Can you fast track construction? Is it safe?
The project Team is in place. The design was adjusted to pricing reality. Owner has agreed to a price based on a design, assumptions and allowances. Is it possible to start a fast track building process, understanding the need to speed while finishing construction documents? Like many hard questions, the answer is that it depends.
First off, it depends if the construction and design teams collaborate well and can add detail to the design without adding cost. If the allowances are dialed into what the client actually wants, and the client is not at risk from self-inflicted increases when making final selections, construction can move quickly. Price changes for subcontractor can also affect construction timing. Lastly, it depends if capital is in place for the project.
We feel the need for speed.
We contend that if we can eliminate the risk with the right team and follow the right processes, our clients can safely fast track the project. This way, we do not loose momentum, our clients enjoy the benefits of lower carrying cost, and construction can start immediately after the construction drawings are complete.
Follow these steps during final drawings to move fast, but not too fast:
- The Owner releases the Team with a conditional letter of intent. The conditions on a high level are the Owner will release a percentage of the construction budget at an agreed upon price for the Team to finalize the design and pre-construction work with the goal to be ready to start physical construction when permits are ready.
- Work on pre-construction tasks simultaneously:
- The Architect will work with consultants to coordinate the final design to issue for permit.
- The Interior Designer will work with the client to convert allowance to selections then coordinate the selections in the final drawings with the architect.
- The Owner will work directly with contracted vendors or consultants to finalize decisions.
- As the project is being permitted, The Architect will continue to work with the Owner designing the building interior and finish locations.
- The General Contractor or Construction Manager can begin exploratory demolition in the case of a remodel or exploratory site discovery in the case of a new building. Often times, project-changing conditions are discovered during the first week of excavation or demolition. After this phase, and assuming all selections are complete, it is rare that additional changes will occur
- Incorporate all the pre-construction task information into one set of drawings.
- Don’t actually start construction until all selections are made; long-lead items and schedule should be coordinated before order; and the Owner and General Contractor or Construction Manager have agreed to a final contract price. Even if you have a permit in hand, do not start until all milestone items are complete.