STARTS WITH DESIGN-BUILD
By Randy Pope, PE, and Neal Angrisano, AIA, NCARB
Airport projects are often saddled with tight time and budget
constraints. Or they may have a complex scope or difficult
existing conditions. Projects like these can often reap benefits
from the flexibility of design-build delivery, expediting the
completion of a facility with efficiency and high quality.
Design-build is a method of project delivery in which one
entity — the integrated design-build team — works under a
single contract with the airport or airline to provide design and
construction services: one entity, one contract, one unified flow
of work from initial concept through completion. Design-build
is an alternative to design-bid-build. Under the latter approach,
design and construction responsibilities are split — separate
entities, separate contracts, separate work.
Advantages of Design-Build
Collaborative project management means work is completed
faster with fewer problems. Design-build projects can be
completed in a shorter time because bid time is reduced,
scheduling for the project can begin before the design is
finalized, potential construction problems are uncovered early,
and enhanced communication keeps everything moving.
Construction activities can begin well in advance of design
completion. For example, the designer can size major, long-
lead-time equipment, allowing orders to be placed before the
final detailed design is complete. Or a site civil construction
package can be purchased and started before the final
details of the interior design have been defined. Similarly, the
foundation work might also be issued in its own early package.
An integrated team is geared toward efficiency and innovation.
Communicating the cost implications of design decisions helps
the airport play a key role in arriving at the final project price.
Once the scope of work has been finalized, the project costs
are clearly defined and controlled by the design-build firm.
Design-builders meet performance needs, not minimum
design requirements, often developing innovations to deliver a
better project than initially envisioned. The design-build method
helps to remove ambiguity that may arise in material and
construction specifications. Since the designer, engineer and
builder are from the same firm, the focus remains on protecting
the clients’ interest.
One entity is held accountable for cost, schedule and
performance. With the undivided accountability, responsibility
for defects or non-performance cannot shift to another
party. The design-build approach provides a single source of
accountability for your entire project.
Specific design and construction details are being developed
throughout the process, and the focus remains on owner
value. Simultaneously working with construction and design
professionals opens up communication, maximizing the potential
for problems to be discovered before the project starts.