The Art of the Deal: Negotiating a High-Risk, Contractor-Proposed HDD on the Fly!

The Art of the Deal: Negotiating a High-Risk, Contractor-Proposed HDD on the Fly!


Will Gibson, P.E., AECOM, Norfolk, Virginia
Tim Marsh, Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Daniel Rickmond, P.E., Tidewater Utility Construction, Inc., Suffolk, Virginia
Matthew Francis, P.E., AECOM, Salt Lake City, Utah

Abstract: During force main construction in Downtown Norfolk, Virginia, the general contractor wanted to avoid an especially challenging segment of open-cut installation adjacent to a high-end shopping mall. After considering and excluding several ideas, a 1,000-LF 30-inch horizontal directional drill (HDD) was proposed at no cost to the project. The proposed HDD alignment through a high-rise and utility-rich corridor, with complex natural and manmade geology and subsurface features made it particularly challenging. The complicated nature of Downtown Norfolk’s subsurface required historical reviews of land reclamation and advanced geotechnical considerations, increasing risk. Additionally, the proposed HDD path was alongside the oldest structure in Norfolk: a colonial-era historic church constructed in the 1730s. This paper explains the vetting strategies of the expeditious design and proactive observation measures implemented to reduce risk and comfort skeptical stakeholders. It also details how the contractor, engineer, and owner collaboratively negotiated this major change in work and garnered buy-in from City officials and local stakeholders. In addition, the financial and contractual terms of the change order, including concessions, are presented to show how all parties came together for the mutual benefit of the project. Results of negotiations included City requirements for an overnight pipe-pull, purposely leaving most of Downtown Norfolk unaware of the major event. Additionally, of historically significant, the owner agreed to its first use of fusible PVC as the HDD pipe material. Ultimately, the paper provides owner, engineer, and contractor perspectives of the negotiation and construction process, including valuable lessons learned from proposal to execution.

Publication Date: 2018

Presented at:
NASTT’s 2018 No-Dig Show Palm Springs, California
March 25-29, 2018 | Paper Number: MM-T2-04

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