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    FAQ - Building Cost Effective Schools

    How does LWSD ensure that construction is done in a cost-effective way?

    LWSD uses the following strategies to leverage resources in planning, design and construction to ensure that we are being effective and efficient with every dollar:

    • Created a Design and Construction Advisory Committee to review projects and provide input.
    • Design simplification without impacting the quality of the learning.
    • Owner, Design Team and Contractor – continuous cost savings review:
      • Value Engineering
      • Constructability review
      • Cross-project sharing and collaboration
    • Multiple reviews by an independent cost estimator
    • Multiple peer reviews by other Project Team professionals on all systems
    • General Contractor/Construction Manager (GC/CM) efficiencies:
      • Contractor as a partner to the district.
      • Bundling projects
      • Navigating market conditions (sub-contractor market and material costs)
      • Early and incremental bidding
      • Rebidding multiple scopes of work to ensure best pricing
    • Pre-fabrication strategies
    • Challenging how system and material standards are delivered with equity between projects

    What is the Design and Construction Advisory Committee and how does it support LWSD in building cost-effective schools?

    The Design and Construction Advisory Committee was formed in 2016 as an outcome of the Long-Term Facility Planning Task Force. This committee of industry experts review each project to ensure alignment with district design standards and its goal of effective and efficient design, construction and operation. Visit the Design and Construction Advisory Committee webpage for more information. 

    Responsibilities:

    • Provide advice on each major school construction (new, rebuild or modernization) project during concept design, schematic design, and design development. 
    • Review designs for alignment with the district design principles outlined by the Long-Term Facilities Planning Task Force. 
    • Provide feedback on schedules, budgets, materials, phasing, site layout, risk mitigation, construction and constructability, value engineering and project delivery methods. 

    Key objectives:

    • Provide objective third-party analysis of the design and construction decision making process by experienced industry leaders
    • Bring team members’ perspective and expertise, providing a critical thinking lens and background to the projects
    • Challenge LWSD to think differently about capital expenditures and project planning
    • Focus on efficient and effective use of public funds
    • Assist in LWSD’s accountability to the efficient and effective intent of the 2016 Bond program
       

    What are some examples of how the work of the Design and Construction Advisory Committee has resulted in cost avoidance guidance for all projects?

    Here are some examples of how the work of the Design and Construction Advisory Committee has resulted in cost avoidance guidance for all projects:

    • Simplify site layout and building forms to reduce cost and increase efficiency
    • Maximize site development to balance grading (cut & fill), and maintain safe access on occupied sites
    • Analyze cost benefits of three-story versus two-story elementary schools to reduce footprint 
    • Minimize site disturbance
    • Reduce building volume, simplify roof forms, and simplify building exteriors
    • Reduce undue complexity in building materials and systems (rhythm and modularity of building components – i.e., windows and material transitions) – minimize custom solutions
    • Seek guidance for complex permitting and reviews by permitting agencies
    • Utilize General Contractor/Construction Manager (GC/CM) or other alternative construction options (e.g. Design-Build) to help with procurement strategy and bid package rollout, as appropriate
    • Conduct market and trend analysis of the construction market
    • Align work and leverage resources – bundle projects with GC/CMs, have project teams work together to maximize the best thinking and extend buying power across multiple projects

    What are some specific examples of cost avoidance strategies for the 2016 bond projects?

    The table below shows each project and the total cost avoidance due to the Design and Construction Advisory Committee’s recommendations. Cost avoidance does not necessarily reflect total savings; rather, cost avoidance reflects the avoidance of additional costs and mitigation of construction price escalation:

    Project

    Examples of cost avoidance measures

    Total Cost Avoidance (Millions)

    Juanita High School Rebuild and Enlarge

    Phasing construction results in the project being completed one year early, thereby eliminating an additional year of construction escalation

    $21.2

    Clara Barton Elementary (New School)

    Using pre-fabricated building components results in lower costs and quicker assembly

    $5.4

    Ella Baker Elementary (New School)

    Guiding project planning and logistics to keep project on schedule while abiding by jurisdictional requirements constraining the time of year when earthwork can occur due to environmental concerns

    Reducing single story elements make for a more efficient structure

    $3.5

    Timberline Middle School (New School)

    Guiding project planning and logistics to keep project on schedule while abiding by jurisdictional requirements constraining the time of year when earthwork can occur due to environmental concerns

    $9.6

    Mead Elementary School Rebuild and Enlarge

    Building three-story building enables a more efficient and effective use of the site

    Simplifying roofs and exterior results in cost avoidance

    $1.7

    Kirk Elementary School Rebuild and Enlarge

    Guiding navigation of challenging environmentally sensitive issues with the jurisdiction to minimize cost and schedule impacts

    Analyzing site layout results in maximizing site efficiency and reducing costs

    $2.3
    Total Cost Avoidance $43.7