A series of conversations between construction pros
A series of conversations between construction pros
Constructability in Construction A Linkedin Discussion on the Linking Construction Group Forum
Popular Definitions the actual ability to get the design constructed. Another definition was to meet project cost controls. A third is to meet program. A fourth is having labor who can implement the details of the design, which to me means meet quality requirements. A fifth, which has not yet been mentioned, is that the finished project meets serviceability requirements with regard to maintenance issues and lifetime.
Constructability Issues The question put forth on the forum was: What are the most effective methods for identifying and preventing constructability problems? 1) Assigning a design manager who can act as a “Constructability Champion“ 2) Design quality control 3) Building information modeling (BIM) with clash-checking 4) Collection and re-use of lessons learned in a company 5) Peer reviews of design documents 6) Early involvement of a general contractor in design 7) Brainstorming sessions 8) Formal company procedures (such as ISO 9000)
Responses to the question Early involvement of the Contractor in Design Design Build formats between the triad of the Client, Consultant and Contractor Building of trust between all 3 parties in the contract The utilisation of BIM as a tool to enhance constructability Design Quality Control Issues such as poor labour and material quality and crises in the team like accidents, weather, disagreements between team members etc can veer of constructability initiatives No substitute for experience to bring things together
The Architect’s Experience Experience of the Design professional in the field The 30, 60, 80, 100% review rule, i.e. review the design at each stage with the Main Contractor and a few prime sub-contractors Architects not coordinating design production and leaving it to Construction Managers Inflexibility of the designer to make minor changes in design to suit the needs of the Constructor Eliminate the adversarial atmosphere between Designers and Constructors Limited knowledge of the designer in the areas of new technologies in the field
The Importance of Constructability Reviews The importance of constructability in being able to reduce the indirect costs of finance, market timing, entitlement triggers and construction cost trends The value of a client’s representative Firming up of specifications at the design stage itself Performing a Constructability Review on the Project during the design stage. A Constructability Review is effective if it: Utilizes delivery methods that require ongoing feedback to design team from clients, users, and contractors • Promotes teambuilding among client, designer and contractor, emphasizing the success of the project not individuals • Involves employees or consultants with construction expertise in the design phase • Makes constructability review a separately managed and tracked project requirement • Incorporates constructability reviews early in the design process • Solicits and acts on feedback from the field to improve quality
Steps to Better Constructability The importance of seeing Constructability efforts as Team efforts and keeping the Client informed at each stage of the Design Development Build a Lego model of the facility first Performing a third party or peer review of the Design The lessons learned method or the case study method Errors in drawing and design emanating from the Design office due to improper due diligence Change in the speed of deliverables can affect design quality thereby Constructability (School building 18 mths / 12 wks) Recce and Standardisation
Seeing the Picture Holistically Some changes are not for the better. Change orders need to be studied thoroughly before they are given the go-ahead Communicating the design for constructability vision to the front-line and subs on a regular basis on site The need to see BIM, AutoCad etc., as tools and that the human element of design and construction expertise cannot be replaced Time spent up front to develop a comprehensive and constructable design is money and time saved during the construction process. Engaging the stakeholders in determining what best fits their expected outcome and working with the experts to evaluate the costs and conductibility will greatly enhance the project bottom line.
Form & Function Getting Owner Buy-in Constructability Champion - A design manager who has had atleast 10 years experience with a contractor of repute When the architect designs what the owner wants, he should seriously consider what the owners budget is and design practicality into the building giving the owner what is needed for functionality and then ad in the bells and whistles. I recall a great American Architect once said "form follows function" it made good sense then it makes good sense today..
Soft Issues of Constructability The practice of hiring teams of people (managers, architect, engineers, designers, and contractors) as comodities as opposed to skilled professionals is the root of the issue. - Would you hire your heart surgeon based upon the lowest price! Getting back to the real “needs” definition of the Project – What are the essentials that must be designed that are a requirement of the Client Honesty, integrity and dedication to the task at hand can bring about immense satisfaction and spur efforts in Constructability
The Importance of Field Experience IN 1972-73 I WORKED FOR C.S.PLUMB CONSTRUCTION. I WAS A JOURNEYMAN CARPENTER AND PLUMB WAS A UNION COMPANY. I DID NOT KNOW WHO CHARLEY PLUMB WAS, BUT HE KNOW WHO I WAS. WE ALWAYS SAT AROUND DRINKING COFFEE UNTIL 8:00 am WHEN THE FOREMAN SAID "LET'S GO TO WORK". ONE MORNING THIS OLD MAN SAID "GOOD MORNING ED" IT WAS CHARLEY PLUMB. IT IMPRESSED ME THAT THE OWNER, CEO OF THIS HUGE COMPANY KNEW WHO I WAS. THE SUPERINTENDENT WAS BOB LUKIN. I LEARNED A LOT FROM HIM AT A TENDER AGE. BOB NEVER GAVE ME OR ANYONE ELSE DIRECTION. HE WOULD TALK TO US, ASK WHAT WE WERE DOING. HE NEVER JUMPED ON ANYONE ON THE JOB SITE AT ANY TIME. IF HE THOUGHT YOU WERE DOING SOMETHING WRONG, HE WOULD GO TALK TO THE FOREMAN. IF THERE WAS A PROBLEM HE WOULD TAKE THE FOREMAN INTO HIS OFFICE FOR A PRIVATE “*** CHEWING" HE WOULD NEVER RAISE HIS VOICE TO ANY EMPLOYEE ON THE SITE FOR ALL TO HERE.
Discipline & the Rudiments of Construction I HAVE TRIED VERY HARD TO FOLLOW THOSE EXAMPLES. I ALSO LEARNED THE VALUE OF ORGANIZATION ON THAT PROJECT. THE LABORERS ALL GOT 1 HOUR OF OT EVERY DAY. AT 4:20 PM THE FOREMAN WOULD TELL US TO "ROLL UP" WE WOULD PUT OUR TOOLS AWAY, ROLL UP THE COMPANY CORDS, PUT THE SKILL SAW, TRANSIT, ROD AND OTHER COMPANY TOOLS IN A PILE AND HEAD FOR THE GATE. WE WERE OUT OF THE GATE AT 4:30. THE LABORERS CAME BY WITH THE BOBCATS AND LOADED ALL THE COMPANY EQUIPMENT IN THE BUCKETS AND PARKED THEM IN THE CON-EX. THE NEXT MORNING WHEN WE GOT TO WHERE WE LEFT OFF, WE FOUND ALL OF OUR TOOLS AND CORDS RIGHT WHERE WE LEFT THEM. WE NEVER HAD TO GO LOOKING FOR ANY MATERIAL. IT WAS ALWAYS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF US. I DID CARPENTER WORK FROM 8:10 TO 4:20 ALL DAY EVERY DAY AS DID ALL OF THE OTHER TRADES. I HAVE NEVER BEEN ON A MORE ORGANIZED PROJECT.
Discipline & the Rudiments of Construction Ed - my father had two carpenters on the payroll in the early 1960's. Both were very good but one stopped at 10 minutes before quitting time to roll up the cords and put the tools away where they belonged. The other carpenter complained and said he was wasting time. My father came on site one day at the start of the day and watched every one set up to work. The man that took ten minutes to put up the tool correctly every day was started in five minutes the other man took almost 30 minutes because he could not find the tools he needed or they were loaded under tools not being used that day. Organized tool boxes, trucks and job sites save time and money.
Constructability Reviews – Another View To identify and prevent constructability problems? 1. At 30% drawings the designer should have a constructability review performed. If the designer retains another design firm for the review they will get a peer review not a constructability review. Only a contractor’s engineer can provide a successful constructability review. The review should be repeated at 60% and 90% drawings. 2. Every designer should have field experience. I don’t mean walking through a construction site from time to time. That’s just site seeing. In the absence of meaningful field experience they would benefit from Continuing Education Classes related to the Construction Process. I offer such classes at www.csites.com. 3. During construction the contractor should be acknowledged for his expertise and treated as an equal member of the team. I hope someone from building construction contributes his views on vertical construction. Irwin WeinbaumPresident, Construction Sites Inc
Designers Visits to the Site I personally have spent many hours on a site over the years, and when I did, the projects seemed to have fared better. It permitted a dialogue with the contractors, some give and take when problems were discovered as opposed to when it became too late, and rfi confusion was handled quickly. Yet, I also am aware of the amount of designers who have hardly ever seen a construction site - Structural Engineers tend to be exception.
Design Coordination If the project can afford the fee, having the design team on site, is good for the design team - they learn, and for the building team - they have access to the rationale for why something odd is necessary. Of course, if a designer finds him/herself in the middle of tons of change orders and delay claims, they may find their best solution is to hussle over to the site and become a valuable team member. It is not only the right thing to do, it also will soften or help in court down the road. . (Rob)
Design Quality Control I have found that aside from owner-induced revisions (which an owner has every right to make and it's nice when they pay for them), the biggest category of constructability issues is poor or non-existent coordination, particularly the interdisciplinary variety. Uncoordinated drawings are the bane of any construction process, cause the most onerous schedule problems and thus change order requests, increase risk, and beyond contractual issues create credibility problems for the design team. It's pretty obvious when the design is being completing during construction, particularly when it's done on shop drawings and submittals. The way around this is pretty basic: Coordinate early and often. Don't wait until the end, where if you find a big coordination bust you might have to unravel a sizable piece of the project. Start it no later than schematics.
Design Quality Control & Tech Aid Coordination screw-ups can and will easily slip through the cost estimating process. It's not an estimator's role to red-line drawings as a part of the estimating effort. It doesn't matter what project delivery method is used. Of course a BIM job has the potential to much more easily handle coordination as a more integral part of design (read: faster). But it seems overlooked that every delivery method in history can and will work when the intent of the project is clear and the work is coordinated when the drawings hit the streets. If you put a competent team of pros together with a goal to put out a tight set of documents the job will go well. Maybe not so fast, but well. I know, I've been fortunate to be a part of jobs that "built themselves", and the participants wanted to do another one. Not lately, though.
The Design Build Premise I agree with bringing in a GC early in the process or involve a strong construction manager during the design process. What i tell most developers and architects is you have two choices "Design to a budget or Budget to a design" I have worked with too many architects and developers that come up with their design and then try to make it fit their budget and in the process have to give up too much. where if early on they could identify construct-ability problems or better value engineer aspects of the project.
Planning & its Value Build before you build - early selection of contractors/ subcontractors is essential in the process - make your mech guy design the mech and not get away with tendering a schematic. Use all the new tools available to us and the constructability issue as it is now will become simply a part of the design process. also, tell the contractor that "buying gains" are a reviewable option and only available at tender stage unless a true gain can be proven It is my belief that we need new contract formats that recognise the need for a longer total team design period balanced with a shorter site site presence to balance the opportunity of a virtual build and available gains through off-site/modular construction. So many projects have suffered from the rush to site with poor review and a naieve team....and they still do “We were lucky in the first phase, the approvals were delayed and all drawings were ready by the time we started…”
Tying Costs to Design The only way to avoid constructability issues is to leave no stone unturned on teh design phase, as minute as that detail looks. Ane the only way to motivate the team to leave no stone unturned on the design phase is to make the managing team member financialy responsible for the results - and the way to do it is design-build. What tools they should use to make it happen is a different story.
Staffing & Related Issues We find that the actual design is rarely the problem, lack of proper supervision, and poor quality control of the sub-contractors is where ALL of the problems come from. Too many companies cheap out on the manager/foreman pay scale these days. That combined with no company profit sharing for the guys in the trenches usually gives employees the "It's just my day job" mentality - This current mentality of companies wanting to keep all of the profits and give employees none is just one reason our country is in a bad mess.
Constructability Skills I did a masters course at the Univ. of British Columbia where one of the subjects was Constructability for Design. So I think that educating people helps as I did not approach it in an organised way before I was taught the subject. A comprehensive response to the issue at hand will be to resort to a Constructability Review.
Holistic Views of the System Edwards Deming argued that suboptimization ends up costing more - that's trying to maximize each phase or task. Instead you need to work on the entire system. The construction process is a system and we need to look at it as a system. This is the approach lean construction is taking. Contractors that are doing it are seeing costs drop - real costs - not just prices from pressure. Your suggestion of looking at the life cycle cost (in essence the total real cost) and eliminating the waste in the system we can see can experience savings in the range of 20 to 30%. Just think what that would do for the construction industry. A lot more work would occur because it suddenly became affordable. .
ISO – Pro’s and Con’s Any external regulatory or compliance framework has the ability potentially to impact for the better on quality control from conception to finished product. But I feel the requirements for compliance under ISO 9000 a bit weak. There are a lot of companies out there going around collecting 'badges' as a purely promotional tool to imply quality and reputablity and I think its got to do more than that. It has to bring: 1) Improvement on the product 2) Periodic organic improvement to the quality control system itself that's tied to external validation 3) Improvement in work culture amongst the partners/stakeholding groups. Otherwise its just another pretty logo on the company letter headed paper and company vehicle livery!
Periodic Site Reviews Site review. By going on site every other week, you have a great chance to catch problems before they get out of whack. Also, ensure that you engage a dedicated site review specialist like a geothechnical engineer and a steel inspector to review the actual building process. I once found that braces were missing bolts at one time on a large industrial project. I took pictures and sent them to the contrator and presented them at our bi-weekly construction review meeting. In our business, site review is an integral part of our total service. We generally allow 25% of our fees to be dedicated to site review by engineers of record. That is what it ought to be anywhere in North America.
Integrators in the Field I remember a colleague saying years`ago that some day there will not be any qualified experienced superintendents. His premise for this statement was that with all the specialization, that no one was learning all the aspects of construction anymore. that when our generation was gone there would be on one that was well versed in all aspects and trades to field supervise building projects.
Low bids to our Detriment Charles' example clearly illustrates where our industry has gone over the last half century. At the time we were rebuilding Europe after WWII and for some time after the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was one of the premier Engineering/Construction Organizations in the world. They had the job of rebuilding Europe and did a good job. However in the 1970 the Corps started down the path of “saving money”, “more efficient design and construction procedures”, etc. As a result of that major move and the over powering (but incorrect) belief that the cheapest (no quals., low bid on Design and Construction) process would lead to the greatest project value for the money available. We are now at the point the low bid (not, best value) is the only criteria used through most of the world.
Avoiding Shortcuts In order to stay in business design and construction firms most play this game and it almost always leads to the kinds of conflicts note in this string, less value for the money spent, more “short cuts” in design and construction, cost over runs and litigation. There is a long term solution and that is our industry must support research and the documentation of the efficacy of best value over low bid. Then we as and industry would need to educate owners (especially government agencies) that we can provide the best value for the funds available. Finally, in the short term the only way to survive is to hire, train and retain the very best in the critical areas of operations.
The Pressures on Time There can be no one specific situation or answer that can cover the whole gamit of possibilities but experience does play a big part. Mobility, accessability, timelines, product changes, economic factors all play a role in cost changes. As was mentioned involvement by all parties should start at the begining of a project, and yes construction management has become a tool in this respect. One more issue that has come into play, from my experience in the field, is the fact that owners and thier advisors are pushing to get project completed in an ever short time period. This has the potential to drive up cost substatially due to lead times and constraints, labor costs and preparations for the project.
Lower tier involvement Desire to work through challenges is strong so the most creative design can be built by making use of unlimited talent to make it work. The disconnect appears to start very early and not improve much in the most basic of respect for others players (many lower tiers) and the critical contribution they provide. Because of that many simple designs lack constructability.
On the issue of accepting low bids 1) Quit hiring the low bid contractors 2) Have Proper Supervision 3) Have supervision over the supervision 4) Make your workers/subs/GC's accountable, fire them or terminate the contract if things are not being done, have performance requirements/milestones in your contracts, let people know expectation levels and make then adhere to them - quit settling for sub-standard work, this is why our country is in such bad shape - APATHY
Advantage Design-Build Which leaves the only "bulletproof" option on the table - have somebody on the team from the very early phases who will be financially motivated to have as few constructability issues in the field as possible - and the only way I see to achieve this is to have a design-build GC (or call it a at-risk CM if you wish) who would have a guaranteed maximum price design-build contract (or would be an at-risk managing partner on the integrated project delivery contract if you want to use the today's "hot" terminology) and will be set to financially suffer if any constructability issues are not picked up and fixed before the ground is broken and, at the other hand, financially benefit (perhaps with shared savings clause) if none of these issues pop up during construction and blow the budget - believe me that in this case they will find enough time and competency (or hire the competent consultants and manage them carefully) to sift through the entire project with the fine tooth comb, leave no stone unturned and identify and resolve all (or, at least, all major) issues for the benefit of the owner (and theirs) before it's too late (or else - which is not what they are in it for). Therefore when it comes with identifying and resolving constructability issues early I can not see a good alternative to the design-build (or integrated project delivery if you wish to call it that way) project delivery with the financially committed and motivated GC managing the process.
Trades Qualifications and Experience I have appreciated the many comments regarding preventing constructability problems. As a lower-tier sub who installs sealants in high rise building façades I often see challenges to properly installing sealant systems of all kinds. For example, when working with Two-Stage Sealant Systems the question always comes up in how to compartmentalize and weep the system. Seldom are such instructions written. How do you integrate for weather tightness and warrantee the various substrates i.e., curtain wall to precast, stone, metal panels, etc. I read in the comments where there was the suggestion to involve the GC. I agree. I am often called by architects from around the country to review sealant details and comment on their constructability and potential longevity and durability. Involving a qualified and proven installer from the beginning can be very enlightening and help avoid future design problems. I would think that this principle would work with many other construction disciplines.
Sub-contactor Contributions Bring in all of the trusted Subcontractors early (30% design development) and let them review the designs (on at least 80% of the total scope of the project) that they will be building and then Listen to Them. They will save the General Contractor, Architect, Engineer and Owner more grief than most people will/would believe. Egos need to be set aside (temporarily), filters need to turned off (temporarily) to allow hundreds of years of real world field installation experience speak. Design-build knowledgeable subs are the very best in my opinion because they are skilled at thinking creatively, independently and don't spend a vast number of hours looking for holes in plans and specs because they have their own proven solutions That Work on real world construction projects, it's in their blood, it's what they think about before they go to sleep at night and then again when they wake up in the morning.
Subs Involvement This is not to downplay/downgrade the vast expertise the General Contractor and Designers bring to the table on a project, this is a means of augmenting elegant design and best management practices with Salt of the Earth experience in what really works on the ground. I believe many of the biggest design busts on a project can be caught early if the subs' opionions are solicited and valued and acted upon. Subs feel much of the pain when designs don't work out, Change Orders can be very disruptive to schedules, relationships, etc. and no one ever wants to pay for them without a fight. We learn best when pain is involved, and let's face it, subs with lots of experience on real projects have had to deal with painful outcomes more than once. All of this may sound crazy, but I have seen it work, beautifully, typically on design-build projects where everyone's feedback and opinions are taken seriously and egos don't block the transfer of information. Obviously, the masterful trick in all of this is how to attract and get the passionate, creative participation of great subs early on in the design process without any way of guaranteeing them that they will get the work on the project at the end of the process.
Recap 1) Assigning a design manager who can act as a “Constructability Champion“ 2) Design quality control 3) Building information modeling (BIM) with clash-checking 4) Collection and re-use of lessons learned in a company 5) Peer reviews of design documents 6) Early involvement of a general contractor in design 7) Brainstorming sessions 8) Formal company procedures (such as ISO 9000)
BIM & the Future In the BIM world, we are now living with instantaneous live decision making across the building trades. A shift in the window glazing type, will automatically update mechanical load calculations, which in turn will update electrical load profiles. We can now sculpt a building with this software interconnected with sun, weather data, shading affects, to see if shape shifting a portochochere will reduce chiller loads, and locate hot spots on the building wall. All with two or three folks looking at a computer screen literally adjusting angle, shapes, etc to create an efficient building envelope. Yet, not all firms have made the jump to BIM, and the software is still under development. Yes, we integrated in the past, with calculator, pencils, and software packages, but now we have live instantaneous data (and it can be a bit scary to see a switchboard automatically drop a 1000 amps, simply by shifting the building wall a bit).Simultaneously, we are working on system convergency integration - an idea we have debated and discussed for 30 years. Yet, now that computers are on everyones desk, with associated data/communications cables, the idea is more real. Since we have committed to buying the servers, cables, backbones, why not use it across the building trades? If we can find the way to educate ourselves, our contractors, our tradesman, we can. Yet,it will take time and patience.So, my view is integration is partially here, and coming fast. Yet, to respond to your notion, it really isn't to much different in the global sense from the past, what is different today, is the speed the data is achieved.
Moving Forward Focus on all 9 areas of Project Management viz. Scope -Ensure that scope is well defined at the Design stage and budgeted for Integration - Seamless flow of information and complete visibility across the Project Time - Realistic scheduling and monitoring of the Project Progress Cost - Ensure cost control and minimize variations and claims HR – Engage and Challenge People and they will respond
Moving Forward Quality - Meet and exceed customer expectations. Improve on all samples, - Standardize processes, identify quality workmanship etc. Risk - Quantify, Analyse and Mitigate Risks Procurement - Ensure both short and long lead items are available in advance of work execution Communication - Establish clear channels of communication to maintain protocol at the site - Enhance flow of unambiguous information among stakeholders Safety - Ensure primary importance to issues of Safety. Work towards a “Zero Lost Time Incident Goal” at GGC.
From the Book Toyota Culture The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way Philosophy – Long Term Thinking Process – Eliminate Waste People and Partners – Respect for people, Challenge and Grow Them Problem Solving - Continuous Improvement & Learning
Thank You I dedicate this presentation to everyone that is part of the GGC Team from the Contractor, Consultant or the Client I also solicit your feedback on the presentation A humble request to all of you is to document your learnings in this Project and to submit them to me in future.