DBIA-GLR and AIA Team Up to Discuss Maximizing Success in Integrated Projects
INDIANAPOLIS, IN The Design-Build Institute, Great Lakes Region (DBIA-GLR) teamed with the American Institute of Architects Indiana Chapter (AIA) to present a panel discussion on how to maximize success when delivering an integrated project.
Panel members included Drew Furry, P.E., Capital Project Manager at Purdue University; Dr. Brian Smith, Executive Director for the Indiana School Boards Association (ISBA) and Daniel Mader, AIA. ALEP, AP, Chairman of the Board for Fanning Howey.
Rick Ford, Vice President of Operations for ESCO Communications, served as moderator for the panel.
In his introductory remarks, Smith warned the industry that work may need to be done to convince state legislators to be more supportive of school construction. "With the downturn in the economy, school construction virtually stopped," he said.
"But it is picking up now and we may want to promote building school infrastructure because it is starting to go downhill."
Smith advised that a successful design-build project requires that the customer be as specific as they can be in providing a vision at the commencement of the project, indicating that in his first such project, the school board was not as specific as is optimal. "In our second project we were more specific. More than just providing our vision, we put specific ideas on paper, indicating that we want something that looks kind of like this and we want this sort of roofing system, for example," he said.
Smith continued, saying, "that project made a believer out of me and I try to share that with school boards across the state."
Smith also said that an advantage of being able to use design-build is that if frees school boards from having to accept the lowest bid, which he indicated is not always the means to attain the highest value.
Furry emphasized the importance of having a person empowered to make decisions who is sensitive to the need to make those decision in a timely way.
The panel backed the concept of quality-based selection with Mader noting that it is important to include those who are leading the construction process as among the "professionals" selected in this manner. However, he said, Indiana's design-build law "puts obstacles in the way of doing that and it is not that way in other states. We need to work with legislators to reduce their fear of putting quality-based selection more fully into the law."
Furry said that it is important to select the right architect and that the architect lead the team on the project. "How do you keep a good architect on the lead on the project? You hire a good architect," he said.
Furry also said that he takes cues from the manner in which a project team makes their initial presentation to help him determine whether the architect has the requisite team-leading skills. "The ones that impress us are those where the project architect and the project contractor stand up and lead the team in their presentation."
Smith emphasized the overall need for everyone involved to have a "progressive mindset."
"You have to have a school board that is willing to take risks," he said. "We can be so stuck in traditions and it is time to start thinking about doing projects differently and better than in the past."
Mader said another important key to success is for the owner to acknowledge that they are part of the building team. "It's a different world for a lot of owners where you are a part of the team and you rejoice or suffer with the rest of the team."
Smith emphasized the role of good communication between all of the team as a component of a successful project.
"The teams that kept up the most communications were the ones that were most successful," he said. "They met at least once every month, maybe for just an hour, but in that way, I knew that I could also keep my board informed as well and that helps."