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Phased Design and Construction Helps Businesses Be Fast to Market

Being fast to market is often a key component of our clients’ business strategies.

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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 business owners. That’s why over the past ten years we have worked closely with our clients to develop a phased design approach that helps owners meet their development goals faster.

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 begin 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:

  • 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.
  • Ideally, by the time the equipment arrives onsite, foundations have been poured and enough construction has been completed to immediately put the equipment in its proper place.
  • After that, the nitty-gritty details of the facility are taken care of.
  • 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.
  • Construction dictates design and bid process sequencing.

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 risks, but the potential benefits tend to outweigh the costs. Phased design requires the design firm to be heavily involved throughout construction, whereas their involvement in a traditional project is concluded earlier. Total design and construction costs may also be higher than traditional methods due to reoccurring costs incurred by multiple stages of design as well as by any unexpected design changes that need to be made due to shifts in the owner’s facility needs. However, these increased costs are usually offset by 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.