Bozzuto Construction continues to navigate the unparalleled events surrounding COVID-19 to ensure the well-being of our employees, subcontractors and valued partners. Over the past few weeks, the Bozzuto COVID-19 Taskforce has implemented several protocols and guidelines to keep our project teams safe.
As we have all experienced, the introduction of social distancing has changed how we communicate. While our sites remain operational in permitted regions, Bozzuto project teams are now conducting Zoom video calls and other technologies in lieu of in-person meetings as often as possible. While we used virtual collaboration platforms prior to the pandemic, we are relying on them more than ever to ensure you that all lines of communication remain open without interruption.
Currently, my top priority is monitoring COVID-19 and informing you of any significant impacts to our projects. While this has my focus, I cannot lose sight of my responsibility to also keep you updated on other company-related news. As such, I would like to share the following with you.
Stay safe and thank you for your continued support.
Taking an Integrated Project Approach to Reduce Cost Variability
For large, complex construction projects to be successful, we know that we must deliver more than just high-quality buildings. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping costs as predictable as possible is more important than ever. Achieving this requires the right processes—especially before construction begins.
A Better Way—BIPA
With a traditional approach, the design and scope often evolve during the Conceptual Design Phase, but often no one shares these changes with the wider team. As a result, the budget is higher at the bid meeting, and this surprise creates angst and pushback that can quickly derail a project.
After seeing this scenario play out too many times, we were determined to find a new way to mitigate cost and timing risks in all endeavors. We knew that if we could remove this challenge, projects would both stay on budget and deliver more efficient results throughout every phase.
So, we studied the different points when cost variability threatens projects and communication breaks down. And we realized that the solution was straightforward: We need to involve the entire project team, including subcontractors, earlier in the process. With this insight, we developed a method to address this pressing need, the Bozzuto Integrated Project Approach (BIPA).
Rather than ask for bids using predetermined designs like in the old model, we now engage input from major subcontractors and materials suppliers at the very beginning. By doing so, we can incorporate their input throughout the entire design process. With this change, pricing exercises at each design milestone happen more quickly and seamlessly. We can determine the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) or budget during the Schematic Design Phase—and have all team members work to this number.
“Ideally, we want to actively bid a project once it hits the 50% Design Development Phase,” says Brady Davidow, Director of Preconstruction at Bozzuto. “Early input and coordination drives subcontractors and designers to maintain competitive pricing throughout design.”
How the Process Changes
Traditionally, stakeholders such as the interior designer and electrician would never work together. But, we discovered that removing these barriers allows for more efficient, integrated communication. For example, the architect, consultants, and contractor can all provide their unique knowledge and work together to immediately answer a drawing-related question. By selecting teams early—and freeing them to design together—BIPA shortens the redesign process, thus reducing the risk of cost delays due to RFIs and change orders.
“Early collaboration also enables us to tie in the Revit model sooner,” explains Senior Vice President Josh Peters, who leads both the Bozzuto Construction preconstruction and technology/innovation teams. “By having a 300–400 level design prior to the project start, we save time and money. Subcontractors know what work the team has already coordinated and what materials they need to order.”
In addition, this approach helps us secure adequate subcontractor coverage much earlier. We never want to be in a position where we need to begin a project and the qualified teams are booked through the next year. When the subcontractors are at the table working out the project schedule and site logistics with us, they trust it will begin on time and know to plan accordingly.
In our experience, BIPA reduces the risk for scope creep, minimizes design-related change orders, and generates operating revenue faster. And since BIPA expands the Schematic Design Phase to allow for advanced planning, you can break ground months earlier than what’s possible with traditional preconstruction.
BIPA in Action
Adjusting when you bring in subcontractors and how everyone communicates is more than just a process shift—it transforms how you work. Altus Towson Row Student Housing in Towson, MD is a current Bozzuto Construction project that demonstrates how well BIPA improves efficiency and cost consistency.
Using our BIPA method, Bozzuto Construction set the budget for the project and held it through the design process. The project owner, GD Towson Row, LLC paid the subcontractors’ design fees through our preconstruction agreement versus the traditional approach where all design fees go through the architect and their consultants. This approach enabled us to meet the ambitious project start date. In fact, we were able to avoid three to four months of design and then six to eight weeks of bidding/negotiation to reach a GMP and begin construction.
Ultimately, when we lead an integrated team with BIPA, our job is to bring the developer’s unique vision to life with the most cost-effective, highest quality work. By engaging all stakeholders earlier in the design process, we can prepare for what’s ahead—and reach a better outcome, faster.Learn more about Mark Weisner