Real Projects for Real People is a mantra for supporting the continued growth and redevelopment of senior living communities in the New Economy. We’ve talked about Micro-strategies for Creatively Repositioning Your Campus, The Successful Completion of Bite-Sized Projects, Common Spaces that Enhance a Sense of Community, and The New Definition of IL. Tackling and successfully completing these projects require more than a committed team. It requires the commitment of your architect to be a client advocate. Most importantly, it requires that your design team focuses on maximizing value rather than just settling for an exercise in “value engineering” to arrive at the final product.
It Takes a Team and an Advocate
Many architectural firms promise a high level of service, but it can often be hard to explain just how such high quality is achieved and what differentiates one firm’s method of service delivery from the other. We believe successful project management can begin before the interview for the project even takes place.
- Does the firm you are working with have a team ready to go?
- Is this just the circumstance of project load and “who is available” or is it a team with the specific experience and expertise that best aligns with your specific needs?
For AG having a team in place means a Principal in Charge, a Project Manager and a skilled support team all with significant senior living experience. Every person at AG has senior living experience because 90% of our work is in the senior living marketplace.
Having your designated team in place early is critical to the success of your project. From the first meeting, right through construction and beyond, your team is in place from Day One. This team oriented structure creates continuity in the project management process and creates a level of confidence for you.
- When you have a question, is there always someone in the office with an answer or the resources to respond to your question in a timely manner?
This continuity means each member of your team understands the back story behind every decision that is made; thus insuring that not only are these details and decisions addressed in the design phase, they are successfully incorporated into the final product.
Sometimes the vision can run contrary to the interpretation of existing codes. As your Advocate, your architect should work with you and the appropriate resources to realize your vision. Working as a team, there is the opportunity to positively impact outdated standards that, in turn, will shape a forward-thinking future for the senior living industry.
Whether dealing with code officials, zoning boards or Health Departments, it is essential that your Architect is your Advocate. Your team must be insuring that you are getting a building that meets your residents’ needs and helps them maintain their dignity and independence, while at the same time staying within the parameters of your construction budget.
Site Design – Advocating Thoughtful Placement and an Eye to the Future
Whether new construction or major repositioning, thoughtful site layout and design is imperative and can maximize value. Your community can stand out in the marketplace if it embraces the uniqueness of its topography, optimizes views, provides efficient flow and separation of various functions, and most importantly, allows for thoughtful expansion.
Proactive Programming – Advocating for a Sense of Place
While most building programs identify community needs and establish space standards, they don’t factor in drama and creating a sense of place. As advocates for both the client and the resident, the design team can strategically address space efficiencies while searching for creative ways to create an impactful and memorable design.
Learn more about how your architect can maximize value while creating drama
Certainty and Predictability – Advocating for Peace of Mind During Construction
For you the Owner, the expectations of a high level of service ultimately means that your building is aesthetically pleasing, designed to meet your programmatic needs, and most importantly within your budget. Many design professionals can meet the first two requirements, but the ability and special skills it takes to achieve the third, maintaining your budget, will truly make a difference.
At AG, we are constantly addressing the need to both monitor and stay within your budget. At our firm we employ the unique methodology – The AG Method of Delivery – that allows us to provide you with a unique set of documents that will enable a contractor to do a very detailed pricing in the first several weeks after a consensus has been reached on the design. The tremendous value to you is that you can make any necessary adjustments in a proactive manner rather than reacting much later in the process.
Establishing realistic costs very early is only a part of the process of addressing certainty and predictability. You will always have a sense of urgency for your projects, and your architect should too. Working hand in hand with the development team, a schedule of milestone events should be prepared to keep your project on schedule. As we all know, often the development process is not linear and unforeseen events can happen that may delay or hasten certain deadlines. You should feel confident that your team has the capability to make the necessary adjustments and accommodations.
During construction, can your team maintain control? Who better to observe progress on your project than the Principal in Charge and the Project Manager that have been invested in the success of the team and the project since Day One? Together with the other team members’ assistance, they can assure compliance. They see to it that the details and concepts which have been agreed upon on paper are accurately being constructed and are functioning as intended. At AG, the Project Manager and our dedicated Field Representative, along with members of our in-house Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Departments, visit the site at the appropriate times to insure proper construction techniques and adherence to details. In addition, the Principal in Charge continues to maintain involvement, keeps a critical eye on the details, and will participate on a monthly basis, and oftentimes more, as the need may arise.
Advocacy – it takes a team to insure that your vision is successfully implemented!