The Public-Public Partnership approached was untested in the social infrastructure sector in Alberta. The project team contacted several international jurisdictions, including the UK and Australia, to obtain feedback and lessons learned on their programs. The project team developed a program and business structure that was not only innovative and practical but suitable to the government, local design and construction market and other stakeholders.
One of the key decisions was to develop a core team with diverse expertise. The team was established to coordinate technical, operational, financial, legal, procurement, risk management and other attributes for delivering the program. A cross ministry team was developed, working within one dedicated office, to coordinate and manage program planning and development in an effective and efficient manner.
Recognizing that stakeholder input would be critical to the program’s success, the ASAP team set up Liaison Committees to involve stakeholders thoroughly in program development. All school boards and municipalities provided input through these committees.
These Liaison Committee members provided information on the existing process for operating and maintenance under their individual boards. AI coordinated and documented the information. With this collaboration a common maintenance and operational plan of work requirements was developed so that the responsibilities and processes were consistent with all the new schools to be built under the contract.
A program of such nature requires cross-ministry inputs and integration. There were two governance committees; referred to as the ‘Assistant Deputy Minister Technical Review Committee’ and ‘Deputy Minister Project Steering Committee’ which provided oversight and guidance on all aspects of the program.
The ASAP program also introduced an innovative “core school” approach to designing new schools. By basing all schools on “core” designs, the ASAP model ensures all buildings conform to LEED and provincial standards and modified for programming requirements while also allowing flexibility of use. Adding modular classrooms to the “core” building enables the school boards to accommodate changing enrollment requirements. Building LEED standards into the core school and modular designs was another groundbreaking measure that will enhance the environmental performance of all new schools. To ensure its practical value for ongoing use, the ASAP team built the process template with extensive user consultation, resulting in a high level of stakeholder buy-in. With this support, the government was able to roll out the new strategy and start building immediately. And with the template now in place, the province will be able to initiate new projects more quickly and efficiently, without having to go back to basics.
Both ASAP I and ASAP II initiatives faced extremely tight deadlines. In both cases the ASAP project team had an extremely tight schedule to capture all the technical requirements and documents, legal structure, legislative review, program requirements, business structure design and transaction documents and procurement. Based upon established schedules, the project team met all project milestones. In case of ASAP I all 18 schools were delivered one month earlier than the target date; similarly ASAP II is on schedule.