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The Design-Bid-Build approach for project development is still commonly used, often with unsatisfactory result. In this method, the owner selects an architect. The architect with his team of consultants, produce plans and specifications for the project. Bids are solicited from a group contractors based upon these plans and specifications.

Collaborative Team Approach

Usually the contractor submitting the lowest bid is awarded the contract. The Design-Bid-Build process may be flawed for the following reasons.

  • A realistic, achievable project is not realized. Architects are competent at designing, but not always great in establishing costs for their projects. Architects and Engineers have been known to gold plate their projects.
  • Plans and Specifications are seldom complete. This is not always the fault of the architect and his design team. Sometimes the owner simply does not pay enough to properly complete plans and specifications, or allow adequate time to produce them. Incomplete plans and specs leave the owner at the mercy of the “low bidder” in future change orders and other controversy.
  • This type of bidding process lends itself to establishing the lowest initial cost, however this seldom represents the best value of the project.
  • The contractor who submits the lowest bid isn’t always the most qualified. Estimates that are carelessly prepared tend to omit necessary cost more than those carefully researched. Some contractors will take a job for an extremely low initial cost hoping to make up their shortcoming with future change orders.
  • Competitive Bidding does nothing to encourage or cultivate good teamwork among the Builder, Architect and the Owner. Blame games and finger pointing often prevail.

Ben Franklin Quote

HHCC now avoids the “Bidding Wars” described above.  Historically, HHCC usually ended up to in the middle of the pack when involved in competitive bidding, indicating a good grasp for job costing.

HHCC has determined the Collaborative Team Approach to Building achieves the best most favorable and fair results for all team members. The Team consists of HHCC (the Contractor), The Owner, and the Design Team consisting of the Architect or Designer, and any other necessary Design Consultants. While HHCC prefers the Owner contract directly with the Design Team for their services, HHCC has worked with good Architects and Consultants on many occasion, and will recommend them, as needed.

From the project’s achievable cost effective design solutions, HHCC works with the Team, to establish a realistic budget and scheduling parameters, along with a clear description of the project’s goals.  A preliminary budget is often derived from minimal conceptual drawings.

HHCC works with the design team and Owner as the project develops, and the working drawings become more refined. During this course of the project, we are constantly value engineering materials, methods and equipment to give the most bang for the buck and to stay within budget.

These processes are able to move rapidly. When the working drawing are being finalized for permitting, construction contracts and financing are often in place. Work is ready to commence. There has been steady, seamless progress toward the goal of getting the project started and built. This is contrasted with the Bid-Build process, in which there is a wild scramble to get the project under control after the bids come in.

A benefit with the Collaborative Team Approach to Building is it forces Owners to seriously consider their priorities during the design process, rather than wait until after the bids come in and they have died from sticker shock. HHCC has seen many projects scraped after plans have been completed, because the project is unaffordable as drawn.

The most obvious benefit to the Collaborative Team Approach is the Team has worked together during the process and developed a mutually respectful, trusting relationship. Passing the buck, blame gaming and finger pointing is eliminated. Change orders are greatly reduced. The outcome is satisfactory for all, and HHCC obtains another repeat customer.

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