Phased Design Helps Businesses be Fast to Market

By Allison Owen

Phased Design and Construction
Being fast to market is often a key component of our clients’ business strategies. When this is the case, I’ve found that a traditional design process is often too slow to meet the needs of these owners. That’s why over the past ten years we worked closely with our clients to develop a phased design approach which speeds project completion.

Unlike traditional design methods, where a business’s process and facility designs are completed well before construction begins, our phased design concept allows clients to start construction much earlier. Once a client has an initial process plan for a facility, we immediately perform site development tasks. This includes activities such as:

  • Site selection and logistics
  • Boring layouts
  • Staking out rough designs for building placement in order to facilitate environmental and soil studies.
  • Throughout the project we assist the owner to ensure the selected site and its development follow pertinent regulations, codes and permitting.
I like to think of phased design as a “just in time” design process. Construction dictates design and bid process sequencing.

  • A site is first identified and critical equipment for the facility sized and laid out. We begin collaborating with clients using 3D modelling software to plan facility layouts and produce construction documents while major equipment is ordered.
  • Equipment arrives onsite with foundations already in place and enough construction completed to immediately put the equipment in its proper place.
  • Building shell work continues as process installation begins.
  • Subsystem needs such as HVAC and power are assessed and implemented, and the facility shell is filled in as offices, control rooms, lighting, signage, and other necessities are completed.
Each piece of the facility is completed just as the next is designed and ready to implement, shortening the cumulative design and construction time considerably.

This method is not without challenges, but the benefits tend to outweigh the risks. Total design and construction costs may also be higher than traditional methods. This increase is due to expenses incurred by multiple design stages as well as unexpected changes made during construction due to shifts in the owner’s facility needs. However, these costs are usually offset by paybacks associated with faster facility completion and being fast to market. For projects where speed is critical and capital is readily available, a phased design approach may be an owner’s best option.

Allison Owen PE, Structural Engineer   Being a good listener is something I enjoy, and it is important because my clients need to know that they have been heard. When I’m able to execute what they need, they know I’ve truly invested in them and their projects.

Allison Owen PE, Structural Engineer
800.798.0227 |

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