Construction savvy owners have increased their demand for turn-key services and a greater level of detailed information far earlier in the project planning process. This has led designers and contractors to increase their focus on collaboration in order to provide not only planning and design services, but also budgeting and constructability support that help guide and define the design. Given this new dynamic, there are elements of which owners should be aware when hiring design and construction partners for a project.
The best partnerships are intentional.
Because of the complexity of planning, budgeting and executing the design and construction of many types of projects, leading owners are increasingly looking for integrated design and construction teams to deliver a turn-key service. Designers and contractors strategically align to respond to these opportunities. The most successful partnerships (and projects) are those composed of firms that have identified each other as a cultural fit and are intentionally looking for opportunities to work together.
As an example, several years ago Shook Construction identified a design firm whose resume rivaled our own. By identifying and intentionally building a relationship with a firm who shared our capabilities and culture, we built a partnership whose people work well together and deliver great value for our clients.
The delivery method doesn’t matter.
IPD, CMR, GC, D-B. You can play acronym Bingo with the number and varieties of delivery methods that exist in the market. What is important is that delivery strategy prevents the early engagement of a turnkey team. Owners will find that intelligent design and construction firms are willing to provide upfront support and counsel, regardless of the preferred contractual method, because it is the best opportunity to learn and understand the client’s business. This enables them to show maximum value during the selection phase of the project and win the customer’s business.
Shook Construction is willing to provide such initial support for little or no compensation because we have found time and again that our willingness to get involved early and provide value increases the likelihood of the project moving forward, which enhances the opportunity that we will be able to do the work.
Master planning and conceptual estimating are the new normal.
On the design side, owners aren’t looking just for architectural or engineering services; they also want to understand how the new or upgraded facility fits today’s business needs and how it can accommodate future growth. Designers must be capable of providing this long-term planning support as a baseline service offering.
From a construction stand-point, the ability to provide real-market feedback on both the price and schedule is an invaluable planning tool for the owner’s financial forecasting. To provide this support with the little information available at the master plan phase, contractors must become more sophisticated at conceptual estimating, providing detailed cost data by filling in the blanks of the design and making educated assumptions about the project.
The construction industry continues to evolve as owners require increasingly more in-depth planning and data to inform their near- and long-term facility’s needs. Hiring companies that can understand the key points discussed above and can embrace this new normal will provide the best service and solutions.