With a value of over $40 million annually in asset creation and 2,430 various projects in the works for water and sewer pipelines and pump stations, the Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department (WASD) recognized the need and high priority to streamline their evaluation and approval of department projects.
The goal was for the WASD to take a primarily manual, paperwork-intensive process dependent upon a series of stakeholder approvals and convert it into an automated process using e-Builder as their digital construction project management system tool.
Ultimately, this digital transformation would save time in the approval process, allowing projects to get started within a shorter time frame. Also, by using e-Builder’s customized document approval workflows, WASD would be able to create greater reliability of project documentation, benefitting all stakeholders in the process
Watch to learn how Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department implemented e-Builder Enterprise
Faced with an unprecedented multi-billion-dollar capital program in sewer infrastructure and a growing number of residential projects, Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department (WASD) created a Project Management Office (PMO) to drive the implementation of a state-of-the-art project management system. The WASD partnered with e-Builder to replace their current paper-based project management tool, and utilized the e-Builder integration experience of a partner company, ATKINS, to supplement WASD staff during the transition.
In addition to the WASD and approval agency partners providing support for planning and building sewer infrastructure for local developers and business owners in development of new construction, re-development, and increasing business needs—the WASD also needed to support homeowners building new homes, additions, or remodeling. The Miami-Dade WASD required a reliable system, accessible by all 2.3 million residents of Miami-Dade county if or when they were building a new home, office, or remodeling their properties.
e-Builder Enterprise provided a comprehensive, centralized solution that could handle multi-regulatory agency approvals. e-Builder was capable of including all the details and data needed to approve sewer infrastructure projects, while also remaining accessible to business owners, developers, and residents of Miami in support of their projects.
The Miami-Dade WASD, local regulatory agencies, contractors, and residents have a central repository for designing, submitting, reviewing, and approval of sewer infrastructure projects, streamlining the process and reducing the approval times.
“e-Builder is a system that can assist your organization to improve communication and transparency which is critical in improving workflows and the approval of work.”
- Harold Concepcion, Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department, PMO Director
Creating a Baseline for Success
While approving and processing plans for over 2,340 sewer infrastructure projects a year is no easy task, the WASD had another reason to streamline their processes and make them digital—COVID-19 safety protocol was requiring the majority of the department to work from home and overwhelming the employees with burdensome paperwork, creating additional costs for stakeholders.
The WASD quickly realized the need to organize and implement a Project Management Office (PMO) for the task of implementing e-Builder Enterprise, and partnered with an outside organization, ATKINS. The PMO was able to leverage ATKIN’s experience with large project management system implementations, while also supplementing WASD’s increased staffing requirements. The establishment of the WASD PMO was critical, allowing a centralized team that could apply focus and resources on the capital program and implementation of the project management system, including project management, scheduling, processes, procedures and training.
“The e-Builder tool has brought excellent value to WASD customers while propelling Miami-Dade County and our utility to the forefront of public agencies implementing web-based project management systems!”
- Hardeep Anand, P.E., Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department, Deputy Director
Prior to starting the development of project management tools, the WASD PMO developed a framework for the overall project management plan, demonstrating the highest level processes that would be required to track the process from inception. ATKINS reflects, “The need for clear and concise methods for e-Builder “work-flows” was an essential part of this documentation and review.”
Maximizing e-Builder to Reduce Review Times
Within the approval process for water and sewer infrastructure are county, state, and municipal agencies—making the series approach to their approval process lengthy and time-consuming. Using Concurrent Plans Processing (CPP) and leveraging e-Builder and Bluebeam software tools, all approval agencies are now able to review plans at the same time as WASD, significantly saving time within the approval process.
Of the process, ATKINS says, “The e-Builder system has been extremely valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic, as all users, reviewers and other stakeholders can access and keep their items moving remotely. In fact, there has been no apparent slowdown of customer requests moving through the system during the pandemic.”
Using CPP with e-Builder, WASD projects benefit from reduced risk through improved visibility and transparency, real-time collaboration between stakeholders, designers and contractors, and provides process consistency and efficiency.
The WASD, ATKINS and e-Builder team worked closely on setting up the initial processes in e-Builder around the WASD Development Process. The system within e-Builder diligently handles 38 processes that covers the entire WASD Development Process, from planning to design, construction, and closeout phases. Several of these processes were able to be added after the portal went live in 2018, demonstrating the adaptability of the system to changing business needs.
“The time saving in processing agreements, design plans, and construction inspections has been significantly reduced by over 180 days (six months).”
- Harold Concepcion, Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department, PMO Director
WASD Field Inspectors have benefitted from the use of tablet computers that include WASD’s new electronic processes, which are now capable of documenting and submitting reports from the field. The accessibility has allowed for limited trips back to the office, minimizes the need for inspectors to write manual notes (and therefore resulting in minimizing reporting errors), and saves field inspectors time to be able to visit more project sites per day. The developer community, including developers, architects, engineers, contractors, and reviewing agencies, are all able to access the e-Builder portal to provide the information needed from them to move the projects forward.
ATKINS confirms 3-4 months can now be removed from the plans review process, and that “the metrics show drastic benefits from the move to electronic processing—including savings on the average times for Engineer of Record resubmittal and payments.”
Digital Transformation is Key
For owners of capital improvement programs (CIPs), there’s never been a more crucial time to engage in digital transformation. Millions of infrastructure assets—bridges, roads, public buildings and much more—across the United States are in urgent need of maintenance or replacement. And plans, along with unprecedented amounts of funding, are coming down the pipeline fast.
This tremendous opportunity comes with a significant challenge—managing new and bigger CIPs will require owners to digitize their construction process. Download our free guide to learn more.