In order to create the best possible building for a client, it’s essential to start with the highest quality set of construction documents. When these crucial documents are complete, precise and free of errors, it translates into huge savings, expedited project schedules and a better facility that performs as expected. For FSB, maintaining this level of quality is the result of a multi-step process that requires a strong interdisciplinary team approach, utilizes state-of-the-art computer software and keeps the client informed at every stage of the process.
“Our firm has an international reputation for producing superior construction documents, and our diligence in this area is a key reason why we have a high percentage of repeat clients,” said Gary James, FSB President, CEO and Civic Market Principal. “Clients generally worry about four things: schedules, cost overruns, change orders and conflicts between any of the interested parties, such as contractor/subcontractor or client/contractor. When you provide thorough, high-quality construction documents, these concerns are addressed right away and worries can be alleviated.”
Exceptional documents require exceptional input, which FSB obtains by conducting multiple in-depth design charrettes at the beginning of each project between the firm’s design team, the client and all other important stakeholders. Once the needs and vision for the project are determined and the design process is underway, the client is kept in the loop.
FSB typically reviews design documents with each client at the 15%, 35%, 65% and 95% complete stages, allowing them to see how their input is being integrated into the overall design. Quality documents are obviously easier for the client to interpret, and they allow everyone involved to identify details that need to be changed for functional, budgetary or aesthetic reasons. There are fewer surprises, and clients are much happier on move-in day.
In contrast, if a firm produces construction documents that are incomplete, confusing, or the client does not see them until the 95% completion stage, that client won’t have the extra security of knowing they’re getting what they’ve paid for and may be unsatisfied with the result.
The architects and engineers at FSB utilize cutting-edge design software for their construction documents, including Revit, BIM (building information modeling) and 3-D AutoCAD. The software lets all parties view the designs in real time and identify any spatial or other conflicts. This can be anything from MEP systems that will not fit into a designated space to equipment models that aren’t the right size to operational efficiency issues. Resolving these conflicts during the design stage avoids many costly change orders on the construction site, meaning every dollar spent up front can potentially save multiple dollars in the field.
Quality documents with no omissions or ambiguity are also appreciated by contractors, since they directly correlate to their ability to stay on schedule, keep costs under control and work more smoothly with subcontractors. If there is any ambiguity in a set of documents, contractors typically will add money for any unknowns they see on a set of drawings, boosting the cost of the project. This is where FSB’s document quality makes a huge difference in keeping projects within budget parameters.
“We have contractors that FSB has worked with for decades,” James said. “They tell us that they look forward to bidding our projects, precisely because they know the drawings will be thorough and well done.”
To achieve this consistent level of quality, FSB follows very strict quality control procedures for each project and its resulting documents. This includes extensive peer reviews of each facility design by an interdisciplinary team of architects and engineers who are not assigned to that project.
“We offer a distinct advantage for clients in this area, since our size and wealth of diverse experience allows FSB to conduct thorough and meaningful QC and constructability reviews during the course of the design,” James said. “There are many A/E firms out there that do not incorporate the level of detail that we do in our construction documents. For FSB, however, it’s a key ingredient in our success.”
To learn more about FSB’s construction document process, contact Gary James, FSB President, CEO and Civic Market Principal, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-840-2931.