March 2019

Maximize Project Collaboration Using the Design-Build Delivery Method

2019-03-19T08:12:19-04:00March 19th, 2019|Project News, Thought Leadership|

Design-build has grown in popularity the last few years since Ohio legislation made it available to public entities. It certainly has its advantages by giving the owner one single point of contact throughout the entire project, as well as providing opportunities for cost and schedule savings. We discussed these particular benefits in a previous blog post here.

Now that the new water treatment plant is complete for the Village of Yellow Springs in Ohio, we would like to share some specific examples of how design-build maximizes project collaboration.

Water Resources Construction

During Design and Preconstruction

Under the design-build umbrella, the construction and design firms work together with the owner to maximize the project budget.  Constructability and schedule issues are identified during design and value-added solutions then can be incorporated. 

In this case, we continually analyzed various design approaches to ultimately arrive at the most efficient concept ensuring the project stayed within the Village’s borrowing ceiling. One of those enhancements included relocating the new building to minimize yard piping and electrical wiring.

During Construction

Another advantage of design-build is that the owner has a single point of contact.  When design problems arise, the owner is not positioned between the designer and contractor, along with the possibility of added project costs.  Design-build usually involves a Gross Maximum Price (GMP) for which the project will be both designed and constructed. In addition, a contingency is used for unanticipated costs and any savings often are shared between the owner and design-builder.  This results in a project cost profile that decreases as a function of time, unlike traditional design-bid-build where cost increases with time.

Additionally, we collaborated with the designer to develop a 3D construction sequencing model, specifically as it relates to the concrete pours. This allowed us to not only visualize the placement of the concrete, but how the timing may affect other areas of the project. The 3D model also allowed the client to visualize the interior of the process building and confirm that the design provided ease of operations and maintenance. 

To learn more, we invite you to attend our conference session on April 11th as part of the Design-Build for Water/Wastewater Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Shook Construction proudly partnered with designer Jones & Henry. The team also included D.A.G. Construction, Chapel Electric and Dmytryka Jacobs Engineers.

February 2019

Employee Spotlight: Kyle Canon

2019-02-25T15:02:58-05:00February 25th, 2019|Employee Spotlights|

Kyle Canon understands the importance of teamwork and project collaboration. Having worked in multiple positions himself, he is a firm supporter of learning about the different types of work performed on site. This has helped him tackle problems and perform his best work.

Briefly describe your career path to date.

I’ve worked in multiple market channels since I started my career. In each channel, I’ve had different roles such as estimator, project engineer, and superintendent. Each position taught me a great deal about construction.

Construction can be a challenging business. Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

Challenges can be tackled when we work as a team and successfully implement project collaboration. There are always several disciplines on site. Instead of working individually, we unite, communicate, and do an outstanding job.

What is the most important thing you do each day when prepping for your work day?

I like to start each morning by making my to do list and determining the order of importance. This is a great way to keep me organized. It also helps me keep track of the products that have been approved, as well as their scheduled installation. Tracking this ensures that we stay on schedule with installations.

Who inspires you?

My dad has always been my greatest role model.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in the last year?

Never be afraid to ask questions. Construction is complex; it’s better to be certain how to do something rather than guessing. The more you know helps you and the team perform at a higher level.

What piece of technology helps you most with your job? And why?

At Summa [Health’s Akron City Hospital] West Tower, CAD and the modeling programs were tremendous in helping me do my job. While I was not the operator of these programs, they were key in my management of the envelope team coordination. These programs allowed each team member to confidently install the steel embeds, structural steel, curtain wall embeds, curtain walls and envelope framing/finish systems.

October 2018

Key to Success: Project Collaboration

2018-10-12T15:55:17-04:00October 12th, 2018|Client Service|

As any sports fan knows, there is no “I” in “team.” Our favorite teams have proved this time and again—individual talents are sought out, then joined with others to create a force to be reckoned with. The most successful teams have been victorious because they recognize the importance of unity and comradery. Victory cannot be secured if one player walks out onto the field alone. The power is in the collective abilities of the whole.

Construction work is no different. When our team walks onto a jobsite, we work together to provide the best results for our clients and keep each other safe. This is especially important on mission critical projects. Due to the complexity of these facilities, which range from data centers to telecommunications buildings and more, we emphasize the importance of working together—and building a cross-disciplined team to deliver the work successfully.

Shook works with subcontractors that specialize in mechanics, electrical engineering, and plumbing to ensure that the necessary building environment is maintained for operation. It is critical that the system continues to properly function during construction since most clients do not have the luxury of closing for several months. Therefore, we work closely with them and our subcontractors to guarantee a smooth process.

Data centers, telecommunications buildings, and call centers are all critically dependent on their mechanical and electrical systems to maintain the building environment necessary for operation. Collaboration is key on these projects—that is why we work with specialty contractors from the MEP trades to add value early in the process. This is exemplified by a recent project our team worked on for University Hospitals. When we were working on the project, we enlisted outside help that enhanced the planning and execution.

This team was able to achieve real results. With all hands-on deck, we managed to finish our University Hospitals data center upgrade six weeks earlier than planned. This saved our client a great deal of time and money.

We recognize that some projects require special attention and have different needs that we cannot always provide. By seeking out experts and working closely with them in the building process, we have improved our work, given our customers’ positive experiences, and even better facilities to work in. Not only is that a win for the client, but a win for us as well!



October 2017

Employee Spotlight: Joe Weaver

2017-03-27T15:44:01-04:00October 12th, 2017|Employee Spotlights|

Joe Weaver

Joe grew up working with his hands. He worked with his father every summer throughout junior and high school in remodeling. After starting his professional career as a lead installer and carpenter, he eventually joined the Shook team as a project superintendent where he currently oversees multiple projects at the University of Dayton.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I enjoy the changing environment and the personal gratification of seeing a project through completion. I believe that my inspiration originated when I became a young father and having to step up to the plate. But at the end of the day, my own father is who inspired me and the pursuit of purpose is what continues to drive me today.

Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

I lean towards a collaborative solution, reaching out to a group to solve challenges after I have analyzed them myself. I try to look at what may have caused the issue and then train the team and give them a chance to take ownership in the solution.

What is the most important thing you do each day when prepping for your workday?

Drink coffee! Then I break out attainable tasks to fit in between what already might be slated for the day.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

Reliability, communication, passion, innovation and consistency.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

The finalization of a research and development laboratory at the University of Dayton. This nine-month, multiple phase project consisted of heavy coordination of two shifts of construction work… all while maintaining occupancy of the existing building.

Who inspires you?

Mostly, my wife and daughter. They give me a reason to be.

August 2017

New Cleveland Office: Same Company, New Vibe

2017-08-03T09:27:16-04:00August 3rd, 2017|Corporate Events|

New Cleveland Office Foyer/ Reception Area

Shook has been a staple in Northeast Ohio for more than 30 years. Over that period, we have evolved. In the beginning, we were strictly a hard bid, self-perform contractor almost exclusively performing public work. Now, we are a multi-faceted construction service provider working with both public and private clients. As our operations have matured and diversified, it became necessary to upgrade our office environment to reflect the heightened brand of our organization.

When selecting a new office space, it also was important to consider other aspects vital to our overall success, including: geography, collaboration areas, employee recruitment/retention, natural lighting and technology.


Brecksville, a suburb of Cleveland, has been our home for many years. While we considered relocating to several areas throughout the region, it didn’t make sense for us for many reasons. Located in Cuyahoga County, Brecksville continues to provide us efficient service to all of Northeast Ohio with easy access to several major roadways. In addition, it is central to all of our current employees’ homes.

Overall, this move provided an opportunity to redefine our perception within the community and to create a work environment that would improve the employee’s experience.

Office Layout

Given the nomadic nature of our staff’s schedules as they move from one job site to the next, we incorporated flexible spaces that adapt to the frequent moving around of our teammates.

We wanted to better support collaboration among our team. The new office houses one large executive conference room, a smaller more private conference room, a break room, a collaboration space with high top tables and a TV, and a lounge space with comfortable seating. These areas encourage employees to work together outside of their office spaces, which also sparks creativity.

New Cleveland Office Break Room

To brighten up the entire space, the office includes large windows along the perimeter which allows extensive natural light into the space.


Our overarching goal was to celebrate our people, our work, our vision/mission, and our core values. As such, you will find pictures of our past projects sprinkled throughout the office, as well pictures of our craftspeople performing their tasks. In addition, we have included a mural of a Shook crane in one of our collaboration spaces.

New Cleveland Office Hallway

In addition, we wanted to celebrate our connection with the local region. We selected artwork from a local artist, which highlight notable local sites.

These images combined help portray our corporate message in a subtle and tactful way.

New Cleveland Office Lounge Area

September 2015

Integrated Teams Boost Success on Construction Projects

2015-09-09T08:22:51-04:00September 9th, 2015|Client Service, Thought Leadership|

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.