Design best practice tool - future use on major projects

7 Nov 22

A major US rail project will use the Quality in Construction Design Best Practice tool to reduce risk, lower costs and foster a right-first-time delivery, Anita McReynolds-Lidbury told delegates at a recent GIRI webinar.

Anita is director of quality at the Austin Transit Partnership, a new organisation formed in December 2020 to deliver a US$7 billion rail infrastructure project in Austin, Texas. Project Connect includes the development of new light rail, bus lines, commuter rail, and park and ride facilities, and is a collaboration between the City of Austin, Capital Metro Transportation Authority, and the Austin Transit Partnership.

Once the scope of the project has been finalised, the design tool will be used in the planning phase, said Anita. “Scenario planning, value engineering, and risk assessments on the project are projected to be completed by March 2023. ATP plans to secure grant funding through the Federal Transportation Authority in April 2023. At that time, the scope and delivery method will be redefined for implementation of the best practice tool.”

It will be used as part of a holistic approach to project quality and Anita predicts it will have major benefits. “This tool looks at all the aspects of the design and makes you ask yourself whether you are ready to move forward and if you have done your due diligence. It looks at the risk associated with costs and rework if steps are left out. It also prompts you to take account of stakeholders. For this project, we have significant stakeholders. Gaining buy-in before you start construction is much easier than trying to do it after the fact.”

In the US, the Quality in Construction Design Best Practice tool has been endorsed by the American Society for Quality and is available to download from the ASQ website. Anita has been involved in the further refinement of the tool following its initial development at Heathrow and believes it is particularly relevant for new quality managers and those taking on new projects.

“We have gathered all this global experience on how to best ensure quality during the design stages of a project,” said Anita. “The design stages affect all the construction phases, so this tool can reduce project risk and ensure a higher quality delivery.”

Download the Quality in Construction Design Best Practice Tool

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