Collaboration. Still Undefeated: How a Design-Build Team Saved a Hospital Project with Better Decision-Making Tools

Contributor: Jeff Sample, Industry Evangelist, Join

Modern construction is built on collaboration. Bringing together contractors, Owners and design teams facilitates better decision-making throughout the project journey. In one at-risk hospital project, for instance, a design-build general contractor leverages a new decision-making platform to get the project back on track.

Jeff Sample, Industry Evangelist, Join
Jeff Sample, Industry Evangelist, Join

Challenge: Higher Than Expected Estimates Threatened Project Cancellation

It was great news for a major design-build contractor. They had won a multi-story hospital project funded by an unexpected donation, allowing the project to start years ahead of schedule. With the green light to proceed, the firm’s preconstruction team immediately got to work on a conceptual design budget.

The team’s momentum (and joy!) was quickly muted, however, when a subsequent schematic design process uncovered unforeseen obstacles that added scope and considerable cost to the original conceptual budget. If the team couldn’t quickly find a way to close the substantial gap, they knew there was a real chance the project would be delayed for an extended time –– or canceled altogether 

Solution: Complex Data Analysis and Real-Time Options 

With a $26 million gap to close, the contractor immediately launched a Target Value Design (TVD) exercise to explore ways to reach the desired budget. This new approach allowed the team to generate more accurate options to maintain quality while meeting the necessary budget goals. Now the team had a plan to get the project back on track. What they needed next was a way to quickly and clearly communicate the available options to the Owner so the entire team could make informed, data-based decisions and move the project forward.

Better Data + Better Communication = Better Decisions

The project clearly required a new but proven method for communicating complex data analysis and real-time options to the owner. The contractor happily traded in its traditional toolkit of Excel spreadsheets and complicated estimating systems for a collaborative project delivery platform from Join that is currently being used by several ENR 400 general contractors. 

Having been in business for almost a century, this general contractor knew what its project team was up against. Hospital projects involve thousands of decisions that can directly impact business case, design and budget. This particular hospital project had the additional pressure of needing quick consensus on urgent, critical decisions that, if undecided, could put a hard stop on the project.

The contractor chose a platform that would facilitate collaborative project delivery so the team could present complex options to the Owner in a transparent, highly visual and easy-to-understand format, earning the Owner’s trust and moving the project forward. This approach enabled the team to make better, more informed decisions throughout the project lifecycle, from design and preconstruction to final execution.

Impact: Faster Alignment with the Owner Moved an At-Risk Project Forward

Once the design-build team chose a new decision-making platform, it was able to quickly explore options to bring the budget in line with expectations and deliver this information to the Owner. 

The Join platform enabled the right people to make the right decisions at the right time. It empowered the hospital design-build team to explore every avenue on the path to design and cost certainty and to quickly arrive at the best possible solution based on the data.

Presented with this real-time, data-based information, the Owner was able to evaluate the available options and make confident design and cost decisions to move the project forward. 

Design-build project delivery teams are best-equipped to deliver projects that meet Owner expectations for budget, schedule, quality and safety. Tools like the Join project delivery platform give these collaborative teams a powerful new method for delivering not only exceptional projects but an outstanding Owner experience.  

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