CONSTRUCTION, CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT, AND DESIGN/BUILD
The term Construction Management has been interpreted differently by various groups throughout the construction industry. Essentially, a designer/coordinator works directly for a client and serves as a liaison between the client and a general contractor or a group of subcontractors.
Typically, a client engaged in a Construction Management contract has experience with past projects and is comfortable in knowing what to expect from the entire process. These clients know what values to look for and what tools and procedures should be followed in order to gain the most advantages for their upcoming project.
Construction Management contracts vary by assigning certain risks and responsibilities to different parties involved and with the appropriate compensations assigned respectively. The contracts and subcontracts among all involved parties should be cross-referenced so that each party is aware of the project schedule for drawings, scheduling timelines, addendums, etc.
Many of the advantages found in the Design/Build delivery approach are also present in the Construction Management approach. A sophisticated client can even elect to act as their own general contractor and save considerable money by avoiding the marked-up cost of purchased materials and subcontracts. This situation requires exacting contract documents that define assignments of risks, duties, insurance and timing of performance.
The following essential fiduciary duties are then the responsibility of the Construction Manager:
A Construction Manager should strive to procure the most qualified entities to perform the work and to communicate to each of them the needs of the clients. This communication provides a sound basis to insure all involved take pride in providing the best materials and performance during construction.
Once an achievable budget is established among the client, subcontractors and suppliers, a realistic schedule of deliverables should be created. From that point, strict maintenance can be applied by exact attention to the construction documents and monthly reports can be generated on performance. These guidelines can guard against overruns and help recognize potential savings.
Besides the obvious milestones any project schedule provides, diligence is required on timing for submittal reviews, material deliveries and physical site management issues on the critical path element of the project schedule. Any possible pitfalls noticed in ‘look ahead’ exercises in the schedule should be met with immediate responses in communication to all parties and potential remedies identified in order to protect costs and construction time.
Continual review of work in place as compared to the work scheduled in the contract documents is required to avoid conflicts and repair any discrepancies as quickly as possible.
DESIGN / BUILD
This construction project delivery method, known as Design/Build, has gathered momentum over the last 30 years. This change is due primarily to our society’s transformation into the information/knowledge age. This transition is largely characterized by a substantial acceleration of timing. We now expect greater proficiencies and more efficient communication in both our business and social habits. Thus, it naturally occurs that Client/Owner groups expect to save money on their construction projects as it correlates to these evolving dynamics in our society.
Many construction companies now offer services they label as Design/Build and most are similar in nature. The primary difference at Rodney R. Roberts, AIA and Rodric Properties Construction Group, LLC is that our construction business is led by a principal that is actually a registered architect. Most groups that offer Design/Build services hire an architect who is expected to fully integrate with their own firm in order to form one contracting entity for the duration of just a single project. While this practice is fairly common within the industry, it does not take into consideration the future needs of a project. By having the principal of the owner group as the architect who manages every phase of the project, the benefits to the client are obvious over the lifetime of the building. By being available to address subsequent needs that may arise in the years to follow the completion of a project, the principal/architect provides added value to the client that cannot be guaranteed when working with a construction firm who hires out the original design process.
ADVANTAGES OF DESIGN/BUILD DELIVERY PROCESS
The only common element found within the Design/Build approach and the traditional Design/Bid/Build approach in the design and construction of a project is the initial exchange of information between the client and the architect.
This exchange of information should reveal that the advantages available in the Design/Build approach are more suited for a client’s specific needs. In simple terms, the client becomes a partner in all aspects and phases of the project delivery. While it is more of a time investment on the client’s part, the advantages to this process are significant. Simply stated, the client becomes a partner in all aspects of the project delivery.
Early processing of the client’s budget and design criteria provide a solid initial foundation for the project to progress upon. Fast-tracking the project within the Design/Build approach can save 30 to 35% of a typical, critical path timeline over the traditional Design/Bid/Build approach. This can save a lot of money in the General Conditions cost of a project.
Single source processing of initial project information reduces the chance for misunderstandings and elements of scope missing in the initial programming. This saves both time and money by avoiding costly change orders during construction.
Accurate early job-costing enables our clients to work with their respective financial networks in order to incorporate the project cost into their overall business budgets.
Construction costs are minimized by integrating known cost-effective materials and methods, referred to as value engineering.
Design and engineering fees are minimized by being determined initially with the early design and value engineering of the project.
The potential for litigation is also minimized by eliminating the adversarial roles of a separate designer and a separate contractor.
Integrated Project Scheduling at the outset of the project provides a valuable road map for all the partners of the team, including the client, to know who is responsible for each aspect of the project and when they should be occurring. By initially establishing a time line of completion dates, accurate scheduling saves the client both time and money.