Making Project Delivery Happen


To borrow from the U.S. Postal Service’s 1990s slogan, “We Deliver for You.”

That concept, of delivering successful, efficient and sustainable projects to the federal government, connected every aspect of the 2014 SAME/DBIA Federal Project Delivery Symposium…from the opening keynote through the closing debrief.

DBIA-SAMEsymposium2014-1Held Aug. 19-21 in Washington, D.C., at the historic Omni Shoreham Hotel, the symposium brought together nearly 500 government and industry leaders, including 20 percent of attendees representing government agencies. The event truly brought together a diversity of opinions and experiences (with attendees as far away as Guam), and insight into how some agencies, and contracting officers and other experts on the inside are executing effective projects, where the challenges are, and what is available in terms of solutions.

The 2014 symposium kicked off with “A Conversation with GSA” and opening keynote with Public Buildings Service Deputy Commissioner Michael Gelber, SES, who shared insight on key priorities, trends and challenges facing the federal government’s landlord. GSA’s Public Buildings Service designs, develops, renovates, manages, oversees and disposes of a real estate portfolio of approximately 378-million-ft of space located in over 9,000 owned and leased properties across the United States and six territories.

Les Shepard, FAIA, Chief Architect, and David Insinga, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of Design and  Construction, then joined Gelber on stage during a Q&A with the audience.  The evening shed light on new and innovative strategies being implemented within GSA, such as real estate swaps, and what that means for the design and construction industry. The panelists also highlighted critical projects coming down the pipeline and a project forecast by building-type.DBIA-SAMEsymposium2014-7

A highlight of the symposium were three Executive Forum sessions. Panels of experts, including headquarters-level representatives from the Department of Defense and military agencies shared insight to attendees on a series of topics impacting the federal project delivery supply chain and leaned on industry representatives for their feedback on what works, what doesn’t and what the future holds.

The three Executive Forum sessions were:

  • Improving Efficiency in Federal Project Delivery: Lean Construction, Commissioning, and Value Engineering (moderated by Rear Adm. Gary Engle, P.E., DBIA, F.SAME, USN (Ret.), URS Corp.)
  • Making the Federal Procurement Process More Industry Friendly: RFPs, Procurement Process, Past Performance Evaluations, Debriefings and Protests (moderated by Col. Kurt Ubbelohde, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), LEO A DALY)
  • Project Delivery of Energy Projects: Using Private Financing, Needed Legislation, Life Cycle Cost Analysis (moderated by Joe Sabel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) 

DBIA-SAMEsymposium2014-4The purpose of the Executive Forum sessions is to facilitate shared value to the government in responding to industry concerns and to industry in better understanding government policy and processes.

Candid discussion in a non-attribution format enabled attendees to focus on real issues facing both government owners and the A/E/C industry.

From business development in the exhibit hall to professional development hours during the education sessions, the 2014 symposium fit a diverse array of networking and education and training sessions into a two-day window.

Co-hosted with the Design-Build Institute of America, the symposium had a large emphasis on design-build. But not just highlighting design-build project delivery, but “Design-Build Done Right.” While design-build accounts for about 40 percent of non-residential construction market share, there remains a lot of work to do to educate contracting officers, owners and A/E/C professionals on best practices, to ensure that design-build is done right and that projects utilizing the approach deliver the cost and time-saving benefits they are capable of. DBIA practitioners Craig Unger, DBIA, Unger Security Solutions LLC, Stephen Benton, P.E. DBIA, F.ASCE, SR Benton & Associates, Richard Formella, DBIA, CPPO, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and Richard Shelton, P.E., DBIA, LEED AP, Royce Construction Services, led a panel discussion on design-build best practices for the federal sector, including insight into FAR and updates on legislation currently under review in Congress.

Educational sessions covered a range of topics, among them: meeting BIM requirements; environmental restoration using design-build; legal statutes concerning design-build; performance-based design; critical infrastructure security; low price-technically acceptable solicitation; risk management; modernization of historic buildings; and project collaboration in a digital world.

The symposium concluded with a Executive Forum debriefing session. As seating for the Executive Forum sessions was limited, the debrief provided an opportunity for all attendees to hear a summary of the action items discussed and examine the lessons shared and solutions posed to ongoing areas of interest to the government and A/E/C industry.

Held annually each August, the Federal Project Delivery Symposium is co-hosted by SAME and DBIA and offers a unique experience to hear from and network with government and industry leaders solely focused on delivery successful projects to the military services and federal agencies.  The 2014 symposium provided attendees the chance to earn 10.5 hours of continuing education units or up to 10 professional development hours. Click here for photos of the event on SAME’s Flickr page.

The 2015 symposium is scheduled for Aug. 18-20, 2015, once again at the Omni Shoreham in the nation’s capital. See you there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *