Getting the job done —
AG re-vamps the design process
Though innovative design is a fundamental cornerstone of any development, discipline is needed to ensure that it will be constructed within strict cost parameters. AG has created a unique methodology to support detailed pricing estimates during conceptual and schematic design phases. Most projects require guaranteed maximum prices at the end of the design development stage. AG’s well-refined package and the support of their in-house engineering staff assures that the formerly critical construction document phase is a simplified process of documenting difficult decisions made much earlier in the design process.
The Traditional Bid Process
Traditionally, a client would tell an architect what type of building they were looking for, and the architect would start a process that could take eight to ten months to get from a building design to bid documents. The client would fall in love with the design, and then the project would be put out to bid. Another month or so would pass while everyone waited for the results of the bid. Inevitably, the price tag placed on the building would be too much for the client to afford, and it would go back to the drawing board. The question is, when budget plays such a key role in defining the design of the building, why does it take so long to put real numbers on the project?
When a slump in the economy affected one of AG’s large clients and their construction work came to a halt in the late 1990s, AG stopped to ask themselves this same question. As they geared up to work with another large client, they had the extra time and manpower available to re-think how they approach the design process. Steve Alexander believed there had to be a better way.
AG Architecture is a full service architectural engineering firm that continues a more than 40-year commitment to the design of innovative senior living environments. Due to their architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical expertise in this niche market, they drew on their years of experience develop a new method for delivering drawings to their clients. They now give them a project cost extremely early in the process.
“Due to our years of expertise, we know intuitively what goes into these communities,” comments Alexander. “We can put it onto paper quickly and shorten the process.”
The AG Method of Delivery
AG uses their over 40-year history of CCRC experience to put together a unique set of plans and specifications that allows a contractor to do complete take-offs and confirm the budget. Instead of 10-12 months, this package is pulled together in 4-6 weeks after conceptual design is completed and the client has a ballpark budget. Together, the client, development consultant, architect and contractor can make conscious design decisions. They have a solid platform to determine where to cut costs or add budget allowances early in the process.
“It allows us to confirm cost at a time in the process when it is easier to make changes to accommodate the market,” describes Alexander. “If you have to make adjustments to meet the budget after construction documents are complete, everything becomes a compromise.”
From $20-70 million projects ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 square feet, AG has redefined their project delivery method. Instead of sending a project out for bid, holding their breath and crossing their fingers that the cost will be reasonable, AG now knows that the final construction drawings are a formal documentation of important construction decisions made much earlier in the design process. No more back to the drawing board, they stay right on track.
“It allows you to make informed decisions as to what you can and cannot do,” describes Alexander. “Decisions are made with everyone up front prior to final documents. It is the best, most economical way to put all the parts together.”
While the traditional bid process still occurs, AG Architecture has chosen to capitalize on their years of experience and deliver an added benefit to their clients. They created an innovative service and improved the way they work.
If you want to keep your project costs in line, Contact AG to learn more about our process for delivering your project on budget.