The Integrated Construction Approach
A need-to-know element for a successful construction project
If you are a real estate developer or investor, you want your development project to effectively meet your needs, while limiting surprises during construction. In our experience, one of the main factors for success is the adoption of an integrated construction approach, beginning as early as the project’s planning stage.
This method is an integral part of a comprehensive approach that we, at eSpace Construction, have been using for several years. We strongly recommend it.
With the more traditional design-bid-build approach, the most commonly used method in the industry, problems often emerge during construction. The result; the building inevitably costs more than anticipated and the project objectives must be diluted, if not modified all together.
Another important weakness of the traditional approach; it does not leverage the experience of the contractor and his sub-trades during the planning process. This eliminates opportunities to improve the project while gaining a better control of project costs and schedules.
Of course, all construction projects have potentially unforeseen aspects. But it is possible to reduce the risks and optimize the results without compromising the initial design objectives. This is what the integrated construction approach offers.
What is an integrated approach? What are its advantages?
With the traditional approach, the project is completed in a sequential fashion. Plans are drawn and sent out for bidding. The lowest bidder is typically selected and construction begins. Inevitably, issues arise that can affect anticipated budgets and schedules.
In contrast, the integrated approach begins at the pre-construction phase as the architect develops his preliminary design sketches.
"The integrated approach is, without a doubt, the most important of the key-learnings we want to share"
At this point, the contractor is an active participant in the design development phase; meeting with the client, the architect and the consultants. The contractor, as an integrated part of the development team, can identify potential issues and work toward resolving them prior to the start of construction.
This collaborative approach allows for everyone’s experience and expertise to be implemented at the very beginning of the project. Another important advantage is a higher level of communication between design and construction teams, ensuring the project’s overall success.
In addition to a more thorough planning process, the benefits of the integrated approach are also evident during the construction phases.
Plans and specifications completed with the integrated method are more closely aligned to project objectives. Site managers and sub-trades have a more comprehensive and collaborative approach since they have been involved and consulted with during the project’s planning stages.
As a result, work on the site is much more cooperative, leading to increased efficiency during the construction phase.
We have been working in the construction industry for the better of three decades. In addition, Charles-Henri and I have both extensive architectural training and experience. We make it our mission to work with an integrated construction approach whenever possible.
After more than 25 years operating and growing eSpace Construction, we believe that it is important to share our experience. The integrated approach is, without a doubt, the most important element we want to offer our clients.
This approach allows us to complete what are often complex projects in an effective way, minimizing surprises at crucial points during the construction phase.
We will be sharing case studies and situations that illustrate practical aspects of this approach. We hope that this will provide insight to problems that real estate developers and building owners have experienced and are still experiencing today.
Feel free to share your comments and send us your questions.
- Jean Saba