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Success From The Start: Keys to Pre-Construction Planning for Owners and Architects

| May 30, 2018

by Tom Howes

It’s one thing when a concept for a potential construction project is abandoned early on by choice. Maybe the inspiration was a good one but the market forces weren’t favorable, the timing wasn’t right or you simply decided to put your resources elsewhere. These are all valid reasons to opt out of moving forward. No harm, no foul.

But It’s a different matter entirely when countless architect hours and considerable management resources have already been poured into developing designs for a project you intended to build, only to have everything collapse when the project goes out to bid and comes back wildly over budget. At that point you are left with a set of pretty drawings and a decision to make of how much more to spend to adapt to what the market says the project will cost.

One of the best ways for owners and architects to avoid this highly disruptive outcome is to add an experienced, qualified construction manager to the team from the very beginning to provide specialized preconstruction services.

At Delphi we take a team approach to our projects from the preconstruction phase right through the bidding and construction process.  We like to combine the efforts of our Business Development with Project Development and estimating so the client and their project get all the attention they deserve.

Speaking for Delphi, we are able to come alongside as part of the team to offer detailed estimating and budgeting throughout all phases of design, as well as rigorous constructability assessments, cost savings strategies and solutions, comprehensive phasing and logistics plans and more.

I certainly don’t want to diminish the value of the work of any professional estimator but there is much more to consider in project development than just estimating the cost of the bricks and sticks.

Things like site or constructability challenges, material costs trends, projected labor availability etc. These may not even be considered when producing a simple estimate but they can all dramatically affect real costs and threaten the viability of the project itself when it goes out to bid.

By bringing a construction manager in to work as part of the team from the beginning, we can work together to make sure everything is on track and progressing towards a comprehensive, accurate and optimized budget to ensure a successful outcome.

Working as a team, we can identify and avoid potential pitfalls ahead of time, apply construction expertise and adapt the plan before it progresses too far in a wrong direction.We are able to offer these services to clients and architects whether the award process leads to a negotiated contract or a select bid list.

Delphi may be a bit unusual in that we are a construction manager that got its start on the OPM (Owner Project Manager) side of the business. That “client first” mentality is still very much embedded in our DNA. Our goal is to make sure the client has a successful final product regardless of whether we are the ones to build it.

Oftentimes, as a result of the work we provide and the relationship that is developed during preconstruction, the client will choose to negotiate a contract with us or perhaps even convert to a GMP contract approach with our True Open Book Framework™. But even If the client does choose to go out to bid to other GCs, we always feel very confident that with the detailed information we have helped develop, we will be very competitive against invited bidders.

Tom Howes

Tom Howes is director of business development for Delphi Construction

 

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