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AGC and USACE – Partnering to Build a Better Future

BY LT. GEN. TODD SEMONITE, 54th CHIEF OF ENGINEERS AND COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
and STEVE SANDHERR, CEO, AGC OF AMERICA

AGC of America and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have a long and successful history of working together to build and sustain our nation’s infrastructure. Over the past few years, we have been working in partnership to advance the standard by which USACE and the industry operate to continue achieving the results our nation relies upon and expects.

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In early 2018, AGC provided USACE a set of recommendations to address federal construction contract delivery focused around three key areas: strengthening partnering relationships; jointly managing risk; and promoting timely and effective change management practices. Since then, USACE and AGC have been collectively implementing a series of initiatives to enhance project delivery outcomes for the benefit of all stakeholders, including USACE and AGC member contractors.

Of the ongoing initiatives, there are two we would like to highlight: the Team Partnering and expanded Joint Risk Register (JRR) pilot programs. These were developed by USACE headquarters in consultation with USACE district field teams and industry partners, including AGC and its member contractors.

The Team Partnering pilot encourages the entire project delivery team, including contractors and USACE, to routinely assess the team’s partnering relationships and response times. This is accomplished by setting agreed-upon performance and communications goals at project kick-off that are then monitored and discussed during follow-up facilitated partnering sessions.

The expanded JRR pilot program seeks to drive proactive and collaborative risk management through the use of a “living” risk register. Much like the Team Partnering Pilot, the JRR is intended to facilitate open and transparent dialog between USACE, contractors and key project team members across the life of the construction contract. Promoting open and transparent dialog is key to ensuring all parties make effective risk-informed decisions that mitigate potential impacts to delivery and support shared performance outcomes. Both USACE and AGC firmly believe that strong partnering relationships founded on transparency and trust between the contractor, design and construction agent, and key project team members are essential to delivering a construction project in a safe, efficient and timely manner. We believe that the key attributes of any successful federal project delivery team are a readiness to listen to its partners; a willingness to adopt innovative practices and processes and an appreciation for the high degree of trust that the American public places in them. Nowhere else is this better reflected than in USACE’s motto, Essayons, “let us try.” In keeping with this spirit, let us — both contractors and the government — continue to work together to advance our existing practices and ensure we operate at the highest standard as we build and maintain our nation’s infrastructure and address new challenges ahead.