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The City's Capital Projects Promise

Over the past five years, the City of Kamloops Capital Projects Division has advanced its project delivery approaches to go beyond the traditional design-bid-build method for public infrastructure, toward practices that are more inclusive, collaborative, efficient, and cost-effective. The changes have resulted in more collaborative working relationships internally and with external vendors.

This inclusive process encompasses construction management practices, design/build proposals, master service agreements, and integrated project delivery (IPD). By integrating team participation on all project decisions, including technical decisions and communication practices from the planning phase through to project implementation, the City has experienced a wide variety of benefits including:

  • Increased creativity and collaboration within all phases of its infrastructure projects due to all internal and external project partners (owner, consultants, contractors, operations) being involved early and throughout the life of the project.
  • More transparent estimating, planning, and procurement approaches that help identify opportunities and potential challenges earlier.
  • Well-planned and managed community engagement with residents that incorporates a wide variety of tools, channels, and spokespeople to share information about the work and the anticipated impacts to residents including a dedicated project liaison who works “on-the-ground” to address people’s questions and concerns.
  • Frequent and cooperative team meetings where ideas and information can be shared in a supportive environment and concerns can be addressed and/or mitigated early.
  • Increased opportunity for tracking and measuring results at all phases of the project because of the inclusive approach and debriefing built into project processes.
  • Complex projects that are consistently delivered under budget and ahead of schedule.

The success relies on the principle that key partners who have contributions to make in the best-practice delivery of public infrastructure should also have a greater share of the responsibility in completing the project. For the City, this has been accomplished by developing scope specific, multi-year service agreements that provide better value, and allow for holistic planning of projects by including everyone involved as early as possible in the delivery process. This way, there is a unified and agreed upon path forward and greater understanding of that path from the partners. The change has allowed the City to be better prepared and nimble in completing projects and has created opportunities for unified messages to the public about how projects are going to be completed, as well as the impacts and outcomes. Results over the past few years are further described below.

“To use a sports analogy, you don’t just go play the game. This is all about leveraging the power of the team.”
- Darren  Crundwell, Capital Projects Manager

Prior to 2017, the organization primarily relied on a conventional design/bid/build (low bid tender) delivery model for capital projects. However, projects were rarely delivered within the construction budget and often had to rely on contingencies. Substantial completion dates identified in the tender documents were often not met, as well.  Through this traditional process, it was difficult for the City to be able to factor in a contractor’s capacity, past performance, or ability to complete the work. 

By adapting project delivery processes, which have included more upfront project team discussions as well as the introduction of service agreements that clearly outline details of how projects will be implemented and managed before work starts, the project risk has shifted from being the City’s responsibility to risk-sharing by the project partners.

Additionally, as part of its commitment to acknowledging that Kamloops is located on Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS) territory, situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation, the City (in partnership with the TteS), has developed chance-find procedures in relation to any City managed projects. This mutually beneficial process means there are specific cultural heritage protocols that must be followed in the event of a chance find, and because these protocols have been identified, the project team can advance procedures without necessarily shutting down the project.

"I think one of the most important things with this way of doing business is the relationships. What we realized in working this way is that we have a unified voice with all the stakeholders, and unified messages that went from the project owner, to the contractor, to the public. People felt like they always had someone to call or ask."
- Alistair Elliot, Construction Manager, Extreme Excavating

The efforts have contributed to significant positive results including:

  1. Completing projects earlier through increased collaboration: The Victoria Street West sanitary sewer replacement and road rehabilitation/beautification project provides a great example of the process in action. The project was estimated with a two-year timeline that would interrupt traffic flow and impact businesses along a busy corridor into Kamloops downtown. By adjusting workers’ shifts to run through the day, evening, and night during optimal seasons including spring and summer, communicating widely and often with the pubic, re-routing traffic and shifting direction of one-way streets, working closely with utility providers (BC Hydro, Telus), and allocating a dedicated project liaison to communicate regularly with businesses and residents in the neighbourhood, the project was completed six months earlier than the original deadline and on budget. The approach has been replicated on several other large, complex infrastructure projects in different areas of the City with significant success. 
  2. Greater predictability toward spending: From the financial planning side, the project delivery evolution has opened up new avenues for looking at predictability and project accountability because contract expectations are outlined earlier in the planning process and risks have been managed as a team. The renovation of the City’s Canada Games Aquatic Centre  (IPD) is a recent example of this. The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget allowing for additional items to be added to the project scope because the team found efficiencies. This renovation project was also successfully completed during the early months of the pandemic, despite additional challenges because of the integrated team approach.
  3. Proactive and ongoing communication: The City recognizes that complex infrastructure projects, which may take months or years to complete, require significant planning from a communication perspective – a process that has also evolved and improved over the past five years. By including communications planners early in the project, the City has been able to implement tactics and tools that are pro-active and wide-reaching and help to educate and engage the public through all phases of the work. This includes digital and print communication, internal staff communication, media relations and media and city council tours of the construction sites.
  4. Improving response to stakeholders who are most impacted: As an additional step in engaging with  stakeholders who are most impacted by specific projects, the City has hired an ongoing capital projects liaison, who communicates with businesses and residents “on the ground” to share information and answer questions.
  5. Increased opportunities for tracking and measuring project results: Evolving the City’s capital project delivery has also included opportunities to measure results. The City has implemented “lessons learned” meetings and anonymous surveys for all project members to participate in so that feedback may improve future project delivery.