An Integrated Healthcare Design Build Team: Less Waste, Fewer Surprises, Faster Decisions

November 21, 2014  |  Troy Seanor AIA

We believe that that design build project delivery is the best option for delivering complex healthcare projects. By removing silos, design-build results in lower overall costs and faster speed to market. In this series, we discuss several reasons why this approach generates superior solutions for healthcare providers.

General contractor participation at the very beginning of a project is the defining advantage of design-build. Moreover, by bringing the entire team onboard at the beginning, each team member shares a baseline understanding of the project. This approach enables the team to avoid the waste that typically accrues through onboarding team members at different times or rethinking previous decisions. When working in concert, a properly formed team reaches enlightened decisions more rapidly, and a teaming agreement crafted with full team participation serves as a touchstone throughout the course of the project.

Along with the owner, key members of the integrated project team collectively develop a pull schedule after reviewing the proposed schedule. When all parties participate in decision-making, there are fewer surprises and more predictable results. Consensus agreement on commitments made during the pull scheduling workshop serve as the cornerstone for all subsequent 5D modeling (3D building modeling with the additions of construction cost and construction time). The team continues to meet in person once a week, at a minimum, during the project design.

An integrated team approach also eliminates duplicated efforts, another key tenet of lean practice. For example, the team is able to fully identify and fully integrate interstitial ceiling space zones, tolerances around architectural/structural items, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing distribution lines into the Revit model. This eliminates conflicts and competition for space when the project moves into construction. With this platform, the team works together during design, develops alternative solutions, and verifies cost, quantity, and schedule impacts in real time. The level of intelligence embedded within the Revit model allows for cost benefit analysis related to evaluating non-traditional, time and cost-reducing pre-fabrication options that span several disciplines.

Due to the truly integrated composition of the design-build team, the phase shift from design to construction is almost invisible when compared to traditional design-bid-build delivery. This difference becomes starkly apparent when projects are fast-tracked. Time traditionally allocated to bidding disappears, in some cases shaving months from project schedules. Because the team makes product decisions collectively, we eliminate the product surprise factor and lengthy product submittal reviews. Co-location of the architect and general contractor means that field condition issues that may arise are immediately resolved. Because the owner has a single point of contact, response time is lean and immediate, in itself a huge improvement over lengthy back and forth initiation and rebuttal as seen in traditional project delivery. Time and energy otherwise spent negotiating conflicts of interest inherent in a traditional framework are now converted into positive, problem solving action.

Download our Guide To Design Build Project Delivery

ABOUT THE AUTHOR                        Troy Seanor AIA
0553Troy Seanor is a leader of FreemanWhite’s architectural group and a member of its management team. Healthcare facility design has been the sole focus of his professional career, and from initial conception to final detail coordination, he maintains quality control and design integrity through his continuous project involvement. In addition, Troy has faced the challenge of restrictive time schedules and budgets with successful, innovative designs that have exceeded client expectations.

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