Unitech’s Project success formula begins with ensuring all project team members understand and adhere to our Client’s goals and priorities for the project. The first piece of Unitech’s Construction Management Proven Process is to assist with the early definition of the project purpose, goals, and priorities. To guide this process, we work with the Project Team to develop a Project Charter that defines these factors as well as project constraints, high level risks and team members’ scope of service, responsibilities and accountabilities for the project. The completion and adoption of this Project Charter by all project team members and the constant review and refinement of its contents, will ensure the goals of all project team members will stay aligned from project inception to completion. In order for the collaborative team approach to be successful, it is imperative that an effective communication and monitoring structure is implemented from the outset. One that clearly defines accountability of the Client’s team, the Design team, and the Construction team. Each team leader will collaborate in creating this structure to ensure open and streamlined communication during all project phases, and accountabilities will be defined to ensure that everyone involved understands their role in the successful delivery of the project.
As Construction Managers and our Client’s agent for delivery of their project, our construction philosophy is risk mitigation rather than risk transfer. Through our risk mitigation process, prior to commencement of the project, each member of the project team discusses their individual concerns and identifies the risks from their perspective. The team then assigns values to these risks, sets aside a portion of the budget to address those risks, and develops value based risk mitigation strategies. Risk goes hand in hand with opportunity; our experience has shown that implementing risk mitigation strategies, developed in this manner, significantly reduces the possibility of unanticipated risks, reduces the impact of identified risks, and increases the project team’s ability to take advantage of opportunities. To document this process Unitech uses a Risk Register that defines:
- Risks identified
- The probability and impact of identified risks
- The budget allocation for mitigation of each risk item based on the probability and impact
- Risk mitigation strategies to eliminate or reduce the probability and impact of risks
- The person responsible for implementing the identified strategies
- Timeframe for implementing the identified strategies
We believe proactive risk mitigation combined with excellent forecasting and contingency management will ensure the completed project will represent the best value for our clients, user groups, and the neighbourhood.
Planning & Development
Throughout pre-construction of every project we draw on our experience to advise the team on appropriate contingency budgets and overall project schedule, and update the team on both at each design interval. This ensures that the design team is tailoring the scope and complexity of the project appropriately, that time and effort is not wasted in redesign, and that stakeholder expectations remain in line with project constraints. Our input on constructability and pre-tender detailing, to optimize the design while reflecting the team’s risk mitigation strategies, has assisted our Project Teams in the development of innovative solutions that significantly reduce risk, construction cost and schedule. At Unitech, fixed budgets are ‘business as usual’ and we have become experts at forecasting prudent contingency allowances at all stages of the project. The combination of total clarity in reporting and active scheduling throughout the construction process allows us to add ‘wish list’ items at the appropriate time. This ensures completion of the maximum facility possible within a fixed budget, or minimizes the cost of a project with fixed scope and quality requirements, whichever is the priority of our Client.
A key component to Unitech’s model is the development of “front-end” tender documents and scope of work packages that summarize the work of each trade and reflect the risk mitigation strategies and design & detail optimization refined during the planning and development stage. This ensures that trades bidding on the project have a clear understanding of what is required, that there is no overlap of work between trades, and that competitive bids do not include unnecessary costs or high margins to cover unquantifiable risk. Our tender packages include our preliminary construction schedule which details the timing and manpower requirements of each trade necessary to successfully complete the project on time, which eliminates additional risk to our client.
Approximately 95% of our $950+ million in project experience has been tendered in accordance with the B.C. Ministry of Finance Capital Asset Management Framework Guidelines, recommended for use on Publicly-Funded Construction Projects. In addition, we are fully familiar with the MASH sector requirements of the AIT and TILMA legislation. Our systems, procedures, and records are forthright and transparent. A B.C. Ministry of Education audit process found our tender procedures and contract management processes to be clear, complete and in full conformance with the B.C. Ministry of Finance Capital Asset Management Framework Guidelines and Public Tender Guidelines.
All of our public tenders are posted on BC Bid (http://www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/open.dll/welcome), the standard bid website for most BC Public Institutional projects. All projects posted onto BC Bid’s website get distributed to other electronic tender websites, including Bid Central. Public tenders provide our Clients a broader range of trades bidding on their projects, which results in increased competition, creating savings for our Clients. We offer our clients the choice of closing tenders in our own Unitech offices, utilizing our proven and audited public tender closing procedures. If requested, we can also close tenders in our Client’s own offices, or do so through external electronic bid closing options.
The majority of our Construction Management Services are the responsibility of our office based staff, the costs of which are included in our construction management fee. This enables our Site Superintendent to focus on day-to-day construction coordination, scheduling, quality control and site safety, ensuring delivery of a high quality and high value project in the shortest possible time frame.
Quality is an all day, every day responsibility of our site superintendents. They understand that they are essentially an employee of our Client and the ‘eyes and ears’ for the entire project team, performing the functions of a Clerk of the Works in addition to the standard Site Superintendent’s responsibilities.
While our Client and the Consultants retain final authority for acceptance of the work, our Superintendent will continuously review the work of each trade, issue written Quality Control reports as necessary, and ensure the appropriate parties are immediately informed of all quality control concerns. Unitech is not a General Contractor and does not charge a percentage markup on any tendered work or Trade Contract Change Orders. For work that is not easily tendered or if it contains too many unknowns to tender in a cost-effective manner, upon our Client’ s approval, Unitech will engage tradesmen and perform the work directly on a cost recovery basis where only direct labour, benefits, and overhead costs are charged. This eliminates costly risks to the project and to our Client.
Unlike most General Contractors, Unitech ensures our Site Superintendent is the last to leave the construction site at the completion of the project. As the most knowledgeable member of the team, as it relates to the “hands on” construction of the project, he or she is the best prepared to assist our Client with the facilitation of commissioning, occupancy and start-up, as well as ongoing post completion support. Unitech is passionate about continuous development and to this end we welcome ‘lessons learned’ discussions throughout construction and upon completion of the project. This allows us to listen, respond, learn and adapt so we can offer improved services on our next project.
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