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SMART planning is:
     S: Specific
    M: Measurable
    A: Attainable
    R: Risk Informed
    T: Timely

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Agency Decision Milestone

Last updated: 15 April 2014

Feasibility Level Design

    The Feasibility Level Design of the agency recommended plan occurs after the Agency Decision Meeting. This phase of the study includes development of the Final Draft Report and additional design of the recommended plan to reduce risk and uncertainty with cost data, engineering effectiveness, environmental impacts, and economic benefits.

    After identification of the agency recommended plan, the PDT will determine a recommended investment level and proposed cost allocations for implementing the recommended plan, based on existing cost sharing policy. If at the Agency Decision Milestone HQUSACE Senior Leadership agreed that the Locally Preferred Plan (LPP) should be carried forward, the PDT will develop a sufficient level of cost and engineering detail on both the agency recommended plan and the LPP to determine the appropriate cost allocation for authorization. Current policies requiring a LPP waiver from the ASA(CW) if the LPP is being pursued continue to apply and approval to carry forward the LPP must occur before the Agency Decision Milestone.

    The Feasibility Level Design phase includes:

    • Sufficiently detailed design on the TSP (and LPP if appropriate), in order to improve accuracy of implementation costs, engineering effectiveness, and economic benefits.
    • Preparation of the final feasibility report with identification of the agency recommendation.
    • Cost Schedule Risk Analysis (CSRA).
    • In-progress reviews (IPRs) as necessary to resolve any policy or agency issues.
    • Release of Division Engineer’s Notice

    The design effort will require increased use of critical thinking (i.e., engineering judgment) in the analysis and cost estimates. The PDT must analyze minimum design requirements to assure functionality, life safety, and develop accurate cost and schedule information. Each project will use a "risk register" previously developed to assess the likelihood of each project feature impacting cost, schedule and/or function/safety. The PDT should use the risk register to identify the level of detail and focus areas necessary to further design the agency recommended plan and for the agency to make a recommendation to Congress. The goal is to minimize data collection and analysis for low impact features during the Feasibility design. High impact features should be carefully scoped such that data collection and analysis is commensurate with risk and adds value to the decision making process, accuracy to the cost and schedule, or reduces risk. The PDT shall work closely to identify areas where design details would be beneficial to reduce uncertainty. For items with significant cost and schedule risk, mitigation strategies should be identified and/or discussed in the project’s Risk Management Plan.

    Additional modeling and design should improve the definition of alternative impacts to the environment, mitigation plans, economic damages and benefits. If the additional design results in significant changes that would affect the selection of the agency’s recommended plan, then the team should re-evaluate the alternative selection process. The agency may determine that there are multiple best plans for recommendation based on different objectives.

    The final feasibility report and NEPA documentation should follow ER 1105-2-100, Appendix G, general evaluation guidelines (Exhibit G-1) and be compliant with all applicable laws, policies and regulations (Exhibit G-8). In the final report, the PDT will provide a level of detail and documentation on the agency recommended plan that is greater than the alternatives analyzed previously, because the agency decision was made on equivalent levels of detail.

    District Quality Control (DQC), Agency Technical Review (ATR), and independent external peer review (IEPR, if necessary) will be completed prior to District Commander signature of the final decision document. Once the District Commander signs the recommendations in the final decision document, the USACE district will forward the final report, final NEPA document, and related materials to the MSC. The District Commander’s signature is for the recommendation and does not constitute the project decision in accordance with ER 2-2-200. Therefore, the Record of Decision (ROD) or Finding of no Significant Impact (FONSI) will not be signed at or before this time. The Division Commander's transmittal letter will provide the submittal package to HQUSACE for review.

    The MSC Commander will transmit the final report package after the MSC completes QA of the QC process and the District has resolved all issues left unresolved after the Agency Decision Meeting. All reviews will be completed prior to the District Commander signing the report, except State & Agency review, final NEPA review and HQUSACE policy review.