Alternatives Analysis

Developing and analyzing alternatives and project concepts are an essential part of a project plan. Here at FCE, we take a step-by-step approach to the alternatives. These steps include:Plan-Formulation-Trans

Step 1. Define the Problems, Needs, and Objectives of the Proposed Concept

The first, and in our opinion, most important step to overall project success is thoroughly defining the problems and needs that are appropriate for the project. With these problems and needs well defined, then the criteria for what constitutes a successful project can be agreed upon.

Step 2. Define Alternatives to Meet Problems, Needs, and Objectives

Next, a series of alternatives are developed which attempt to solve the problems and needs. These alternatives can include proposing new physical features, different operation of existing facilities, new proposed institutional concepts, or a combination of each to create the desired outcome. The results of this step are enhanced by the creativity of the team through FCE's experience throughout the west. We have multiple solutions to draw from in developing alternatives.

Step 3. Evaluate the Alternatives (Are any feasible?)

Once the alternatives have been developed, then an evaluation and comparison takes place. This evaluation includes many different criteria which ultimately determine if there is a feasible alternative. It is standard of FCE to use the four tests of viability to compare alternatives against each other. These tests include: determining if it contains all the necessary components, ensuring the alternative meets the purpose and need of the project, evaluating the cost effectiveness of the alternative, and finally, ensuring the alternative is acceptable to the client, stakeholders, and regulatory agencies. FCE has successfully used these tests of viability on numerous projects.

Step 4. Revise Alternatives as Needed to Optimize the Solution

Usually as the evaluation of alternatives proceeds, it becomes apparent that with tweaks or adjustments, a particular alternative becomes much more viable in meeting the objectives. Thus, a new or revised alternative is created. It is not surprising to have several "additional alternatives" develop during the evaluation process.

Step 5. Select the Preferred Alternative for Implementation

The last step in the process is selecting the most feasible alternative for implementation. With a selected alternative, an approach is then developed to implement that plan. This includes any budget needs, how will it be paid for and by whom, what is the timing, who needs to approve, permits needed, etc.