Managing Design Stage Deliverables in Engineering and Construction Projects

Regardless of the project’s type, the construction of an engineering and construction project requires having drawings, specifications, bill of quantities, contract agreements, building permits, public authorities approval among many other documents developed and approved by the project owner. The level of details and completeness of those documents will have direct impact on the proposals received from contractors, Request for Information (RFI) that might be raised on those documents, Change Orders that could happen on the project which can result in disputes and claims other issues that could result in increasing the project, delays to the target completion date and other negative results that could contribute to project failure.

Adopting Project Management Practices

Similar to any other project, it is very critical to have the complete Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) defined for the design stage. This will include the stages of concept, schematic, design development which can be further broken down to 30%, 60%, 90% and 100% stages, and construction document. Then each stage will be broken down to building systems such as General, Specification, Site, Landscaping, Structural, Exterior Envelope, Building Interior, Elevators, HVAC among others. Then each building system will be further decomposed into the design deliverable packages.

The table below is an example of design phase deliverable packages for Pennsylvania State University (PennState) in the USA. Those deliverable packages are usually part of the contract agreement with the design consultant. The design stage schedule should detail and include the deliverable items that are part of each deliverable package, time needed to prepare and submit those deliverable items, resources needed to complete each deliverable item, sequence for completing those deliverable items and the dependency between those deliverable items, date constraints, allowance for holidays and off-periods and other details to have a complete and integrated design stage schedule. This schedule will be updated on weekly basis to reflect the status of those design deliverable items and their impact on the design stage milestone dates.

How Can PMIS Improve Managing Design Stage Deliverables

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb will usually have a module for capturing all those design stage deliverable packages and items. In PMWeb, this module is called Drawings Sets although this can be changed to Design Stage Deliverables if needed. For each deliverable package, PMWeb will capture all details including Phase, Description, Deliverable Originator, Category, WBS level among others. Of course, there is no limit to the additional attributes that the organization might require adding for each deliverable package.

Each deliverable package could include many deliverable items which could be drawings, specifications, bill of quantity, contract agreement, permits, cost estimates among others. Those will be captured in PMWeb along the Project Schedule Activity ID that represents this deliverable item in the design schedule. The schedule activities will be imported from the design schedule into PMWeb. The percent complete for each deliverable needs to be added to reflect the current progress on each design deliverable item. In addition, for each deliverable item, PMWeb allows capturing all revisions and versions to the deliverable which could have resulted from submitting the deliverable item for approval or due to changes that are either part of the project scope or not. Of course, there is no limit to the additional attributes that the organization might require adding for each deliverable item.

For drawings, specifications, bill of quantities, authorities’ approvals among other documents those will be uploaded to PMWeb document management repository to get attached to the relevant deliverable item. It is a recommended practice to create folders and subfolders in the document management repository to match the project WBS levels. This will ease uploading those deliverables to their appropriate building system category, design phase and deliverable package.

When the deliverable item is ready to be submitted for review and approval, the workflow module will ensure that the deliverable item is automatically routed to the intended recipients in the right sequence as defined in PMWeb workflow. The workflow could include conditions and branches that will be automatically recognized depending on the attributes and details of the design deliverable items. Those branches are usually assigned to reflect responsibilities and authorities levels.

The design phases deliverable packages and items report will provide an overall real-time status of all those deliverables. In addition to the log of deliverable items that details the planned and actual dates, percent complete and status of those items, the report provides graphical analysis of deliverable items by design phase and building system category. Those charts will highlight those deliverable items that had been submitted and approved, submitted but still under review, rejected deliverables and those deliverable items that have not been submitted yet.

PMWeb from the Design Consultant Perspective

PMWeb PMIS will be also used to manage the level of effort needed for completing those deliverable items. The Timesheet module will be used by the design consultant to capture the actual manhours spent by each design team member as well as resources against each deliverable item. Those hours spent could be regular hours, overtime hours or weekend hours.

PMWeb resources repository will be used to define all those resources that could be involved in the design phase along with their cost for regular hours, overtime hours or weekend hours. It is highly recommended that the resources names used in PMWeb are identical to the resources names used in the project schedule software whether this was Oracle Primavera P6, MS Project or any other application.

The design consultant can use the captured data to assess their performance efficiency in completing the project design phase. The project schedule planned resources spending for each deliverable item which is an activity in the project schedule will be used to calculate the values for the Budget At Completion (BAC), Planned Value (PV) and Earned Value (EV) for each deliverable item. PMWeb will also aggregate the actual hours spent against the same deliverable item or activity which were captured in PMWeb timesheet module to calculate the Actual Hours and Actual Cost (AC) for each deliverable item. Those values will provide the input to calculate the earned value metrics for Schedule Variance (SV), Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Performance Index (SPI), Cost Performance Index (CPI), Estimate To Complete (ETC), Estimate At Completion (EAC) and Variance At Completion (VAC).

In addition, the design consultant can use the PMWeb Contract modules to capture the revenue earned from completing those deliverable items. The contract agreement between the Design Consultant and Project Owner which will be added to PMWeb, will detail the value for each deliverable item. The contract agreement will take into account the terms and conditions of the contract which could include provisions for retention, advance payment, advance payment recovery, VAT and other type of taxes that could affect the contract agreement.

On monthly basis, the design consultant will update the percent complete for each deliverable item as per the agreed value with the project owner to determine the amount due for the consultant. The progress invoice will be submitted to the project owner to get the payment for the approved deliverables.

The PMWeb contract module also allows capturing all change orders that could impact the contract value and/or duration. Similar to all other PMWeb modules, the change order module allows attaching all supportive documents as well as have a workflow to formally submit, review and approve the change order.

This contract revenue data can be used by the design consultant to determine the project’s profitability and how the actual performance by the design team could impact the target profit. The report can be designed to display the target profit based on the planned revenue and planned cost, current revenue based on the current estimate at completion and revised contract value and projected at completion which will be based the current estimate at completion and revised contract value plus all pending change orders.

PMWeb from the Project Owner Perspective

Should the Project Owner be the one who have the PMWeb and is interested in reporting the design deliverables performance from financial perspective, then instead of using the timesheet module to capture the actual cost, PMWeb commitment module will be used to capture the agreement detail between the Project Owner and the Design Consultant. Similar to the contract agreement explained above, the commitment will display the value for each deliverable item. It should be noted that the project could have more than one design consultant, a project management consultant and contractors for which the commitment module will be used to capture the performance details of each one of those contracts. All other PMWeb modules used by the Design Consultant will be also used by the Project Owner.

The progress invoice module will be used to capture the monthly performance of the design consultant for which the approved percent complete will be used to calculate the amount due for the consultant. In addition, the change order module will be used to capture all approved and pending change order details. Of course, the project owner will not use the PMWeb contract module as there is no need to capture the revenue. It should be noted that from a Project Owner perspective for lump sum contracts, the Actual Cost will be identical to the Earned Value as they both are based the approved progress percent complete multiplied by the planned contract value which is the budget at completion.

For the lump contracts, the Cost Variance will be mainly based on the change orders value, approved, pending and anticipated. Those change orders can be for additional scope of work (out of scope) or adjustments for the existing scope of work (in scope). Change orders could have both cost and schedule impact in terms of delays that could adjust the project’s planned completion date.

Similar to the other reports, the Project Owner design phase contract performance report will report on the performance for deliverable item including progress percent complete, invoiced amount, approved change orders, pending change orders and actual finish date. The report can also report on actual payment against approved progress invoices among others. The report will also report on the variances between the planned and the actual performance.