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Berl Handcox Sr. Water Treatment Plant

    City of Austin
    Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR, CM/GC)
    Austin, TX
    November 2009

    MWH was the CMAR tasked with constructing a new 50 million gallons daily (MGD) water treatment plant, expandable to 300 MGD, which for this project scope alone was $172M. In addition to this scope, MWH built the raw water system, which included a 300 MGD submerged raw water intake in Lake Travis, a raw water conveyance to the pump station by a mile-long, 9-foot diameter tunnel, a 50 MGD raw water pump station with five 1500 HP vertical turbine pumps to deliver water from Lake Travis to Water Treatment Plant No. 4, now referred to as the Berl Handcox Sr. Water Treatment Plant, and a finished water conveyance via tunnel, connecting WTP 4 to the existing reservoir at Jollyville by a 7-mile-long, 7-foot diameter pipeline. The project included a media gravity filtration facility featuring six dual media filter basins, flocculation and sedimentation facilities, baffled chlorine contact chambers, SCADA, telemetry and instrumentation systems, and chemical storage and feed systems. Over 88% of the 250 subcontracts were awarded to local minority-owned or women-owned contractors and vendors.
    As the CMAR, MWH worked with three separate design firms throughout the preconstruction process to address the City’s needs. It was critical to begin tracking the project against the City’s budget as soon as it began, as the City was concerned with the budget for the proposed design. By the end of the project, MWH prepared 14 GMPs for the City, ensuring the team successfully designed to budget, allowing the City of Austin to make real-time cost decisions. This process also helped reduce and eliminate redesign costs.

    MWH recommended more than $75M in cost reductions, $30M of which were accepted. We made design modifications to the raw water intake foundation that saved an estimated $2M, which was recognized with an award by the Texas Council of Engineering Companies.

    We found that the biggest challenge for this project was keeping the design agreed upon within the City’s budget. MWH tracked the budget continuously throughout the design process to allow the City to make real-time cost decisions on the design to maintain the budget. MWH held multiple VE sessions and constructability reviews to save money and time. MWH realized time savings of 30 days by preparing early site packages, allowing construction to begin six months earlier than expected.

    project partners
    Carollo Engineers
    At a total cost of over $500 million, this is one of the largest projects the City has completed to date and all work was completed within 1% of the targeted budget, which was established over 10 years ago. The partnership formed among the City, MWH, and the design team under a CMAR arrangement allowed challenges to be identified early and solutions developed without impact to the project’s scope.
    Howard S. Lazarus
    Director, Public Works Department, City of Austin


    US Green Building Council LEED® Silver Certified Maintenance Building
    US Green Building Council LEED® Gold Certified Administration Building
    2015 AGC Alliant Build America Award in the Utility Infrastructure
    2012 Liberty Mutual Gold Safety and Health Excellence Award
    2015 Texas Public Works Association Public Works Project of the Year