The Rest of the Story…Part 1

In our last e-Bits we told you about our client that hired PDMi to manage his capital project. At our kick-off meeting we reviewed the following standard Delivery Methods to determine which one best fit his project.

Design-Bid-Build.  With this method, the Owner enters into a contract with a Professional Architectural/Engineering firm for the design. After a competitive bidding process, bids are analyzed and a contract is executed with the low bidder. The following are true about this method:

  • Cost: Known after the design is complete
  • Schedule: Linear/Sequential
  • Relationships: Based on lowest Bidder

Construction Management. With this method, the Owner enters into two agreements for services. One with a Professional Architectural/Engineering firm for design based on using multiple Prime Contractors. The other is with the Construction Manager to manage the Prime Contractor process. The CM agreement can be “as agent” (Owner has contracts directly with Prime Contractors and assumes risk & rewards) or “at risk” (CM has contracts directly with Prime Contractors and assumes risk & rewards). The following are true about this method:

  • Cost: Known after the design is complete
  • Schedule: Simultaneously/Overlapping
  • Relationships: Negotiated team

Design/Build. With this method the Owner enters into one contract to provide both design and construction. The following are true about this method:

  • Cost: Established during the design process
  • Schedule: Versatile/Fast Tracked
  • Relationships: Trust but verify

Our client chose the Construction Management “as agent” method. His project was on a very fast track and he felt like this method gave him the best chance of completing the work on time and within budget. Different methods work for different projects and there is not a one size fits all. Give me a call and we can talk more about the truths of each method and see which method would best fit your next capital project.

In our next e-Bits I will unpack Contract Methods and the one after that we will look at the sequencing of Planning, Designing, and Implementing a project, in the meantime- Stay Tuned for the Rest of the Story…

Stay Tuned…

A client of ours has been a tenant in a facility for years. Due to the “Up-Tick” in the economy he decided it was time to purchase a building and be his own tenant. He called us and said “As much as I would like to manage the capital improvements required for this building, I know what I don’t know. I recognize I have no experience in managing a design and build project and my time will be best spent doing what brings me income – my business”. With that said he hired PDMi to manage the capital improvement project.

Our first advice to him was to do three things:

  • Determine which Delivery Method would be best suited for his project.
  • Decide which Contract Method makes the most sense financially for him and his lending institution.
  • Layout the sequence of Planning, Designing, & Implementing all the pieces and parts that make up the project.

In the next upcoming “e-Bits” I will unpack each of these and share how they impacted our client’s project. If we can help you plan your next capital Improvement project, give me a call, in the meantime- Stay Tuned for the Rest of the Story…

Why What How

At a conference I was attending, I heard a speaker say “People mostly know what they are doing and how to do it, but they often do not know why”. This may be generally true on issues we face in our lives daily, but it made me stop and think about whether this is the case with facility projects. Our experiences show that many of our clients know why they need to expand their facilities or build new ones, what they do not know is what to do and how to do it. This is where the specific process of Planning, then doing the Detail Design, then doing the Construction comes into play.

When facing a facility project you need to answer the Why – What – How questions, in that order.

  • WHY: The why question is answered during the Planning Phase of the project. The answer to the why question gives purpose to the project.
  • WHAT: The what question is answered during the Detailed Design Phase of the project. The answer to the what gives definition to the scope and quality of the project.
  • HOW: The how question is answered during the construction phase of the project. The answer to the how gives organizational context to the project.

When the process of Planning (the Why) then Detail Designing (the What) then Construction (the How) is followed you can be assured that your facility project will be a success. Give me a call; we would look forward to helping you answer these questions on your next project.


Change of What…?

Change of use of an existing building, such as a church moving into a former retail store space, can be a very confusing and expensive experience for a building owner. I have found that most building owners, potential tenants or buyers, realtors and contractors do not understand that all commercial buildings are classified and regulated by State Building Codes and local zoning ordinances as the initial occupancy use it was designed and permitted for.

When you want to change the occupancy of an existing building, i.e.:  put a restaurant in a retail store space, a retail space in an old manufacturing building, or manufacturing in an old warehouse, either the existing building must already comply with all current construction codes for the new use, or be altered to comply with all current codes, or use Chapter 34 of the Building Code to mitigate having to comply with some of the current codes for new construction.

If you need to upgrade an existing building to meet all current construction codes for a new use, several issues can be very expensive:

  • A factory with over 12,000sf, a church with more than 2,100sf of meeting space, a restaurant with more than (100) occupants, and any apartments (regardless of size or number), would require fire sprinklers to be installed.
  • All existing non-compliant ADA accessibility issues would need to be altered into compliance. This can mean, completely demolishing & rebuilding all existing restrooms as well as adding ramps, moving & enlarging doors and changing all door hardware.
  • Existing heating & cooling systems likely would need to be modified or completely replaced in order to meet current fresh air and ventilation requirements.

Chapter 34 is a part of the Building Code that provides economic change of use for some existing buildings while maintaining public safety.  It involves evaluation & scoring of the existing building concerning life safety by a licensed professional. If the scoring passes, the change of use can be permitted without having to alter existing non-compliant portions of the building as listed above.

Chapter 34 evaluation & scoring is very technical and takes experience & a good understanding of the Construction Codes. If you are planning on re-use of any existing building, contact us so we can put PDMi’s experience and knowledge to work for you.

Batman & Robin

Batman & Robin – Night & Day – Salt & Pepper, these are all things that go together. They fit. One complements the other. It is the same with Design & Build, one completes the other. Too often today design and build are regarded as adversaries. They separately compete for the approval of the owner and/or the success of the project. This should not be! Just like Batman was not complete without Robin, the design of a project is not complete until it is built.

There are many benefits to the Owner when Design and Build are combined on a project. They include:

  • A Team Relationship is established between the Design Professional and the Contractor which is built on trust and confidence.
  • The Scope of the project is identified through the contract documents so that Cost and Schedule can be identified/verified/modified early in the process.
  • The Design Professional becomes a Valuable Resource to the Builder during the construction process as the Builder was to the Designer during the document phase.

The Old Days of adversarial relationships which were formed by Architects/Engineers drawing blueprints for the Contractor to competitively bid must be reevaluated. If we, as Professionals and Contractors, desire to bring the best product to our clients then we must learn that Design and Build fit together.

Contact me about how PDMi’s Design Build team can bring value to your next project.