Fast-Track Delivery Secrets
Delivering large, complex projects to clients on an accelerated timeline can be an intimidating process that seems to require gathering up mountains of information about a project’s budget, scope and schedule at a moment’s notice. But a lot of it can be distilled into four simple words: Think first. Draw second.
Projects on a fast-track are more often than not doomed to fail or destined for success even before schematic design is underway. The ability to turn projects around quickly is largely a function of the quality and flexibility of your process.
Start by defining the project and the client’s objectives. Set milestones, map each step of municipal permitting, and set up lines of communication across the entire team. We always ask ourselves: What do we already know? What do we need to know? Where can we get the information we don’t have? Then we delegate on our team to the appropriate person who will continually collect, organize, and disseminate what we’ve learned.
Turning time saved into money saved for clients starts with stepping back and taking time to understand their needs and point of view. Make sure you know how clients evaluate success. Are they revenue-focused, evaluating long term operating expenses, or looking to maximize built area to generate rent or sales? Or are they media and icon-focused, looking for a signature design that will drive headlines and positive media coverage?
It’s also important to spend time with clients upfront asking a few awkward questions: If the schedule is delayed, how will your business be impacted? How do you want this project to impact your business? It’s best for clients and the design team to be prepared with a plan if we run into cost overruns. Make sure clients understand neither they nor their architects have control over the municipal permitting process. Having contingency plans upfront will save time on the back end.
Adopting a design-build model with the client and contractor is one way to save clients time, and even if this kind of formal arrangement isn’t possible or desired, inviting contractors into the design process is another way to be more efficient during design and construction. Inviting contractors into the design studio gives them opportunities to make suggestions and to investigate better ways to procure and plan delivery. In either case, planning for fast-track delivery is a team effort between the designer, client, and contractor to make a plan that will map the ramifications of each decision made and line drawn.