Build Your Team Early, Part 2: integrated project delivery advantages

As mentioned in our earlier blog, Build Your Team Early Part 1, we constantly advise new clients to select a builder early to take advantage of integrated project delivery. We know, we know… the readers are asking, “Well, what are those advantages?”

Collaboration through integrated project delivery approach.

It’s important to select a builder who’s aligned with your mission and interested in building relationships with your organization. At MWA, we like the builder involved early and often during the design process. Collaboration during the design phase sets the tone for the entire project. It also ensures that when the final pricing is complete and construction begins, the process is a seamless and non-adversarial. We recommend that you pay your General Contractor a pre-construction fee, which is generally nominal. They are very appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the team.

Higher quality team (avoiding the lowest bidder).

You may get a low price by pitting general contractors against each other in a hard bid after the design documents are complete, but it also means you may be stuck with the lowest bidder. Many owners find that the “B team” impacts the project with negative consequences during construction… from the general contractor down to the subcontractors selected. In other words, the bid approach usually assures that the cheapest (not the best quality) subcontractors are included in the project. On the other hand, when you negotiate with a preferred General Contractor early in the process, you’re able to bring the best team into the process.

Open book pricing.

Based on the integrated project delivery method, the General Contractor will disclose their profit and operating costs early in the process.  So, if that is deemed a “fair” market value then the Owner has all the rest of subcontractor pricing available to them through an open book process.

Subcontractor relationships.

An aligned builder will bring the best subcontractors into the process – those that have excelled in the past and have the Owner’s best interest in mind.  These subcontractors have integrity, and are invited into the design process early to provide insightful options to the design team. Good subcontractors are eager to interact early the process, and quickly become a contributor to the integrated project delivery approach.

Design logistics balanced with project costs.

Another key part of this early engagement is that the project team will jointly test the logistics of one design idea with another. At MWA, we relish this dialog. The conceptual design is an opportunity to explore all of our options. A good General Contractor will facilitate this. Also, cost estimating is done early and often with the Architect being a contributor with our BIM design model with easy take offs for the builder to evaluate costing. This interaction about design versus cost for your project fosters a healthy collaboration between the Owner, Architect and the General Contractor – while reinforcing the vision and values of the Owner’s leadership team.

The common buzz words for this process are IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), and CM/GC (Construction Management/ General Contractor). How ever it is termed – it works. When the Owner, Architect and Builder develop a shared vision to the project, you will gain full advantage of this integrated approach and maximize the outcome of your building project. Construction isn’t generally easy, but with the right team it can be very smooth and relationally based!