County Executive Leopold Reduces Change Orders by $11 million and Improves Efficiency
Enhanced Review Process Means Better Projects
Annapolis, MD (September 16, 2010) - County Executive John R. Leopold today announced that a new system of planning, designing and executing construction projects is improving efficiency and quality, resulting in a reduction of more than $11 million in change orders over the last year.
"Taxpayers demand that government gets the job done right, with strict oversight and quality workmanship," County Executive Leopold said. "Our new system improves the design phase of projects to keep costs down and ultimately build a better product."
The Leopold Administration took several steps to improve the design process. First, the Purchasing Manual was revised to include Qualifications Based Selection for design consultants, creating an efficient negotiation process between design consultants and the Department of Public Works. Next, two Project Control Specialists were hired with County Council approval. Their job is to critically scrutinize change order requests, assist in the negotiation process with design consultants and contractors and further develop project controls to improve the overall project delivery process.
Performance metrics show that change order activity, as a percentage of open and active purchase orders, has declined from 11.94 percent in May 2009 to 10.11 percent in August 2010. Applying that decrease of 1.83 percent to an average of $615 million in capital projects works out to a difference of roughly $11 million.
One example of how the new process works is the landmark enhancement of the Cox Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The original inspection contract proposal was $3.8 million. Under the old system, a design consultant would have been selected through a sealed technical and price proposal process based on a very general scope. The new Qualifications Based system allowed the County to select the most qualified consultant and negotiate a contract price of $2.5 million with a very detailed scope agreed upon by both parties.