that seems to be idle. Why does the construction schedule keep changing? This is a valid question and concern. First of all, we want to thank you for your continued patience as we finish up our bond-related projects.
During the design review, bid process, and execution of a construction project, a request to clarify a detail in the plans and specifications, unforeseen conflict, or to the scope will generate RFIs (Requests For Information). Sometimes, these RFIs generate triple constraints to project execution: a change to the scope of work, change to resourcing requirements (time, cost, labor), and a change to the project schedule - one is not affected without the other two being equally changed in some way – these are compiled into a single document called Change Orders.
One such example of a change order is unforeseen conflicts. These can be unmapped subsurface utilities or unknown subsurface conditions that may cause significant delays to a project schedule because there are no field solutions or “workarounds” suitable or acceptable as long-term solutions. Often, the discovery of subsurface infrastructure and unsuitable conditions generate requirements to further “explore” to determine the extent of the conditions to develop engineering redesign solutions that meet construction code and long-term suitability. This takes time. Sometimes, these discoveries are the ownership of other entities (i.e. communications, energy, abandoned infrastructure) whose schedule and resources are outside the influence of the City. These entities must be notified, they must schedule surveys and possibly generate alternative design solutions, schedule work, and execute the work to adjust to the overarching needs for improvements, growth, and development in City infrastructure projects. These are exactly some of the issues that have come into play with the Main Street Improvement Project between Cabelas and Railroad and the City Park Improvement Project. While unfortunate, it is these external influencers that may delay projects and significantly impact scope, schedule, and cost. It is also the discovery learning that subsequently drives change to move forward and continue progress.
Main Street Improvement Project Between Cabelas and Railroad
The Main Street Improvements Project, started on July 29, 2019 recently had a 60-day delay directly due to unforeseen conflicts with two external influencing entities. The result of the project is a 20-year life cycle grand-entryway into the heart of Buda. To provide perspective, the delay is 0.7% of the total lifecycle of the road. Doing this project right the first time is a necessary inconvenience in the overall scope. Cox Commercial Construction worked diligently along the entire length of the project area until they couldn’t work around multiple unforeseen conflicts any further and work stopped. Although a delay is unpleasant for everyone, there are a few good things that stemmed from this delay that will, likely, benefit the City and result in greater overarching efficiencies in project costs and long-term goals.
While not adding to the delay of the project any further, we are conducting a redesign of the new 24” effluent force main that will enable future connection to the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant when complete in August 2021. Cox Commercial Construction continued working on Main Street the week following the rerouting of the external influencer’s utilities and are going full steam ahead in preparing and building the south side of the road.
We learn from our experiences. The conflicts on the south side of Main Street helped us identify potential conflicts and design solutions that will mitigate future triple constraints in the second phase (north side) of Main Street. The City is working closely with the design engineer firm, RPS Klotz, and will self-perform subsurface utility and infrastructure assessment and inventory over the next thirty days at a significant cost savings to our taxpayers. While “hope is not a method,” this proactive approach will enable us to validate, design and adjust prior to construction beginning on the north side of Main Street. The new baseline completion for this project is expected to be the end of September 2020.
Meanwhile, Main Street in Downtown Buda is open. The project is moving along and there are some remaining elements that will be finished in the coming weeks.
City Park Improvement Project
The City Park project began on April 29, 2019 with a massive earth moving effort by our City Public Works team, The Design Workshop and The Barr Company, AIA. As project efforts resumed through the summer, fall, and winter of 2019, over 100 RFIs resulted in 20 different change orders. The City requested 35% of the change orders for the betterment of the project and added value, the remaining 65% were due to design and field conditions. The City Council and City Manager approved and leveraged the use of the project contingency budget for approximately $210,000 to address the requirements and added 55 days to the duration of the project to execute the requisite changes to the project. The result of the project is a city park that will transcend generations right in the heart of Buda. Doing this project right the first time is a necessary inconvenience in the overall scope. The new baseline completion for the City Park is expected to be the end of June 2020.
In January, the Buda Lions Club made the decision to hold its annual Wiener Dog Races at Buck’s Backyard this year. We look forward to supporting them and expect another great event.
Thank you again for your patience and feedback during the construction process.