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Program management results in cost savings of US$120 million for Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City, a planned community with a population of 50,000, had been developed on septic tanks. The project was the construction of a communal sewer systems and the decommissioning of the septic tanks.

In 2001, the City elected in 2001 to construct a sewer collection system comprising of:

  • Approximately 400 miles of gravity sewer mains
  • Five major pump stations
  • 17 miles of sewer force mains
  • Seven miles of effluent force main
  • The decommissioning of approximately 22,000 septic tanks, together with a new wastewater treatment plant and effluent disposal system

A unique aspect of the program was that the construction included connecting each built lot to the sewer and abandoning their septic tanks. This resulted in the need to obtain separate legal agreements for entry onto each property and the collection of the 'capacity fee' from each property owner as they were connected.

"On our project, [Amec Foster Wheeler] has responsibility for working with the property owner and helping them through the process. They help make sure the paperwork gets done on schedule, and they work closely with city staff to administer grants and financial assistance for property owners who don’t have the $2,000 treatment capacity fee. They’ve done a fantastic job of communicating and working with our citizens."
Mark Clark, Public Works Director, Lake Havasu City

We were appointed in 2005 to provide Program Management, design and construction administration services. We also provided assistance with financing considerations, including revenue generation analysis and utility cash flow projections. On appointment, the project was tens of millions over its original budget of $463M and six months behind schedule. Within 18 months, it was back on budget and on schedule.

Originally an 11-year program, in late 2008, the City asked us to develop a schedule to complete the Wastewater System Expansion (WWSE) two years ahead of schedule to take advantage of excellent construction pricing and improve utility cash flow by connecting all residents sooner. To compress the design schedule to meet the requested accelerated schedule, design teams were augmented and productivity significantly enhanced by migrating to AutoCad Civil 3D, together with significant training and careful schedule development. Our three tiered QA/QC process was maintained. Construction schedule gains entailed careful staging of tenders together with a shortened completion period. The contract specifications were modified to ensure no increase in disruptions to residents as a result of the aggressive construction schedule. Despite the increased pace of activity, community relations remained excellent. 

Time and cost savings
To take advantage of very low construction costs following the economic collapse in 2008, we advanced the design and construction of the project by two years, resulting in significant construction cost savings and overall project savings of $120 million.

One of the things that differentiated us from our competitors was our public engagement program. While we proposed using multi-media in our approach, our proposal to develop web sites to keep the public informed and allow them to easily communicate with us and the City was unique at the time. Other web sites were dedicated to information flow between us and the City.

Location:Lake Havasu City, Arizona, US
Client:Lake Havasu City, Arizona, US
Value:US$340 million (Project)
Scope:Program management, engineering design, construction administration
Date:2005 – 2011