America’s commercial design and construction industry is fragmented, adversarial and inefficient. The industry that depends more than all others upon coordination, cooperation and teamwork among multiple participants is our most adversarial. It is the only major industry that is less productive today than it was in 1964, while other industries have doubled their productivity.
The conventional wisdom is that the way to secure the highest quality at the lowest price is to maximize completion pressure. This leads to selection based on a single criterion – price – which in turn requires that each competitor bid on the same scope and requirements.
Currently an architect prepares drawings and specifications in isolation. The assumption is that the architect will develop the best design absent a dialogue with those responsible for construction. Contractors then submit bids based on the design documents. This step assumes that those documents fully convey the building requirements in an understandable fashion.
Both assumptions are significantly flawed as this process sharply restricts the ability of the project team to communicate. Key decisions are made at the beginning of the project based on limited understanding. In contrast, integration of the project delivery team overcomes these shortcomings in the traditional delivery model, and paves the way for a dramatic elimination of waste.
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