By Mike Zaruches, Senior Electrical Estimator, The Austin Company
Every project starts with a plan. But, as the translated Scottish poem goes, the best-laid plans often go awry. This holds true for design-build projects.
Project success relies on complex teams of owners, architects, engineers, construction managers, and trade contractors. Coordination takes on new meaning when changes occur. Whether due to client requests, scope development, code requirements, or existing conditions, how the team responds is vital to a successful outcome.
What-if Options. While the team goes to great lengths to design the perfect building right out of the gate, there are things that can‘t be anticipated. To remain prepared, the design and construction team must constantly consider alternative design solutions throughout the project and keep options on the table for what-if scenarios when required.
Collaboration. Because changes can have a ripple effect throughout the project, it is crucial to have a strong leader and collaborate not only on the solution but during its implementation. Solutions should integrate the integrity of the design team‘s original intent and our client‘s desired outcome. The Austin Company values collaboration so highly that we have incorporated it into our core values.
Early Engagement. Identifying potential changes as early in the process as possible is critical. Transparency with all stakeholders is the foundation of a trusted partnership. Communicating early and often with the client and design-build team avoids costly delays.
Expertise in Problem Solving. Problem solving is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Every time the team faces a challenge, the process of developing a solution adds to their knowledge bank. The resulting stockpile of information is an invaluable resource. Assembling a strong team, including resources that bring a fresh set of eyes to problem–solving, is essential to achieving a viable solution.
It is not a matter of if your project will undergo a change of plan – but when. Up-front planning, generating options, ongoing collaboration, early engagement, and a strong problem-solving team can help reduce cost overruns and time delays. From site selection through project closeout, planning is key to meeting critical milestones and achieving overall success.