Preconstruction Services: A New Perspective
It is amazing to see the strides that have been made in the construction industry because of improved technology. The majority of my career has been spent with design-build contractors in either a construction manager or team leader role heading up the planning, design and construction of large commercial and healthcare projects. Being in that position I had the responsibility of managing design-build mechanical, electrical, fire protection and plumbing services. This was the preferred delivery method on the majority of my projects specifically to control cost, coordinate design conflicts and eliminate design or install errors (finger pointing). It is with those experiences I am able to offer a new perspective to the preconstruction services group at Faith Technologies.
In one form or another Faith Technologies has always had a preconstruction service offering. Those offerings included estimating, design, engineering and CAD. When Faith Technologies made the commitment to add design and CAD resources it was driven by the demand of what our customers expected. Early on those expectations included budget numbers midway through design and one line construction or record drawings at project completion. Over time, the technology that helped provide that information has changed, and so have the expectations from our customers.
Today, we have heard from our customers that they want the earliest involvement possible from specialty contractors and we are expected to provide full design, BIM (Building Information Modeling), clash detection, and earlier and more accurate estimates. All of these components are value-added services to a project, both from the standpoint of the owner and to the company completing the work. Providing budget numbers early on allows an owner to start the financing process from the get-go, which equates to an earlier project start date. Adding the third dimension (BIM) to the design and detailing process of a building also helps in reducing waste (both labor and material), eliminates rework, and provides it a detailed database of fixtures and equipment for the end user. Currently the State of Wisconsin, Texas and Massachusetts are requiring that all state buildings are designed in this manner. Over time this will become the rule rather than the exception.
I look forward to sharing information about preconstruction, both from our experience at Faith Technologies and through industry trends. Not only will you read about some of our successes we have had with the integration of these components into our projects, but I will also share the challenges I see with BIM, estimating integration and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). The advancement of technology has brought exciting innovation to this industry, and when it all works together, should allow us to build smarter.