Glossary

Adjusted Low Bid – A form of best-value selection in which qualitative aspects of the selection criteria are scored on a 0 to 100 scale expressed as a decimal; bid price is then divided by qualitative score to yield an “adjusted bid” or “cost per quality point.” Award is made to the design-builder with the lowest “adjusted bid.”

Best Value – Also known as “greatest value,” a selection process in which proposals contain both price and qualitative components, and award is based upon a combination of price and qualitative considerations. “Qualitative” can be further delineated in terms of “technical design” and/or “management plan.”

Bid Proposal – A technical proposal and a separately sealed price proposal.

Change Order – A written document signed by the client and the design-builder authorizing a change in the work or an adjustment in the contract sum or the contract time. A change order may be signed by the architect or engineer, provided they have written authority from the client for such procedure and that a copy of such written authority is furnished to the design-builder upon request. The contract sum and the contract time may be changed only by change order.

Closed Bid – A specific term used where only invited bidders or estimators are given access to the prescribed project information.

Competitive Bidding – A method of procurement by which two or more parties are given the opportunity to submit separate bids to the client in connection with the design and construction of a project.

Competitively Negotiated Contract – A cooperative process that allows the purchaser to take all critical factors into account, including quality, vendor responsiveness, and financial stability, when establishing an agreement for specified performance.

Conceptual Estimate – Relating to design-build, a hypothetical costing figure determined by a design-build professional, based entirely on the construction requirements, and adjusted for local labor rates and possible contingencies, that is: what you should realistically expect to spend .

Conceptual Schedule – Derived in a similar way to a conceptual estimate (see above), it is a determination of the true amount of time that will be required to complete a project, including allowances for contingencies, that is: how long you should realistically expect it to take .

Construction Management (CM) – A project delivery method in which the client retains a construction manager (often the design firm) to provide certain preconstruction expertise including cost estimating, value engineering, and scheduling and, during the construction phase of the project, the coordination of all construction activities. The construction manager serves as an advisor to the client and is paid a professional services fee.

Construction Management at Risk – A project delivery method in which the client establishes a process to integrate the design and construction phases of a project while contracting separately with the designer and contractor. This is an emerging delivery method that has many variations.

Construction Management Contract – A written agreement wherein responsibilities for coordination and accomplishment of overall project planning, design and construction are given to a construction management firm. The building team generally consists of the client, contractor and designer or architect.

Contract Documents – A term used to represent all executed agreements between the client and the design-builder, any general, supplementary or other contract conditions, the drawings and specifications, all bidding documents less bidding information, plus pre-award addenda issued prior to execution of the contract and post-award change orders, and any other items specifically stipulated as being included in the contract documents, which collectively form the contract between the design-builder and the client.

Contract Over-Run – The cost deficit based on the difference between the original contract price and the final completed cost including all adjustments by approved change order.

Contract Period – The elapsed number of working days or calendar days from the specified date of commencing work to the specified date of completion, as specified in the contract.

Contract Under-Run – The cost savings after determining the difference between the original contract price and the final completed cost including all adjustments by approved change order.

Contractor – A properly licensed individual or a company that contracts to perform a defined scope of work on a construction project and agrees to furnish labor, materials, equipment and associated services to perform the work as specified for a specified price.

Deliverables – The sum of the drawings, specifications commentary, models, etc., prepared by the design-builder in response to a Request for Proposal. Deliverables are sometimes referred to as “submittal requirements” in some RFPs.

Design-Bid-Build – The project delivery approach where the client commissions an architect or engineer to prepare drawings and specifications under a design services contract, and separately contracts for at-risk construction, by engaging a contractor through competitive bidding or negotiation.

Design-Build – A method of construction in which a single entity provides the client all of the services necessary to both design and construct a project.

Design-Builder – The entity contractually responsible for delivering the project design and construction. The design-builder can assume several organizational structures. Most common would be a firm possessing both design and construction resources in-house, a joint venture between designer and contractor, a contractor led team with the designer in a subcontract role, or a designer-led team with the constructor in a subcontractor role.

Design Competition – A method of procuring design-build services in which design-build teams submit detailed design proposals to the client, who then selects a team based on the ability of their proposal to meet the requirements of the project. The “winner” of the competition is awarded the contract to complete the design and construct the project.

Design Criteria Professional – An individual (typically a registered professional architect or engineer) who develops the facility program, design criteria, outline performance specification and other project-specific material to provide to potential design-builders. The design criteria professional may be in-house or may be an outside consultant.

Design Proposal – That portion of a design-build proposal which contains design factors, usually including function, layout, materials, aesthetics, and specifications. The design proposal falls under the general category of qualitative evaluation factors.

Effluent – Outflow water; effluent can be the wastewater from a treatment facility, outflow from a sewage system, or a stream/river flowing from a larger body of water.

Equivalent Design/Low Bid – A form of best-value selection in which qualitative proposals are followed by a critique rather than scoring. Price envelopes remain sealed. Each design-builder receives the critique of its proposal and responds with design changes and corresponding price amendment. Revised designs are evaluated for compliance and price envelopes, both base and amendment, are opened. Award is made on basis of lowest price because the proposal critique creates relative equivalency of designs.

Fast-Track or Fast-Tracking – The process of designing portions of a project while portions already designed are under construction. A series of controlled design-build sequences that collectively constitute a complete project.

Fast Track Construction – A method of construction management that involves a continuous design-construction operation when a prime or main contractor starts the construction work before the plans and specifications are complete.

Fixed Fee – A set contract amount for all labor, materials, equipment and services, and design-builder’s overhead and profit for all work being performed for a specific scope of work.

Fixed Price/Best Design – A form of best-value selection in which contract price is established by the client and stated in the RFP. Design proposals and management plan are evaluated and scored, with award going to the firm offering the best qualitative proposal for the established price.

General Contractor (GC) – A properly licensed individual or company having “primary” responsibility for the work. A GC can perform work with its own contractors or can perform the project work as an independent contractor, providing services to clients through the use of subcontractors when using the general contracting system. In the latter case, the GC is referred to as “paper contractor.”

Influent – Inflow water such as a tributary stream/river flowing into a larger body of water or the raw water coming into a water treatment facility.

Infrastructure – In engineering terms, it generally refers to public facilities such as transportation systems; water supply and wastewater systems; and energy production, transmission and distribution systems.

IOU – Investor Owned Utility.

Joint Venture – An agreement, possessing the legal characteristics of a partnership, between two or more parties that join forces to achieve a specific short-term goal such as the design and construction of a project.

Letters of Interest (LOI) – Refers to the process that establishes criteria for evaluating interested design-builders for the short-listing process. Criteria required for letters of interest are stated in the advertisement. In some states, firms desiring to submit bid proposals on design-build projects must submit a letter of interest setting forth the qualifications of the members of the firm and providing any other information required by the project announcement.

Life-Cycle Costing – Technique for appraising basic design decisions based on both capital cost considerations and long-term operational/maintenance costs. Life-cycle costing calculates the expected future operating, maintenance and replacement costs of desired designs and features to help develop a realistic design and budget estimate.

Lump-Sum Bid – A single entry amount to cover all labor, equipment, materials, services, and overhead and profit for completing the construction of a variety of unspecified items of work without the benefit of a cost breakdown.

Lump-Sum Contract – A written contract between the client and design-builder in which the client agrees to pay the design-builder a specified sum of money for completing a scope of work consisting of a variety of unspecified items of work.

Lump-Sum Fee – A fixed dollar amount that includes all costs of services including overhead and profit.

Management Proposal – That portion of a design-build proposal that contains the management plan including project approach, personnel, organization, schedule, affirmative action plan, etc. The management proposal falls under the general category of qualitative evaluation factors.

Multiple-Bid Project – A project that is bid in portions or phases, allowing contractors to bid on specific portions of the work without having to wait until the entire project design is completed. This practice can shorten the duration of a project substantially.

Needs Assessment – Ideally, the first phase in the planning-design-construction process. Needs assessments may include evaluating existing facilities and operations, developing site criteria, and evaluating potential sites.

O&M Contract – Operations and maintenance contract. A contract for the day-to-day management, operation, and maintenance—in whole or in part—for a water or wastewater utility.

Performance Specification – A specification expressed in terms of an expected outcome or acceptable performance standard. Often used in design-build criteria to articulate the client requirements.

Phased Construction – A unitized approach to constructing a facility by designing and constructing separate project elements. Each element is a complete project in itself.

Pre-qualification – A screening process of prospective bidders wherein the client or his/her appointed representative gathers background information from a design-builder for selection purposes. Qualifying considerations include competence, integrity, dependability, responsiveness, bonding rate, bonding capacity, work on hand, similar project experience, and other specific client requirements.

Prescriptive Specification – The traditional method of specifying materials or techniques found in design-bid-build projects. The range of acceptable products, manufacturers, and techniques, etc., is stipulated in detail to be followed by the builder.

Primary Contractor – An individual or entity that has a direct contractual relationship with the client of the project. In design-build, the primary contractor is responsible for providing either by itself or through subcontract arrangements with other individuals or entities, all of the design and construction services required for the project.

Prime Contract – A contract held by a client and also a written contract directly between a prime or main contractor or subcontractor for work on a specific project.

Procurement Method – The procedures employed by a client to retain the services of a design-build team.

Project Budget – The sum established by the client as available for the entire project, including the construction budget, land costs, furnishings, equipment, financing, compensation for professional services, cost of client-furnished goods and services, contingency allowances and other established or estimated costs.

Project Tracker – A computer program used to issue and track changes to a project (whether they affect cost and schedule, or not), requests for information, and submittals.

Proposer – A design-build firm or joint venture submitting a technical proposal for a design-build project.

Public Private Partnership (PPP or P3) – A contractual agreement between a public agency (federal, state or local) and a for-profit corporation, through which the skills and assets of both parties are shared in delivering a service or facility for the use of the general public. In addition to the sharing of resources, each party shares in the risks and rewards potential in the delivery of the service and/or facility.

Purchase Order ( PO ) – A written document from a buyer to a seller to purchase materials.

Qualifications-Based Selection – The method of selecting a design-build firm by a client based on a comparative analysis of each design-build team’s experience, qualifications, and credentials, and not on their fee proposal.

Qualifications Statement – A written submission by interested design-builders, more generic and limited than a proposal, used by a client for prequalification or shortlisting, i.e., selecting the firms that are most qualified.

Qualitative – The subjective and non-cost factors that characterize and qualify a design-builder. Such factors would include both factors that characterize the design-build entity and the proposal submitted. Examples include the experience and management plan of the design-builder and the aesthetic, functional and other aspects of a design that are not directly convertible to cost.

Quality Assurance (QA) – The procedure established by the project team to inject and extract the level of quality designated by the client.

Quality Control (QC) – That part of the quality assurance procedure that determines if specified quality is attained.

Request for Information (RFI) – A written request from a design-builder to the client for clarification or information about the contract documents following contract award.

Request for Proposal (RFP) – The package to be provided to the firms qualified to bid on a project. It may contain, but is not limited to a detailed scope of work, including design concepts, technical requirements and specifications, time allowed for design and construction, estimated cost of the project, deadline for submitting a proposal, selection criteria and a copy of the contracts. The RFP must clearly define all functions and responsibilities required of the firm.

Request for Qualifications (RFQ) – The document issued by the client prior to an RFP that typically describes the project in enough detail to let potential proposers determine if they wish to compete, and forms the basis for requesting qualifications submissions in a “two-phase” or prequalification process.

Responsive Proposal – A proposal that substantially complies with the criteria identified in the short-listing process or a proposal that contains all the information and level of detail requested in the RFP and complies with the design and construction criteria defined in the RFP or design-build package.

Scope-Budget Alignment – A cost containment methodology that places design decisions within the context of the overall project budget and analyzes options for building concepts in the very early phases of project development. The model becomes a decision-making tool that allows clients to define their project scope and to establish priorities on where to focus capital resources.

Scope of Work – Information provided or furnished in the design-build package and RFP that describes the project work and provides the firm with the essential requirements.

Shortlisting – Narrowing the field through the use of a Request for Qualification (RFQ) process. The number of shortlisted design-builders invited to submit final proposals is frequently between three and five firms.

Single Point (Source) of Responsibility – The principal feature of the design-build method of project delivery in which a single entity provides to the client all of the services necessary to both design and construct all or a portion of the project.

Specifications – A detailed, exact statement of particulars, especially statements prescribing materials and methods, and quantitative and qualitative information pertaining to material, products, and equipment to be incorporated into a specific project. The most common arrangement for specifications substantially parallels the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) format.

Stakeholder – A person or entity that has some interest in a project. For example, stakeholders can be community residents, businesses, construction and design contributors, funding sources and/or government agencies.

Standard Bid – The traditional cost associated with the materials and labor to construct the project.

Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) – Refers to the document in which a firm demonstrates their ability to deliver a project and by which clients can evaluate the qualifications of interested firms. Elements of the SOQ and the client’s criteria for evaluating firms are stated in an advertisement or Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Often firms desiring to submit proposals on design-build projects first must submit an SOQ that describes the firm’s qualifications and provides any other information stated in the RFQ or required by the client.

Stipend (or Honorarium) – A stated amount sometimes paid to design-builders in consideration for the cost of preparing a design-build proposal. The stipend or honorarium would be paid to unsuccessful design-builders.

Sub – An abbreviation for subcontractor.

Subcontract – A written form of agreement between the prime or main contractor and another contractor or supplier for the satisfactory performance of services or delivery of material as set forth in the plans and specifications for a specific project.

Subcontractor Bond – A written document from a subcontractor given to the prime or main contractor by the subcontractor guaranteeing performance of his/her contract and payment of all labor, materials, equipment and service bills associated with the subcontract agreement.

Sub-Subcontractor – An individual or contractor who has a written contract with a subcontractor to perform a portion of the work.

Supplier – An individual or firm that supplies and/or fabricates materials or equipment for a specific portion of a construction project but does not perform any labor on the project.

Surety Company or Surety – A properly licensed firm or corporation willing to execute a surety bond, or bonds, payable to the client, securing the performance on a contract either in whole or in part; or securing payment for labor and materials.

Technical Proposal – The design-builder’s response to the Request for Proposal (RFP). This document contains detailed descriptions and methodology of the design-builder’s approach to designing, constructing, and managing the project in accordance with the design-build package. The design-builder’s conceptual design is included as well as a proposed construction sequence and schedule. Technical proposals are expected to be in-depth, and could contain tables, charts, drawings, plots, and sketches.

Time and Materials (T&M) – A written agreement between the client and the design-builder wherein payment is based on the design-builder’s actual cost for labor, equipment, materials, and services, plus a fixed add-on amount to cover the design-builder’s overhead and profit.

Total Bid – The standard bid cost and the time bid cost added together for determining the low bidder.

Traditional Method of Project Delivery – The most common method of construction whereby a client retains a design professional to provide all required design services required for the project, and retains separately the services of a contractor to provide all construction services required for the project.

Turnkey – A variation of design-build project delivery in which one entity is responsible to the client for architecture/engineering and construction plus designated real estate services which may include project financing and site selection/purchase.

Two-Step Proposal and Bid Evaluation – Also referred to as “two envelope,” any selection process in which qualitative proposals are submitted separately from price proposals, with price proposals remaining sealed until qualitative proposals are evaluated.

Two-Phase Selection Process – A procurement process in which the first phase consists of prequalification or shortlisting, and the second phase consists of preparation and submission of complete design-build proposals from the prequalified or shortlisted design-builders. Also known as two-stage procurement.

Vendor – A person or firm that sells materials or equipment not fabricated to a special design.

Water Treatment Plant – A facility for treating potable (drinking) water.

Wastewater Treatment Plant – A facility for treating water that has been used at least once, e.g., industrial wastewater, domestic sewage, etc.

Weighted Criteria Process – A form of best-value selection in which maximum point values are pre-established for qualitative criteria and price components, and award is based upon high total points earned by the proposers from both components.

Work-Scope – A portion of the total project work that is delineated in the contract documents for a specific trade contractor or discipline for bidding and performance purposes.

Work Order (WO) – A written order, signed by the client or his/her representative, of a contractual status requiring performance by the design-builder without negotiation of any sort.

XCM – An abbreviation for “extended services-CM.” A form of construction management (CM) where other services such as design, construction, and contracting are included with additional construction management (ACM) services provided by the construction manager.