INTEGRATED DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION: WHEN IS IT VALUABLE AND WHY?
By: Amy Michalek
When looking to update or build out an office, many organizations approach construction projects using the traditional Design – Bid – Build process. The process typically emphasizes design over budget, is time consuming, and often leads to sticker shock, ultimately wasting more time and money. Companies looking to find the most effective project delivery model should consider a more collaborative approach through integrated design and construction.
So, what is integrated design and construction, and why could it be the solution for your business?
It is a carefully curated cross-functional team, expected to be invested in the project from the start of project planning through implementation.
A Stronger Team
You need a team that understands your overall goals and objectives; a team that can deliver results. An integrated design and construction team has more knowledge and experience combined with trusted resources appropriate for the size and scale of the project. Whatever the target: financial, aesthetic, and/or time sensitive, etc., this team will create goals and measures to enable team members to make informed decisions and ensure alignment with expectations. Often in construction, a problem will arise which calls for creative thinking. A team armed with goals and expectations can facilitate a creative and collaborative environment to explore solutions while knowing the limits.
Controlling project financial performance means controlling the scope of work for every team member. In a traditional construction process, a designer would only be responsible for their design time associated with a specific detail on the project AND the cost associated to build the detail. In an integrated design and construction approach, the designer could simply have a five-minute phone call with the construction estimator to confirm the cost of materials and estimated labor to validate the design decision. Secondly, with both team members knowing the strategic performance goals – the type of solutions they discuss will only fall under what the project can handle.
Construction comes with a fair amount of risk associated. There is a delicate balance at the beginning of a project when faced with completing due diligence, closing on a property, gaining jurisdiction approval, all while not investing any more than necessary until the project is a 100% go. For projects with mainly financial performance concerns, each identified risk will have a game plan linked to them along with identified project impacts (time and money). With an integrated design and construction approach, risks are continuously reviewed and reduced based on the status of the project as they are typically higher in the conceptual design phase and dwindle as hard bids are received from contractors.
Day Two is the day after the construction team leaves the project and your operational team takes over. A few of the strategic project performance goals will be linked to the organization’s short and long-term goals of the construction project. Having an integrated design and construction team means a higher Return on Investment (ROI), as throughout the design process, the organization will be faced with multiple design choices. For example, for a main building mechanical system – is it better to go with rooftop units or a variable refrigerant system? Both are great solutions – but your team will be able to dig a bit deeper to understand what your end goals are, like a target operating cost, and will help determine which route to go.
Does an integrated design and construction team sound like the right fit for you? At Signature, our Project Management Division builds a strong team you can trust to help keep your project on track and realize your vision. We establish milestones and hold team members accountable for performance goals and review control documents regularly. Our team provides support with expert knowledge in the field, so you know you’re getting the best results.
Interested in more information on how an integrated design and construction team could help you meet your design goals? Contact Signature Associates’ Project Management Division at (248) 948-9000 and subscribe to our newsletter here for even more industry updates.
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