In today's tight economy, it's more important than ever for the construction industry to operate in a cost-effective way. To cut back on costs and enhance productivity, leading players in the sector are increasingly adopting the fast-track, or design-build construction model. This method consolidates the lengthy traditional scheduling method by operating and launching the design and building processes essentially at the same time rather than one before the other.
While the fast-track method has many benefits, poor initial planning may result in design holes and costly changes as the project progresses. Both of these problems may cause the approach to backfire and can result in disputes and delay scheduling. It is therefore vital to partner with the right steel fabricator in order to obtain realistic cost estimates instead of overly low initial bids that have little legitimate backing.
According to Stone Bridge Iron & Steel, a metal fabrication company in upstate New York, communication and early involvement by subcontractors are key ingredients in saving money and staying ahead of schedule. On its web site, StonebridgeIron.com, the steel fabricator outlines a multi-step "early involvement" system for controlling costs and saving time during fast-track building projects. It includes the following objectives:
Before any action is taken, all stakeholders involved in the project should meet and discuss every element that could possibly affect costs and scheduling.
Early Constraint Identification
It is important to note upfront any knowledge of owner restrictions such as changing tenant requirements and late decisions.
Early Sequence Planning
Develop a timeline and outline every step of the project's schedule. This should be approached from both a decision-making and framework erection outlook.
Early Design Planning
Immediately identify any design holes and their sources in order to develop a cushion of allowances. Review the allotted allowances with stakeholders in order to avoid discrepancies further down the road.
Early Design Communication
Save substantial time and money by meeting with designers to develop a plan of attack for addressing and successfully smoothing out the design holes.
Early Time Management
Prioritize all needed changes and decisions by weighing each task's importance and time sensitivity.
Early Expectations For Change
Dedicate more time on areas with potential changes and over-design for adjustments in weight and location of mechanical.
Stone Bridge Iron & Steel, an experienced structural steel fabricator since 1973, explains that by following each of these eight procedures, a month or more can be shaved off of a construction project's completion time. Not only does this unique method facilitate the process by reducing conflict, but it also reduces considerable business opportunity costs by completing the work earlier than it would be possible with more traditional methods such as the "hard-bid" construction process.