Alternative Delivery Methods:

More Collaboration at a Reduced Cost

By Syska’s Rob Bolin and Jen Crawford

Standard design-bid-build project delivery isn’t what it used to be.

Thanks to mounting pressures to deliver projects more efficiently and profitably, savvy building teams in all market sectors are finding that alternative project delivery methods promote collaboration, minimize the risks often found in traditional delivery methods and can reduce overall project costs.
Starting with the end in mind, the following alternative delivery methods offer a refreshing, process-focused approach:

Design-Build – In this model the general contractor and the design team are one under a single contract with the owner. It brings back the master-builder approach to the design and construction process by eliminating the walls between trades and disciplines. Projects benefit from faster schedules and reduced costs. Our work in design-build supports these findings, but only when there are clear lines of communication and a clear set of expectations between the design and construction teams. Without this, a design-build project – like the L.A. Federal Courthouse, a GSA Design Excellence for the Design/Build category – will not reap the intended benefits.

Lean Construction – Further boosting efficiencies and project team coordination, Lean Construction methods are gaining traction. In Lean Construction, the owner, design team and general contractor enter a tri-party agreement where everyone shares in the risk and reward. Applying a just-in-time process, work keeps flowing, crews are always productive, leading to a reduction of inventory materials and tools, and therefore, overall cost, as all parties work more efficiently and waste less.

Taking this concept one step further, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) actually organizes the building team in a way that Lean principles and practices can be applied.

Public-Private Partnership (P3) – As companies and public institutions continue to struggle with finding the capital for construction, many are bringing outside financing to their projects. Popular in Europe for decades, P3 for U.S. infrastructure projects has deep roots and is finding footing in projects like the Gov. George Deukmajian Courthouse in Long Beach, the first P3 courthouse, and P3 project in the state of California.

Each of these alternative delivery models asks us to collaborate, own the outcome, have respect for the entire team and look for ways to streamline the process. They emphasize the importance, value and brainpower the entire team brings by removing the barriers traditional methods have. When we Think Better Outcomes,™ we achieve our best.