Jackson’s Town Council and the Board of County Commissioners convened an After-Action Review Committee to consider challenges faced with both the Snow King Housing/Parks and Recreation Shop and Fire Station construction projects.
The committee examined these projects from start to their current status, to identify specific challenges and provide recommendations for more successful outcomes of future projects. The Committee, comprised of Town and County electeds and staff members, met multiple times between August and November.
The group achieved its purpose, thoroughly considering issues that arose in these projects and outlining opportunities for improvement as well as developing a comprehensive checklist for future projects. Recommendations cover various project stages including: Visioning/Inception; Planning & Design/Pre-Construction; and Construction.
For Visioning/Inception, the committee recommends there be a pre-established process to help electeds adhere to the community’s initial vision for a given project. The group calls for all projects over $1M to consider utilizing professional experts potentially including a project manager, owner’s representative, and/or commissioning agent. Recommendations also include upfront consideration of complexities, size, and mixed-use or specialized components. The committee also noted that staff work plans and capacity be considered in the Visioning stage, recognizing that staff playing project management roles while continuing the rest of their duties may lead to juggling too much. Thorough public engagement in this initial stage and visioning is also recommended.
For the Planning & Design/Pre-Construction phase, key recommendations include utilization of newly created templates, which will be updated regularly to reflect the most current land-development regulations and municipal codes. Consistency is recommended as a key to success, and these new forms and documents will help frame processes for everyone to follow. In addition, there is a call to potentially create criteria for ‘Standard Operating Procedures’ for various design milestones highlighting what elements and systems that plans must include. Related to that, the committee recommends that facilities, IT and staff that will utilize a facility be involved in the planning phase to provide their perspective and help troubleshoot different possibilities.
The Construction stage will begin with looking at contractor bids, which is where some complications on these two projects began. So, learning from that experience, the committee recommends that if there are large discrepancies between proposed costs that the Town/County team specifically consider reasons behind them. Is the difference because one contractor uses in-house trade workers versus subbing out at a markup? Is the contractor familiar with our local market, or have they guessed at subcontractor costs and assumed they could find subs? To help avoid contracts automatically going to the lowest bidder, the committee recommends cost-blind application review. Finally, on projects $1M and greater, the committee recommends third party review and that construction plans include 3-D modeling to identify design issues early on.
Find the complete list of recommendations for future construction projects HERE.