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But the benefits of D-B also add some risk to the owner. Owners who choose the D-B delivery method for their projects lose the advantage of having a separate party oversee the quality of construction. Instead, the design-builder has complete autonomy in the construction phase. So choosing a trustworthy design-builder is integral to success in Design-Build.
In 2018, Tipton County, a community in north central Indiana, broke ground on one of the most significant County building projects since 1895. Like many communities around the nation, the County needed to replace an aging and overcrowded jail that no longer met their needs. After an unsuccessful attempt using the traditional Design-Bid-Build (DBB) project delivery method, Tipton chose to use progressive design-build to support their objectives and budget.
Progressive Design-Build (PDB) refers to the way a construction project design is developed by the Owner and the Design-Builder in a step-by-step process. According to the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Progressive Design-Build allows the design and construction team to collaborate during the earliest stages of project development. This enables the greatest amount of engagement between the three key players in a construction contract: the owner, the designer, and the contractor. Here are five reasons why owners should consider PDB for their projects.
The biggest pet peeve for owners is unexpected change orders. With progressive design-build, there are no change orders within the agreed to scope of work after contract. This is because sub-contractors, as design-assist partners, are at the design table. My first-hand experience with other delivery methods is that contractors will look for opportunities for change orders due to the money they left on the table on bid day, but you do not have that environment with progressive design-build. The owner has control over their initial budget and final budget.
We also used a charrette design approach. This helped to expedite the design process and developed several design options. As often happens in the traditional approach, we did not use the previous design to begin with or a computer-generated design option because these do not allow for team interaction. Instead, we began by using simple colored building blocks representing various building components. The team could move the blocks around and physically demonstrate to the team why a component should be located where it is.
Low tech was the most productive approach because there were no barriers to engaging in the brainstorming sessions. This was one of the reasons we came to design decisions so quickly. Brainstorming together and offering design ideas helped build the team. The design process established relationships that provided a lasting benefit which extended throughout the rest of the project.
One of the benefits of progressive design-build is that you can expedite parts of the project due to having ONE entity working for and making decisions with the owner. Starting from scratch, we designed the entire building and began construction in just four and a half months. The process lends itself to expediency.
For example, the design used a pre-engineered metal building. It was a quality but less expensive option that allowed the County to meet their needs and put money in security-related features. Having the modular steel cell provider on board early also allowed us to expedite bidding, submittal, and fabrication so they could be delivered without delays. As a result, our production date was established early. Locking in a production date early on saved us several months of lead time and eliminated probable market inflation. Trade contractors were at the table during team decisions. Therefore, they knew immediately how to move forward. The fast decision-making process also allowed us to get under roof quickly and in time for winter weather.
People were amazed as they walked through the facility at the ribbon cutting and dedication, remarking that it does not look like a jail. It was clear that quality was the primary goal of the project. Even during construction, visiting designers and contractors commented that the workmanship of plumbing, duct work, and electrical on the back of the modular cells looked like artwork.
One of the challenges correctional facilities face today is separating inmates into appropriate classifications. When going through the original design-bid-build process, the owner was left with only 3 classifications. We were able to deliver 8 classifications including a mental health unit that was not originally in the program.
In some cases, the owner was very specific about what they wanted to ensure a quality outcome. For example, they chose a known vendor for good reason, such as ongoing service and reduced maintenance. The owner got to choose between various manufacturers to select what they felt was in their best interest. B