Monthly Archives: September 2011

August was made for Workin’! A major project out for tender.

What is it about August? Just when you think we’d all be off to the beach, the cottage, August seems to bring out the deadlines, and the best of our design studio and staff. We’ve just completed the tender documents for the University of Waterloo’s Health Services Expansion, working in association with Kearns Mancini Architects. The division of effort and responsibility throughout the design team has been excellent, and the quality of the documents really shows. It’s in the hands of the bidding contractors now, and in a few weeks we’ll be passing the torch to a new member of the team, the builder. We look forward to working with whichever of the 8 pre-qualified firms is successful.

For anyone who’s been part of a deadline for tender and contract documents, this might seem ho hum, but I’m still amazed at the huge amount of interrelated detail that goes into the set.

First of all, what is a set of tender and contract documents? Well, much like any contract, the set has to fully describe the contract requirements for the work, and how the work is to be undertaken, including all its administrative details. In the case of this building, it means drawings and specifications from:

  • the architectural firms (JMA and KMA), for the interrelated architectural elements
  • the civil engineer (K Smart and Associates) describing the site services, grading, and drainage
  • the structural engineer (MTE Consultants) for the building’s concrete and steel structure
  • the mechanical and electrical engineers (Jain and Associates) for all the heating, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical systems.
What does it amount to, for a $6 or $7 million expansion? Nearly a hundred drawings, an inch thick project manual full of details and schedules, and more than a thousand pages of specification, all crafted and coordinated into a coherent whole.
Thanks to Matthew, Krista, Diane, Kristin, and all involved. A great team effort.
Our work isn’t all sketches on napkins. Initial design and exploration is about a quarter of our effort on most projects, with the documentation of that design forming fully half of our work. Following the tender and contract award, the remaining quarter of our work involves administration of the construction contract to ensure that the Owner receives the quality and value required by the Contract.
So for this project at least, we’re 75% there. Construction will take more than a year, and we’ll keep you posted on how the project progresses through construction.