Much of the water and wastewater lines in the United States are nearing the end of their useful life. A significant reinvestment is needed in the upcoming decades to replace or rehabilitate the water and wastewater infrastructure. Currently, the traditional method for delivering water and wastewater pipeline engineering and construction projects is design-bid-build (DBB). The traditional DBB delivery system is a sequential low-integration process and can lead to inefficiencies and adverse relationships between stakeholders. Alternative project delivery methods (APDM) such as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) have been introduced to increase stakeholder integration and ultimately enhance project performance. CMAR project performance impacts have been studied in the horizontal and vertical construction industries. However, the performance of CMAR projects in the pipeline engineering and construction industry has not been quantitatively studied.
The dissertation fills this gap in knowledge by performing the first quantitative analysis of CMAR performance on pipeline engineering and construction projects. This study’s two research objectives are:
(1) Develop a CMAR baseline of commonly measured project performance metrics
(2) Statistically compare the cost and schedule performance of CMAR to that of the traditional DBB delivery method
A thorough literature review led to the development of a data collection survey used in conjunction with structured interviews to gather qualitative and quantitative performance data from 66 completed water and wastewater pipeline projects. Performance data analysis was conducted to provide performance benchmarks for CMAR projects and to compare the performance of CMAR and DBB.
This study provides the first CMAR performance benchmark for pipeline engineering and construction projects. The results span across seven metrics in four performance areas (cost, schedule, project change, and communication). Pipeline projects delivered using CMAR have a median cost and schedule growth of -5% and 5.10%, respectively. These results are significantly improved from DBB baseline performance shown in other industries. To verify this, a statistical analysis was done to compare the cost and schedule performance of CMAR to similar DBB pipeline projects. The results show that CMAR pipeline projects are being delivered with 6.5% less cost growth and with 12.5% less schedule growth than similar DBB projects, providing owners with increased certainty when delivering their pipeline projects.