Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Implementing an Improved and Standardized Process for Procurement of Design and Construction Services
Year Submitted 2004
Name of Institution University of Manitoba
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Paul Dugal<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Manager, Purchasing Services
Telephone: 204 474-9907
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Abstract

New methodologies and procedures cannot be implemented successfully without support from ail administrative levels of an institution and those that the process affects. An ad hoc committee involving Purchasing and Physical Plant was struck to look at the existing situation and staff of ail ranks researched different aspects of possible solutions. Research done by both the Purchasing team and the Physical Plant team encompassed visits to other institutions, discussions with other public sector bodies (City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Government Services), discussions with design communities (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Canadian Consulting Engineers) and involvement of the construction association groups (Winnipeg Construction Association, Mechanical Contractors Association, etc). All research led to a well thought out, extremely efficient and effective process that when presented to the University's Board of Governors was accepted and enthusiastically supported. Through the new process of evaluation and pre-qualification, the University has experienced an increase in the numbers of consultants and contractors working at the University. We are now able to easily involve academic staff for consultant evaluation, which provides the staff with a greater appreciation as to the commitment involved in completing construction projects. In achieving support from the local community as well, the University expects to continuously improve upon our processes and we see a bright future for construction on campus.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.
Transferability

As a publicly funded institution the University of Manitoba has strived to ensure that its construction tendering process is fair to all from conception to completion. By adopting a pre-qualification process and by publicly advertising its construction projects, we have fulfilled our obligations as a publicly funded institution while preserving our standards of high quality materials and workmanship. These processes have been mapped out in flow chart format as well as in written document form, and ail contractor pre-qualification documents are available on the University of Manitoba's website. By adapting industry standard bidding and contract documents, while customizing to address concerns for both design and construction, we have ensured that our consultants and contractors are comfortable with the form of contract and have experienced a lower level of negotiation after the award of contracts. Other institutions can easily use our documents as a model and modify them to suit their own needs. As the construction projects start with procuring a design professional, we initiate a standard Request for Proposal ("RFP") and evaluation process, which could be adapted for use by any public sector entity. Our format explains the evaluation criteria and is simple enough to ensure compliance and understanding. The evaluation criteria also allows for fair and transparent decisions based on the "best value" for the University as it takes into consideration qualifications, experience and other qualitative considerations prior to considering fees. Typically ail RFP documentation is posted on our website for easy access for ail consultants. The form of construction documentation has also been standardized. We use CCDC documents that are well known nationally, with minor amendments to customize the general conditions to a University environment. AU construction based proposed change notices and contract change orders have been developed to recognize any signing authority required as part of the approval process within any large public institution. Our documents have also allowed out of province design professionals and contractors to bid on University of Manitoba work and to be treated fairly and on an equal standing with local firms.

Quality Impact

The development of the pre-qualification process for both consultants and contractors has ensured only those individuals capable of providing higher quality work are considered. Using the two-stage design consultant selection process (i.e. prequalification to short list then short-listed firms submit to RFP), the University of Manitoba has ensured that the most qualified consultant team is awarded the contract. The selection is based on qualifications, experience and submission content foremost. Fees are only considered after the quality evaluation. This two-stage process has been a recognized success and has been accepted by the local design community In the construction phase, the option of a secondary prequalification process for contractors is usually implemented for our more complex/expensive projects. Again, this enables us to contract with only those companies that have proven experience with similar projects and are able to handle large or complex projects. Both consultants and contractors realize that with the pre-qualification process in place, fair competition is the ultimate result. Due to this fair competition, we believe that the University is receiving better pricing for ail our projects in both design and construction. Since the University has implemented these processes, the tender process is more efficient and more time can be spent on other activities. As mentioned earlier, the relationship between Purchasing and Physical Plant has developed into a highly cooperative one, with both units working towards common goals. Better communication has resulted in fewer bottlenecks in the process as each have a clear understanding of each unit's role. Contractors and design consultants understand the process and positive feedback has been received to confirm their approval. And although many more contractors are now bidding on projects, there has not been any increase in legal issues experienced and at the same time, the University's quality standards have been maintained. With the continued improvement of the post construction evaluation, the University hopes to achieve even further improvements in quality. When consultants and contractors are aware of the performance evaluation they are highly sensitive to resolving issues quickly and effectively. If no performance evaluation takes place, a more complacent attitude appear to permeate the process and minor conflicts can drag on for long time periods.

Productivity Impact

With the development of standard procedures and documents, more time and energy of Purchasing and Physical Plant staff is now focused on those activities that add value to the University. From the design side of procurement, the RFP evaluation is less confusing for the evaluation committees and awards can be made quicker, with results of firm's ranking/scoring being published. From the construction side, since only pre-qualified contractors are used, no other criteria other than price and time to complete need be considered at time of tender, again allowing for a quick award. Once a project is under construction, standard procedures and documents allow the project coordinators to track the projects under their supervision much more easily. Five (5) years ago there were two (2) project coordinators handling about 10-15 projects each. Now five (5) project coordinators handle approximately 35-45 projects each and the dollars managed today are significantly higher than they were five years ago. Working hand in hand with Purchasing, where a team of three (3) is dedicated to design/construction procurement, all construction projects are being handled more efficiently than ever before. Purchasing now manages 14 design consultants and 69 contractors as compared to four to five consultants and eight to ten contractors that were managed previously, ail with the same resources that existed previously and working on projects ranging from $10,000 to $40 million. In effect, the standardization of various aspects of construction has enabled the University to manage the greater influx of construction activity, which is being experienced now and will continue over the next five to ten years.

Innovation

While individually the initiatives that we have taken might not be entirely unique, the combination customizes the entire process and is considered by some to be leading edge in this field. In order to accomplish our goals, we've researched other university's procedures to avoid potential pit falls and to improve on the benefits. A rather unique aspect of the entire process is the constant communication with the University's Physical Plant staff and Purchasing staff. With the addition of a Professional Engineer heading up the construction commodity purchasing team, a registered Architect and Professional Engineer managing Physical Plant design staff and project coordinators having worked in the private construction industry, each team member brings their own experience, industry affiliations and contractual knowledge to the team. This relationship is essential to the process and is considered unique among institutions. Another unique aspect of the two-stage process is that it has been successfully translated into other areas of the procurement process at U of M. With the idea of evaluating the qualifications and experience prior to considering price, our tenders for scientific lab equipment, office supplies and photocopiers have become more open and transparent and awarding of contracts becomes easily justifiable.