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News Bits and Pieces -
August 23, 2004
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) interim Hampton Roads District administrator Connie Sorrell has begun reorganizing the district management structure to better deliver construction and maintenance projects on time and on budget. The changes are in response to an independent management review done by Deloitte of New York.
VDOT hired Deloitte earlier this year to do an extensive study of how the Hampton Roads District administers and manages its construction program and to suggest other management practices that could improve project delivery. Central to the reorganization is a greater focus on project management. Deloitte’s review, completed earlier this month, supports an agency-wide movement toward developing a project management culture. The focus will shift from hierarchical processes and geographical designations to a singular focus on projects and results.
Deloitte made several recommendations relating to reporting relationships, organizational structure and business processes in the district. Some of the recommendations are being implemented immediately. Other recommendations will require further planning in order to implement. Sorrell and district staff are beginning the process of evaluating these changes this week.
“This reorganization will not increase the total number of VDOT employees working in the district,” said Sorrell, “but it will better structure the organization to concentrate authority and resources to those managers directly involved in delivering road construction projects. Any new positions created to oversee these projects will be created from existing vacancies.”
The Deloitte study recommends changes including:
· Creation of a project controls group to centralize scheduling, cost estimating and contract administration at the district level. Previously this function was completed in part by residency, district and central office personnel.
· Creation of a quality assurance office under the district preliminary engineer to implement the constructability and design review process. This will improve the quality of design plans and ensure that citizens receive the best possible end product after construction.
· Creation of a new operations manager function to maximize the efficiency, safety and maintenance of the area’s bridges, tunnels and Smart Traffic network.
· Creation of a new preliminary engineering function to oversee development of future construction projects and to ensure the quality of project designs and preliminary engineering. VDOT hired its first Hampton Roads preliminary engineering manager in July.
· Assign a project manager to all construction projects. This individual will be responsible for all project phases from inception to completed construction.
· Streamline reporting relationships and strengthen communications within the district and externally.
This reorganization will also reinforce a culture change for the agency. All other functions such as preliminary engineering, location and design, environmental, VDOT’s central office in Richmond, the Hampton Roads district office, the design consultants and the contractor will support the project manager, who will be the single point of accountability for project delivery.
“The adoption of this new project management-centered structure is a huge step forward for VDOT, ” said Sorrell, “There will most certainly be some growing pains as we alter the way we have done business for so long. The reorganization in Hampton Roads will ensure greater accountability to citizens.”
VDOT began working on an implementation plan this week. The goal is to complete this reorganization by July 1, 2005.
Deloitte engineering consultants worked for several months to interview VDOT staff and selected contractors to review documents, procedures, financial reports and business practices. The firm conducted an extensive review to identify ways in which VDOT can improve the delivery of its design and construction management programs. The firm also outlined ways VDOT can incorporate best practices used as construction industry standards.
“This is a process improvement, not an effort to place blame for issues we have had in the past,” Sorrell said. “We will use this report to find ways that we can build a better VDOT to deal with the important transportation issues facing this region.”
For more information or to view a copy of the report’s executive summary, visit www.VirginiaDOT.org.
The Virginia Engineer © IIr Associates 2005