file under: Chemicals, Design-Build, Facilities, Food and Beverage, Industrial, Metals and Mining, Oil and Gas, Power

Design-Build for Expediting Project Schedules

New permit requirements, court orders, and other critical schedule drivers often require companies to complete complex projects in a short amount of time. In active facilities, new regulatory requirements can lead to a loss in production until the requirements are met. In addition to the potential loss in revenues from reduced production, companies can incur fines and other potential civil and/or criminal penalties as a result of missing regulatory deadlines. When schedules are tight and the pressure is on, choosing a design-build approach for project completion can make all the difference.

When schedules are tight and the pressure is on, choosing a design-build approach for project completion can make all the difference. 

Single Point of Responsibility

Design-build provides the owner with a single point of responsibility from project inception, through permitting, design, construction, and start- up/commissioning. Within a very short time frame, a team of design and construction professionals begins collaborating to meet the owner's needs, with communications funneled through a dedicated project manager. By establishing a single point of responsibility, and a collaborative team of engineer and contractor, the design-build approach drastically reduces the potential for conflicts and claims that can occur on fast-tracked projects. Methods of controlling the designer-builder's cost include lump sum pricing prior to selection, where applicable; or alternately, open-book cost reimbursable approaches when scope uncertainties or need for scope flexibility exists.

Early Establishment of Budget and Schedule

When faced with regulatory deadlines, owners often need to quickly determine the project budget to secure the proper funding, and then carefully plan project cash flow. One of the benefits of the design-build approach is the early establishment of the project budget and schedule. Because the contractor is engaged early in the design process, the budget and schedule are developed before the final design is complete and the owner has reliable cost information much earlier than with traditional design-bid-build projects. Since a detailed project schedule is also developed early, the owner and design-builder can work together to establish the project cash flow and account for any special concerns or limitations.

Pre-purchasing and Early Release Packages

During development of the project schedule, the design-build team determines the critical path and identifies long - lead equipment-items that typically take several months to ship - and/or construction packages that have the greatest impact on timely completion of the project. The collaborative nature of a design-build approach enables the contractor to work closely with the engineering team to prepare pre- purchase packages and procure long-lead equipment early in the design process. Using this method, the long-lead equipment is fabricated concurrent with completion of the final design, thereby fast-tracking the overall project schedule.

Early construction activities, such as site civil work and concrete, can also be procured prior to completion of final design by preparing early-release packages. By using early-release packages, the contractor can mobilize earlier and can ensure that when long-lead equipment is shipped to the site, the items can be installed without delay. Because of this ability to quickly advance a project to "shovel ready" status, design-build delivery can provide an advantage for projects receiving stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In contrast to a typical relay-style approach, where one organization handles the design and then passes execution to another group, design-build facilitates interaction and collaboration among field experts right from day one. Specialists in their fields are motivated by the same goals, and are brought in wherever and whenever they are needed in the process.

Be Informed

Design-build can provide owners with a great way to fast-track a project. When executed properly, the result is not only an expedited project, but one that minimizes the need for change orders, provides better final work products, and significantly reduces the potential for multi-party disputes. To learn more about design-build, visit Design Build Institute of America.

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