The True Cost of Change Orders on Sewer Bypass Projects
Two dreaded words in a sewer bypass project: change order. A change order is a modification to an original construction contract. This involves revised pricing, an updated scope of work, and changes to the contract because of the new statement of work.
Why do change orders occur? The main reason is from a lack of communication. A well-designed project will have minimal change orders because thorough information was received at the onset of the plan.
When designing a sewer bypass project, the following components are crucial for a seamless execution:
Defining flow — can the bypass system be shut down during inclement weather or periods of heavy flow? If not, it is a safe bet to determine flow rate based on the full pipe flow of the gravity sewer to be bypassed. This reduces the risk of under designed bypass systems, and keeps the bypass costs inline.
Identify route — if a good route isn’t defined, you may run into obstacles with heavily-trafficked roadways, residential areas, and railroads. When working in residential areas, for example, performing road cuts and burying the pipe at major intersections may be necessary to keep streets open for homeowners and businesses. Additionally, working with railroads can lead to unexpected expenses to attain permits and rail road flaggers.
Determine access — access is vital for your route. Plan on the sewer bypasses extending beyond the projects primary work area. Additional properties could be affected to gain access to the bypass route. Rights of entry should be secured in advance of the build to mitigate change orders and project delays.
Establish redundancy — don’t forget to plan for the worst. Adding redundant pumps as a requirement to your plans ensures that your system will remain running in the event of equipment failure or unforeseen weather circumstances.
Proper scheduling — when looking at the timeline of your project, determine if it is realistic. In addition to time required for bypass, be sure to also plan for setup and teardown.
Thorough communication — making sure all parts of the project are aligned is imperative. While executing a project, thorough communication regarding system plans, schedule, equipment delivery, and more needs to be clearly defined.
If your sewer project is missing one or more of the above components, a change order will occur. Consequences may include: sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), additional equipment, increased cost, complete redesign, project delays due to the complete redesign, and new equipment installations.
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