Aggressive Schedule, Quality Construction & Competitive Pricing… How to Get All 3 (Part 1)

There is an old saying in our industry that you can deliver a construction project with one or two of the following qualities but not all three:

1. Aggressive schedule
2. Quality construction
3. Competitive pricing

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At Harman Construction we think it is possible to do all three, but not without careful planning and a project that is set up for success right from the start.

In this post I will address the first one on the list – schedule.

Often we have clients that are clear from the start that schedule is not important and they want the necessary time taken to plan and build without feeling rushed. While that is a great way to build, it is not the norm. In the current economic environment we find ourselves in, and the global competition that many of our clients face, schedule is very important. Some of the most common factors in the need for an aggressive schedule include the following:

  • The client needs space to capitalize on a new opportunity quickly
  • The approval process for financing or site plan approval takes so long that the construction schedule gets squeezed
  • The corporate, board or committee process for approval takes a long time

So how do we get the most out of the schedule without sacrificing price and quality? I believe the answer is collaborative, design build construction. When a team of professionals are joined together with common goals and values, amazing things can happen.

What are the ingredients needed for a successful collaborative project? I would suggest the following:

  • A design build contractor with a reputation for integrity and delivering results, to lead the team
  • The client ready to participate with prompt supply of information and resources
  • Design consultants with experience in the project type including (if applicable) architectural, structural, civil, mechanical and electrical
  • Project kick off meeting that defines expectation and produces a master schedule for all design, budget, permit approval and construction activities
  • When final pricing is completed, utilizing subcontractors that have a proven track record for meeting expectations.

When the team is in place and the expectations have been set, the key to fast track scheduling is concurrent scheduling of activities. As schematic design is established, Civil engineering activities will proceed while construction documents and project budgets are being established.

It is key that the design build GC update the project budget early enough in the process to allow for revisions to design and value engineering to happen. This is critical so we can hit the target in regards to price while still moving the project forward.

Regular team coordination meetings are held to make sure design entities are well coordinated. Local building officials are consulted early to make sure we have buy in to the process and don’t catch them by surprise.

Once the project has broken ground, the project is kicked off with a detailed schedule that was presented to the team of subcontractors early in the process for accountability.

Regular coordination meetings are critical for establishing short and long term schedule goals. Often foundation and structural work is started while finishes are still being established in some cases. This makes the design build contractor even more critical since the responsibility for design and construction is their responsibility.

It is truly exciting to be a part of a project team that has energy created by team members pulling their weight and the satisfaction that comes from delivering results for our client. The most important factor in delivering these results is clear communication and expedited responses to questions that arise during the process.

Does your project have aggressive schedule requirements? Call us. We are ready to deliver “all three” and we can’t wait to get started.

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