Superman and Construction
If you can do it all, people just seem to lose interest. Take, for example, the most popular and well-known comic book character ever, Superman, who actually had to be reduced in power because he was simply no fun to read about. DC Comics, the comic book powerhouse that vaulted the Man of Steel to fame, had to think of new ways to popularize him because of such a decline of readership in the 1960s. DC went scrambling to find a way to make him interesting again as there was no way to challenge him. Literally DC debilitated Superman by introducing new weaknesses, ways to destroy the Man of Steel, and more powerful nemeses that made the comics more enjoyable. It simply was not a good read for the Man of Steel beat everyone without a fight. The business of comic book readership demanded such a degradation of the great Superman, who could simply do it all. At that point, he could do it all no longer.
But how about doing business with a company that can do it all? Is that a proposition worth exploring? A design build firm is just that: they can do it all for you, skillfully, often at a better price, and commonly quicker than originally planned. The key of a design build firm is to take on ownership in a project to be able to save money, time, and resources while treating your project with the care it deserves. We say “ownership” because the heavy responsibility of safety, quality assurance, and production are transferred from you to a new “Man of Steel”: the design build firm.
WAYS DESIGN BUILD CAN EMPOWER YOU
The design build designation means that the firm you are doing business with can manage and/or produce all phases of the construction process, from blueprints to final punch lists. These kinds of firms are the equivalent of the man of steel, being able to do it all and take the entire project off of your hands. When you find someone like this, it is the foundation of a mutually-profitable relationship of trust through the construction lifecycle. Done right, these five steps become time-saving and money-saving milestones to a great project:
5. Close Out
Every project starts with an idea that needs to be built into reality. And that reality has to be planned for, prepared for, and outlined through the design process. Design professionals are top-notch, brilliant, logical, and exacting team members with advanced degrees, professional licensure, and an eye for detail. Every field team member knows that the brains behind the project are almost always right and should be followed with exacting precision. Projects are won or lost in design, empowering an accurate proposal, requiring attention to detail, and serving as the backbone of the project.
Take all of this and allow a designer to work in proximity with your contractor for constructability and feasibility reviews, and your finished product is not only better, it is built faster. Those impossible-to-build ideas from the architect and engineer can be redirected and refined by a seasoned contractor who knows “that just won’t work in real life.” It is these re-designs that require so much time and money later on and are always best dealt with early on, before the team is waiting for you, equipment needing to be off-rented, and a host of invoices due. Integrating your team from the get-go is the quickest, most cost-efficient, and reliable way to build a project. That is because designing with an integrated team relies on the expertise of all the various phases of a construction project life cycle and the internal collaboration between such a team prevents the many pitfalls, oversights, and mistakes before they happen.
The added benefit of integrating your design and construction team is to begin procurement immediately. That means, because you know that your design team is carefully directing the process, you can actually start purchasing right away and find savings on nearly every piece of equipment (pre-reserved), every bit of material (also starting the long-lead-time wheels turning). (Being this committed to a project means that your long-lead-time items just might be ready for use once you are done with the design phase.)
Projects are won or lost in preconstruction. A bad estimate can doom an entire company. A long-lead-time item can frustrate the whole project. That is why companies that want the project to succeed must use the design build method. The living, breathing, and ever dynamic design build process allows for decisions to be made sooner, orders to be placed while design is in progress, and cash flow to be evened out.
Procurement can be the bane of your project’s existence or be a place for real savings. Going the design build route enables you to start procurement right away, finding the best prices, starting long-lead-time items being ordered right away, and enabling a cashflow plan.
Having these items planned in advance is nearly the only way to pick up speed on a project and recover from issues that arise.
Once you’re past the design and procurement phase, construction management kicks in. Who will be the one watching your project with a skillful, strict, and expert oversight to make sure there is little waste, subcontractors are doing what they promised contractually, and the project is moving forward? A construction project manager can do all these things for any client, given empowerment, teeth to enforce contractual language, and updates when needed.
Construction managers create the schedule, ensure quality control and quality assurance, schedule with inspectors, document the site, keep the site and its workers safe, and act as a liaison to owner’s reps, inspectors, and anyone else that steps foot on the site.
If you want a hands-off kind of project, where you do not have to babysit anyone, let a construction manager take over at this point. Because you are dealing with a design build firm, you have the luxury of dealing with a single contractual point. Don’t think quality is up to snuff? Call the construction manager. Think things are going too slowly? Speed dial the construction manager. Ready to congratulate someone for a job well done? Use the well-worn path and that same number.
Not only is full accountability one of the main benefits of a design build firm, but it also transfers liability squarely onto one set of shoulders. As an owner, that kind of responsibility is a thing of beauty. Of course, the subcontractors used in the project still warrant their work, but you will never have to deal with them or enforce anything; the construction manager will. Truly the construction manager becomes an integral part of your team, an agent to get action done on your behalf.
If you do not have problems or challenges, then you do not have a project.
The only difficult part about projects is doing them. But how can you get anywhere without actually building something through construction?
The most perilous, changing, and challenging part of a project is to work through the entire construction process from groundbreaking with real flesh-and-blood workers in a genuine site to doing final finishes, installations, and commissioning. Your project is no longer only the brilliant ideas on a blueprint in an AutoCAD studio; now it has a real-world footprint, safety hazards, liability concerns, need for highly-skilled leadership, and a schedule that can burn through money.
It is because of all of this that what happens in the design studio has to be built into reality. And it takes a wealth of know-how, strong discipline of your team, a steady eye on safety, and continual quality assurance to do things right. If your construction management company does not have real world construction experience, then it is time to find a new one. A true design build firm has been around the block before, actively and successfully mitigating the risk and overcoming challenges that will always present themselves in any construction phase of the project. This is not amateur hour, but it is the time to do things right in construction.
5. Close Out
The final step, close out, on a project becomes a thing of beauty if you have used the design build process. Close out can be a joy to walk through, if done rightly, for three reasons:
A. Efficiency in a single contract
B. Advantage of quality assurance throughout
C. Ownership in every phase
A. Efficiency in a single contract.
When you have a design build contract, as mentioned above, you only have to know one phone number to get things done, motivate the team, and demand responsibility. The further benefit is that—with everything under one roof—the close out documentation, waivers, lien releases, warranties, and job documentation (such as shop drawings, submittals, and as builts) are in one place, ready to be submitted for final approval. It is a workflow that simply builds upon what has already been done by that same design build firm already. No running around to come up with something to satisfy the customer because these documents will already have been done and curated for the duration of the project.
B. Advantage of quality assurance throughout.
How easy is it to focus on quality when you know that you are also the one who has to demonstrate it at the end of the day for final commissioning? If you know that the documents you do now, the quality checks you enact, and the painstaking work to get things right the first time will have a double benefit at the end of the project, why would anyone ever want to use something other than a design build firm? The design build firm is constantly being more and more efficient by getting at least two purposes out of every document and quality check. In both getting the requirement completed and having final close out documentation done early on in the project, the commissioning and hand off portion will be much better all around.
C. Ownership in every phase.
It all boils down to one word: ownership. What design build firms and contracts do is to instill ownership of your project into the people associated with it. Yes, this is your project, but with design build, it truly becomes ours as well. If there were ever a 3rd party contractor that acts more like a full-fledged employee, it is the design build team. We know we can save time and money for you, our client, do doubly-efficient documentation and quality work in preparation for commissioning and hand off, and that it is we who are on the hook to make the project move. Furthermore, any problems that arise and liability during the project are squarely centered on our shoulders. We have the burden to make things right and to do them in a safe way for everyone involved. It is because for a brief, wonderful time, we too are the owners for your project.
DO THE WORK WITH A DESIGN BUILD FIRM
There is simply no better way to save time and money and ensure highest quality than to use a design build firm. The ownership instilled into the contractor by this unique process means that your project will be the best one it can be and that you have motivated your business partner to produce as if it were our own.
As mentioned earlier, a do-it-all comic superhero character may lose readership after having done it all, but a design build construction firm can smooth out the treacherous process of construction so that it is a boring and uneventful one for you, the owner. This kind of doing it all is worth reading about.
Here at Constructable we are a design build firm, empowered to both create and manage all phases of a project. Whenever we are awarded a project, we know it is no small thing; every single staff member begins the process of getting our clients what they want through all means available to us. We take your project and make it our own because we know it is our name on the project too. Everywhere we build we want it known that we get our customers what they want. We are building a reputation of success and ownership as a team. We want you to be a part of it too.
Click HERE to start your design build project today.