Owners, architects, construction managers collaborating more, improving delivery
In early August, I attended the AIA/AGC 73rd Annual Mid Summer Conference on Mackinac Island. This conference brings together architects and contractors for three days of presentations and discussions about the latest trends in our industries.
From an update on District Detroit to a discussion of modern winery design, there were several interesting presentations and lots of insightful dialogue throughout the conference. Here are three ideas that stuck out to me from this year’s meeting:
- Trending towards prefabrication. For several good reasons, prefabrication continues to be popular on many projects. Schedule demands and time pressures necessitate quick turnarounds, and cost sensitivity and expected quality of the finished product mean that prefabrication is a good choice for certain projects. Projects with repeatable elements are good choices for prefabrication. The ability to prefabricate modules off-site often leads to faster production and increased quality. It’s no surprise to see this trend continuing.
- Incentivizing on-time completion. Project owners have always prioritized punctuality. Now, increased pressures mean owners are putting more emphasis than ever on schedule. Today, on-time completion of projects is of utmost importance. Current market conditions, however, mean that owners are realizing that imposing liquidated damages for lateness may not be the best way to drive schedule. Today’s intense demand for construction is leading more owners to incentivize timeliness rather than penalize lateness. In the end, it means a better, more collaborative conversation between contractors and owners about how best to get the job completed according to schedule.
- Improving collaboration. In the past, architects and contractors often had frosty relationships. It’s good to see that changing. As different types of project delivery have continued to evolve, so too has the conversation between AEs and CMs. These relationships are becoming more collaborative, with each side asking how best to help the other and discussing how to work better together. Improved cooperation and communication can only be good news for the industry going forward.