lean and mean
To be lean and mean every project begins with a genuine commitment to the client’s objectives. The project team seeks to thoroughly understand what the Owner needs and the situation demands before beginning the work. Since no two projects are alike we do not subscribe to a standard approach or style but seek to capture the objectives of the particular users we are serving.
Realistic budgets and schedules are prerequisites to a successful project. A triangle has been used to demonstrate the interrelationship between budget, schedule and quality. A change to one of these elements, once the parameters have been established, will affect the other two. All three need to stay in balance in order to maintain budget, schedule and quality.
Out of a desire to be lean and mean developed a strong commitment to true project costs, measured over the life of a building; hence we always explore sustainable and energy saving opportunities. First we look at opportunities that are free before exploring more costly options.
We typically explore optimizing building orientation, choosing building envelope materials compatible with the local climate, passive systems, maximizing daylighting, using the latest building technology for mechanical systems, specifying durable, healthy, and low maintenance materials
We believe that it is possible to design projects to strict budgetary requirements without sacrificing functional or aesthetic considerations. In fact, budgetary constraints force the designer to go the extra mile to resolve problems creatively. To maintain a lean and mean cost control we rely on in-house data for cost estimating during the Schematic Design phases but contract with third party estimating and construction firms for the preparation of detailed computerized cost estimates during the Design Development and Construction Document phases.
Schedule control requires a continuing process of adjusting to new situations in order to meet the set objectives. This is where small firms have a definite advantage over larger ones. Agile speed boats can turn quicker than big cruise ships. Some of the lean and mean strategies we prescribe to are: establish detailed task lists with milestones and responsible staff, take timely actions and focus attention on the future instead of having to adjust for the past, and prepare plans for evaluating project progress needed.
Clear, complete, integrated and well coordinated construction documents are essential to a lean and mean building project. We employ the latest Building Information Systems (BIM) technology. The software we use automatically updates referenced drawings, details, and schedules when one aspect of the document changes. It also detects coordination conflicts between disciplines and highlights them. The implications of this new technology to the industry are revolutionary.
But as valuable as technological advances are, they do not eliminate the need for a comprehensive quality control protocol that regularly looks for and implements necessary corrective actions. Third-party constructability reviews are necessary at every stage, not just during the construction document phase. Following the project through construction creates accountability that ensures a thorough review process.
Because of the public nature of most of our projects, the majority follows the traditional Design-bid-build project delivery method; however, we have worked with Design-build, Construction Manger (CM) as Agent, CM at Risk, and CM Multiple Prime.
We believe that the most lean and mean praoject delivery methods integrate design and construction. Not only does this offer the Owner a single source but can impact speed, cost, and quality in the Client’s favor. Design and construction can overlap, reducing time; Change Orders are the Design-build Team’s responsibility, not the Owner’s.