The City of Aiken needed a new water treatment plant to continue providing high-quality water to its growing population. To comply with funding requirements and receive competitive bids, the City chose the Design Bid Build procurement method. Woolpert Engineering performed the original design, put the plans and specifications out for bid, and facilitated the bidding process. Harper’s price was the lowest at the bid opening, through still several hundred thousand dollars above the estimated contract value and the City’s budget.

Instead of opting to change the plans and specifications and put the project out for rebid several months later, the Harper Team proposed conducting value engineering exercises with the Owner and Design Team. After confirming this approach complied with funding requirements, the Owner, Design Team and Harper sat down to determine priorities and timelines for value engineering. First, the teams agreed that schedule and budget were the driving factors for the project. Second, the Owner identified several key elements of the project that were not negotiable. This set the parameters for what could and could not be removed from design to achieve the desired price. Finally, the Harper Team worked with suppliers and subcontractors to review pricing based on the revised design, submitting multiple iterations to the Owner before a final scope of work and price was achieved.

Throughout the project, the Owner and Design Team were actively involved in the value engineering process. Similar to a Construction Manager At-Risk or Design-Build project, all stakeholders were involved in design and pricing, leading to a project that was completed to the Owner’s requirements and within budget. In addition, the Harper team completed the project ahead of schedule, allowing the Owner to add additional scopes of work to the project. While not all Design-Bid-Build projects are able to go through value engineering exercises, the Aiken Silver Bluff Water Treatment Plant is an excellent example of how the Harper Team approaches this procurement method.

What People Are Saying

“Woolpert was the Design Engineer for the City of Aiken’s 3MGD Silverbluff WTP. Harper was the successful bidder on the job and was awarded a 3.6 million dollar contract to perform the construction. Since day one, Harper approached the project with a team mentality offering Value Engineering suggestions as well as successfully collaborating with the Engineer, Owner, equipment suppliers, and sub-contractors to keep the shop submittal process and construction operations moving forward. The project was completed, 7 months ahead of schedule.”

John Raiford
Engineer (now with Goodwyn Mills Cawood)
(for Aiken Silver Bluff WTP)