Today we have a guest post from the folks at McCree General Contractors and Architects, located in Orlando. The McCree folks, naturally enough, think Design-Build has many features that make it advantageous over the traditional Design-Bid-Build method. Here are their thoughts:
Many construction projects are designed by an architect, and once the client is happy with the design a contractor is then hired to build it. While the client may have been told one estimate by the architect, once the contractor gets the plans the costs may change. There may be aspects of the design execution the architect didn’t think about, or parts that won’t work with the landscape of the construction site. This can result in changes to the original design, higher costs, and delaying of the project. Not to mention the frustration this can create for everyone involved.
Because of these obstacles that often arise between architecture firm and contractor firm, many people are now turning to a Design-Build Construction Firm. At these firms, the architects, designers, and contractors work together from the beginning. The firm takes responsibility for the project in its entirety, from design to execution. If the architect makes and adjustment to a design, the contractor will be right there to let him know if this may violate a regulation or if it won’t work with the topography of the site. Adjustments can be made without ever involving the client. The price quoted is more likely to be accurate, because a contractor and project manager will have also agreed that this design can be executed in the space allotted. There is no finger pointing and blaming the other firm, leaving the client in the middle, frustrated and spending more money than he originally thought. A Design-Build firm is also easier on the client because he only needs to contact one project manager. This streamlined process leads to a more efficiently run project, and efficiently run projects typically cost less and are finished quicker.
A Design-Build firm is advantageous for the client also because these firms typically allow the client to be as involved as he wants. As the design is developed and changed according to the client’s specifications, the contractor will be on hand to let the client and architect know if these changes are possible. There is no need for ordering design changes, which an architect working on his own would charge the client for. Because the contractor works for the firm, and not for himself, he is not looking to protect his own self-interest once building starts. Since the contractor has been involved from the beginning, there should be no surprises or setbacks once ground is broken. If there are, the Design-Build firm should take responsibility, instead of the contractor telling the client to go back to the architect.
All the decisions regarding the design and building of a project will be taken into account from the very beginning with a Design-Build firm. When using separate design and contractor firms, an architect will simply tell the client what will be the most cost effective design, and then a contractor will decide the most cost effective way to build this design. The schedule of the contractor’s team is not on the architect’s mind, and the contractor may not know the most cost effective materials needed to execute the design. These problems are also eliminated with a Design-Build firm. The experience of the team, quality and availability of materials and schedule of the contractor and construction crews are also taken into consideration from the very beginning of the project. This further streamlines the process, making it quicker and more painless for everyone involved.
Melissa again: Design-Build projects definitely present unique opportunities, and unique challenges. If you are considering entering into a design-build contract, considering a joint venture with a contractor on a project, or otherwise undertaking a corporate organizational change, make sure you have a good lawyer (or three) on board for the myriad issues that such ventures present.
Now it’s your turn: What do you think? Is Design-Build the next best thing since sliced bread? Have you had issues, problems, or good results as part of a Design-Build team? Share your thoughts below.
Copyright Info for Shutterstock Photo: Image ID: 61778761 Copyright: sam100
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my blog readers! Rather than yet-another-boring-tree photo, I thought I’d share this photo of a squirrel and his nuts, because *every* family has at least a few nuts, right? Here’s hoping you get to spend some down time this season with your family, nuts & all!
Photo (c) Johnny Berg
Eight is the Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia. It contains many buildings that seems incomplete. Patched by a bunch of metal plates with various patterns, the square is lacking a wholesome building.
Welcome Back! The “regular season” of Construction Law in NC blog posts has now officially started.
Recently, I had the privilege of writing on the subject of Private, Single Panel Arbitration on Chris Hill’s blog. Please read the article if haven’t already.
The first issue of my brand-spanking new newsletter, The Construction Professional, went out yesterday to those on the email list. If you want to be one of the cool kids, be sure to sign up now by visiting the right hand side of the blog. (Or, you can simply shoot me an email at mbrumback at rl-law dot com).
Finally, today’s post is a guest post by Susan Wells. Susan is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle and personal finance. She often researches and writes about automobile, property and health insurance, helping consumers find free insurance quotes, and the best protection available. Susan and I welcome your thoughts and comments on this article.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) sits on a 90-acre parcel of land in South Carolina. The research facility is dedicated to advancing building science by evaluating various residential and commercial construction materials and systems.
In layman’s terms, IBHS builds things and then attempts to destroy them by recreating conditions of natural disasters. In a studio-like production, the laboratory builds houses and then submits them to fire, wind, ice and water damage.
The IBHS research center even has a few videos on YouTube that demonstrate the effects of wind damage and fire.
This destruction is an integral part of the construction industry as insurers work to identify risks and mitigate them through improved materials and structures. IBHS President Julie Rochman explains that the research center allows them to produce controlled experiments that are not being conducted anywhere else in the world. No longer forced to rely on case studies or opinions, the IBHS can record its findings and actively search for (and test) stronger systems.
Engineer Scott Sundberg explains the value of the research center in a single sentence, saying, “One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.”
To those at the IBHC, the information produced by these experiments is essential to advancing a sustainable community. Using hard data and conclusive evidence, such large-scale and detail oriented research allows the insurance and construction markets to focus on effective mitigation techniques. The average consumer will also have more access to product knowledge and has the potential to become more informed about products and strategies that can make their homes and buildings safer.
“Predictability and reliability of building materials and information is extremely important to the sustainability of the community, “says Mississippi Housing Director Gerald Bessey.
“Collectively as we apply these to public policy decisions and as the market place makes market choices. I think the market will react to good information that’s reliable and stable.”
In insurance underwriting laboratories like IBHS, disaster resistant and energy efficient technologies are merging to produce a new definition of sustainability.
Admittedly, there are few market standards for “green” products, and the FTC is actively working to mitigate the damage caused by “greenwashed” products that touted false claims of durability and environmental benefit. For uninformed consumers and construction managers, the wrong green system could put building structure at risk.
Some elements, such as vegetative roofs, can actually serve as fuel for fires or pose a threat under high winds. The IBHS proposes that energy efficiency and structural durability can work in tandem to create a truly sustainable product: one that will be environmentally friendly yet resilient in the face of environmental disasters.
One such recommendation is retrofitting older homes. Owners can replace windows and doors with energy efficient and wind resistant materials and seal energy leaks. Simple weatherization steps can actually help the average homeowner reach a new level of sustainability without rebuilding their home using entirely new green technology.
Interestingly, there are green insurance policies that allow policy holders to rebuild after a disaster using green upgrades. This would allow for recycling of debris, LEED certification as well as coverage for new appliances.
Most insurance policies do not currently consider products like wind-resistant glass to be a green upgrade, but as research begins to define standards of sustainability, it’s only a matter of time before green technologies and resistant materials merge to produce the highest standards of construction.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Drop me an email or leave your musings below.
Here’s hoping that each of you gets to spend some nice R&R time with family & friends. See ya on the flip side! ~ Melissa
In the meantime, if you have any burning construction law questions, shoot me an email or leave a comment below!
Photo (c) Donald J. Bergquist via Creative Commons license.