Focus recently hosted its second event in its versatile Building Chicago series. For those new to the series, Building Chicago aims to provide a space for candid conversations among industry leaders. It is meant to serve as a knowledge sharing platform with the goal of identifying ways to be more solution oriented in and around the city of Chicago.
The most recent roundtable, which was held at Sepia in the Fulton Market neighborhood, brought in industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with both the design-build and design-bid-build processes. General contractors, developers, and others in attendance were able to hear first-hand perspectives on both approaches from an architect (Rebecca Callcott, Senior Associate at Gensler), an engineer (Jim Kamillis – Vice President of Engineering at The Hill Group) and an owner’s representative (Shaylyn Cullen – Owner & President of Cullen Construction Management) – all who are critical stakeholders in the process.
Design-build was explained as a method of project delivery in which both design and construction are held under a single contract with one entity. This process can be scaled up or down from MEPFP design build to full design build for the entire project. It differs from the conventional and often traditional design-bid-build process, where design and construction are split between entities with separate contracts and responsibilities.
In today’s ever-changing landscape, all the presenters talked about design-build being an approach that not only saves time and money, but also transforms the relationships between designers and contractors into one that fosters collaboration and teamwork. Some of the factors inherent in the design build process, like the early involvement of multiple teams like the architect and engineer, result in a cut in the number of change orders. By working with a well-rounded team, designing the project together and with a unified goal in mind, help to reduce the amount of value engineering and drawing changes later in the process.
The event provided engaging and compelling content and those in attendance provided interesting dialogue and thoughtful questions.