Join Jim Rogers for an in-depth discussion in this video The process: How does it start?, part of Construction Management Foundations.
- Okay, as we move forward keep in mind that by the definition we just established, the process always starts with an owner who has a need. Now for our discussion here I'm going to say it doesn't really matter whether that owner's an individual or an organization like a business or government agency. It also doesn't matter whether the project is simple or complex. It all starts the same. An owner has a need and that owner has some vision of what they want to build to fulfill that need. Now somehow we need to get those ideas and thoughts out of the owner and turn them into construction plans and specifications that we can follow in the field.
This is step one. This is where the architect comes in. Some people refer to this initial phase as programming, and it involves a series of meetings, interviews, and questionnaires that are designed to pull information out of the owner in order to design a facility that meets that owner's needs. This process really takes a very special and unique set of skills and we had the opportunity to interview an architect who's really good at this. So let's take a minute and hear from Tom Reilly to get an idea of just how this first step works.
- I'm Tom Reilly. I'm an architect here in Tempe, Arizona. Been out of school, I went to ASU. Been out of school for about 30 years now, so practiced only in the valley. Architekton's a firm that's been around for 25 years. We're 40 people. Considered a mid-size firm. We do a lot of public projects. So a lot of higher education. We specialize in police stations, courthouses.
In private practice we'll do small gas stations. We team a lot for some of our projects. So if we're going after a hospital, we'll go out and find the best hospital architect in the country or the world, and we'll be the local architect with the expertise and the connections here in town and bring them in. We're also known as sort of a high-end design firm, so if we have a client that's looking for a building that will reflect who they are and what their values are, we'll often get those projects.
And often have to team for them because they may be outside of our area of expertise. And again, they come in all sizes and shapes, but typically the first thing that you need to do is put together a program and depending on what the project comes with, the project can come with a program or it can come just as I've got a problem that I need you to solve. And typically what we'll do is help them determine a budget and get the budget aligned with the program. So a program is essentially a quantitative list of spaces that ends up being a 30,000 square foot building.
It can be done by room by room or it can be departments. And it's also qualitative, so what are the things that are in those spaces? A lab building will have highly complex programs for each one of those spaces, whereas a dormitory is pretty straightforward as far as what goes into a dorm room, but they're both different. So it's a matter then of documenting that and normally we'll work with a cost estimator or directly with a contractor at that point to help determine the budget and make sure that the program and the budget align with what the owner is expecting to spend.
We often call the program and phase problem-seeking and what we're trying to do, what the architect and the design team are trying to do during that period is to find the problem so we know what problem we're trying to solve. And again, depending on the type of client, how big they are, is it 12 departments that are moving into this building and we need to meet with all 12 of them, or is it a simple office and they have an office manager and we want to work with them, so we have a pretty big toolkit to use in helping to determine what the ultimate program's going to be.
So for the larger clients, we do workshops and we typically will start off with a visioning and goal-setting workshop, where we'll meet with the different constituents either in one large meeting or in a group of meetings and help draw from them through a series of exercises. One of them we call card tricks and we essentially go to them and say, we'll have them all in a room. We often do it on their site so it's someplace that they're comfortable. And we'll ask them, it's two years from now and your building's opening, what is the headline in the paper that morning about your building? And as they start to elicit responses and we work the room, we're writing down literally on five by seven cards what their responses are and putting them up on the wall.
So they know that we're listening to them and then in the end after doing a couple of these different card tricks and having an open conversation we'll have a wall full of cards. Then we do dot pulling with them, where we give everybody three sticky dots and they come on up and they help prioritize what the important things are for them and so it's a consensus-building exercise, it's also part of change management. It helps the people that are going to be moving into this new building have some participation in where it's going. And typically what will happen is three to five big ideas will emerge on the wall right there in front of them and we write those as goals.
Those goals can be anything from it has to have a strong relationship to the pedestrian mall to it needs to help people understand that we're a forward-thinking company even though we're in a historic warehouse district. So it creates a set of goals that the design team can respond to later on in the design process. We also do one on one interviews, particularly to understand what needs to happen in a space so we have to get into what these people do for a living and understand their work flow and understand who they need to talk to, who they need to be adjacent to, do they have public coming into their space so we know whether to locate them by the front door? Do they need sinks? Do they need special acoustical properties? So we do that through a series of interviews, record that, and then loop that back during the design process to make sure that we've got all that correct.
Sometimes it's simpler than that. We had a mortgage company come in the other day and it's an office building that's existing and they want us to relocate their corporate headquarters. In that case they simply brought us a list of employees, the list included whether that individual employee needed a closed office or was in an open work space, and by groups, by departments, who needed to sit next to each other and then a very quick, took us about a half hour to elicit what departments needed to be next to other departments and from that we were able to within a week complete a test fit to show them that not only will they fit all their existing people into this new space, they've got room for about 20 percent growth.
So that then becomes a basis of a document to go to a contractor and say, okay, can we do this for, in this case, 1.1 million dollars? And they actually have something physical that they can start to do takeoffs on, and start to understand what the cost implications of the design is. - Now as an architect like Tom begins to draw these ideas out of the owner, they also have to start looking at things like the suitability of the site where they actually plan to build.
Whether you're a construction industry veteran looking to switch roles or a brand new construction manager trying to get your bearings, this course provides you with meaningful insights into this vital, evolving industry and your role in it. Instructor Jim Rogers explains how integrated project delivery methods work, how technology is shaking up old processes, and how lean productivity methods are being used at construction sites. Throughout the course, you'll get industry knowledge from Jim, as well as other experienced construction professionals.
- Modern construction industry overview
- The construction team
- Reviewing the many roles of the construction manager
- A day in the life of a construction manager
- Understanding how the industry is organized
- Working with alternative project delivery methods
- Understanding the role of technology in construction