Leading collaborative architectural practice

by Brian Skripac, Vice President, Director of VDC at CannonDesign on August 17, 2017

The case study on Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Health + Wellness Pavilion builds off a two-year AIA research project to provide a blueprint for effective leadership techniques, and to show how these techniques have helped real-world firms build exemplary success through collaborative teamwork and leadership.

AHN's Health + Wellness Pavilion is a one-stop location for a broad array of health and wellness services. Within the Western Pennsylvania healthcare marketplace, it is pioneering a new model of care that delivers wellness, lifestyle, and community functions with a level of quality and sophistication not usually found in outpatient settings. To bring this concept to life, AHN partnered with CannonDesign as the sole source provider of architecture, engineering, and construction services. Our delivery model—known as Design-Led Construction—allowed us to successfully deliver the project in a compressed design and construction schedule of 22 months, a feat that would have been extremely difficult using a traditional Design-Bid-Build method.

1. Why Design-Led Construction? 

Traditionally, projects are delivered via a Design-Bid-Build model, where the owner contracts separately with both a designer and a constructor. This process is very linear and often results in little collaboration among contracted parties, as well as errors, disputes, delays, and high costs. To address these challenges, some owners have grown to prefer an integrated project delivery approach, which identifies a single point of responsibility and encourages collaboration among all parties during design and construction. Design-Led Construction enables collaboration, shortens project delivery, manages risk, obtains best possible competitive pricing, and guarantees cost and schedule—enhancing certainty of outcome.

2. Leverage a Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Process

VDC works to evolve our integrated and collaborative project delivery methods and team behaviors, transitioning from traditional two-dimensional deliverables to model-based deliverables. This process innovates and enables the development of a project delivery strategy that is in alignment with the client’s expectations within a collaborative/integrated environment. In addition to defining this strategy, the design team will have a framework to achieve the enhanced certainty of outcome and prescribed level of reliability of our multidisciplinary BIM deliverables—ultimately driving the desired high-performing projects we commit to deliver.

3. Obtain Real-world Outcomes

While VDC and model-based deliverables are prerequisites for Design-Led Construction projects, it’s important for us to realize that these collaborative workflows, which are ahead of the innovation curve in the AEC industry, present extensive opportunities for real-world project benefits to be achieved for our clients. For AHN’s Health + Wellness Pavilion, the team was able to adhere to the early established $54,000,000 GMP. The project was delivered on time within an aggressive 22-month design and construction schedule, where construction was completed on time in 18 months. In addition, steel was erected and completed 3 weeks early while there were $0 in Error & Omission change orders as a result of improved coordination.

*the picture is courtesy of CannonDesign.

Link to the original article.

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