The early integration of engineering and design is essential for effective planning, design, procurement, and execution of public sector projects. This practice enables better scoping and pricing, contributing to fewer delays and change orders.
The early integration of engineering and design is essential for effective planning, design, procurement, and execution of public sector projects. It is ACEC-Ontario’s position that the early integration of design allows for better scoping and pricing and can subsequently lead to fewer delays and change orders, maximizing the efficiency of public sector projects. The government of Ontario has committed $158 billion over the next 10 years and advocating for earlier design considerations in the procurement process will help to maximize this investment.
Consulting engineers play a critical role in the construction chain, they supply the design and professional services required to move projects forward and begin the construction phase. However, provincial, and municipal public sector clients’ commitment to sufficient pre-project planning and design is rare. New research demonstrates the extent of negative impacts that arise in the performance of projects. According to a recent study conducted by the Ryerson Institute for Infrastructure Innovation (RIII) for the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO), there is an urgent need for public and private clients to modify their procurement practices to accommodate greater pre-project planning at the RFP and design stages. In doing so, much can be achieved to address current market-wide challenges of schedule delays and cost overruns hindering important projects.
The CDAO study also identifies the important role of an owner’s commitment to upfront investment during the pre-project planning and design stages on the quality of design documents and subsequent construction project performance. Research shows that an error that could cost $100 to address during pre-planning could cost $1,000 to address during the design phase and $10,000 during construction.
With the $158 billion investment from Ontario’s 2022 Budget, it is essential that this billion-dollar infrastructure spend is being met with positive, proactive procurement practices that consider design and engineering earlier to address scheduling, cost, and project performance issues. As our province continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that Ontario’s infrastructure investment is maximized to the fullest extent to encourage economic growth and recovery.