10B — November 24 - December 7, 2017 — Construction Management & Design-Build— ODM — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


C onstruction M anagement & D esign -B uild

By Glenn Ebersole Design-build is a natural for health care construction


he design-build proj- ect delivery system has been around for

tinue to believe is the only way to get the best price. For many years, design-bid- build was an obvious choice for construction projects, includ- ing health care construction projects. However, there is a change in the thinking in building health care projects. Health care design is adapt- ing to include the design-build and construction management delivery systems. The unique challenges of health care con- struction have precipitated this change in thinking, and now design-build often is the preferred method for health

care construction. Design-bid-build is the tradi- tional method that most people think of and have some experi- ence with in construction. Basically, the owner has a vi- sion and ideas about the needs and budget for the building. That vision is provided to the architect retained to design the building. This worked well years ago when general contractors had a large number of employees in dozens of trades such as car- penters, masons, electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, finish carpenters, roofers, steel

However, there has been a transformation over time in the number of employees and in-house services of general contractors. Today, general contractors that had large numbers of employees in every trade have significantly fewer employees, and often most of those em- ployees are management and general-trade skill people who can do many different things. Architectural firms also evolved by changing from large numbers of architects, engineers and designers to a significantly lower number of these employees. Many times, the engineering is subcon- tracted to an engineering firm. This creates a fragmented design process that affects the critical coordination stage. This can lead to change orders, cost increases and time exten- sions. More importantly, this dis- jointed process can result in an adversarial relationship between the owner, architect, engineer and general contrac- tor. Plans and specifications become very cumbersome and generalized (because of liabil- ity concerns), and this makes it difficult, if not impossible, to complete a well-developed accurate bid. This also results in working with a great amount of data and information that arrive at the last hour to the general contractors, including num- bers from firms the contractor has never worked with before. It results in the risk of start- ing a project with unknown teammembers with mixed and matched scopes of work. The perception that this process is good and the owner is getting the lowest price is inaccurate. Design-build is evolving as the method of choice because it solves many of the problems mentioned above. Although many of the pa- rameters noted above cannot be changed as to where the construction industry is today, they can be managed and pro- cessed more efficiently. Design-build puts everyone on the same team from the be- ginning, and this is an advan- tage. Typically the leader of a Design-build delivery team is a general contractor and is the single point of accountability for the project. The most effective general continued on page 26B

erectors, welders, equipment operators, drywall finishers, painters, etc. An owner would select an architect and then would do a complete set of bid draw- ings and specifications. The documents were sent to sev- eral general contractors for bidding. The general contractor bid- ders knew the costs and had data and production rates, etc. in house to use to prepare reasonably accurate bids. The drawings were tighter, the bid process was tighter and the results were better.

thousands of years. And construction management has grown to be more pop- ular and is increasing its presence in private sector construction projects.

Glenn Ebersole

Yet design-bid-build still is an option that the public sector almost always uses and some private sector clients still con-

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