When a design team brings in a precaster for “design assist,” they typically intend to procure precast concrete early in the design process to leverage the precaster’s expertise and advice to determine the most efficient methods, sizes, finishes, etc. to maximize efficiency throughout the project.
The key benefits of the design-assist process are to secure a guaranteed schedule and a guaranteed price for the precast work. We will draw on our experience and expertise to prepare our guaranteed design assist proposal; which will include a detailed scope description along with our preliminary drawings, Gantt chart schedule, erection logistics and other specific project information, based on the outline information provided by the owners design team.
In this process, Blakeslee does not replace the architect or engineer of record but becomes a more closely involved partner in advising both. The architect and engineer retain their responsibilities for the building’s concepts and structural system. The precaster helps achieve these goals in the most cost-effective way, using their individual expertise and efficiencies. This may involve value-engineering aspects of the structure or simply working out the appropriate schedule.
Additional benefits of the design-assist process include:
Developing concrete mixtures and finishes during the development process rather than going through a sample-approval process after bid and award, saving time and money.
Monitoring the budget continuously so new pricing information can be provided to ensure the full impact is understood when new items related to the precast concrete production are introduced.
Suggesting value-engineering concepts that exploit precast concrete’s advantages as early as possible to reduce costs.
Improving information flow and drawing approval once shop drawings begin.
Advising on constructability issues and site logistics.
Participating in development of a detailed project schedule.
Reducing lead times with everyone on the same page from the beginning.
Design assist follows the recent trend toward using the design/build delivery method. Design assist has proven to often enhance the process by taking advantage of each participant’s experience via collaboration. It can lead to better ideas for meeting accelerated schedules, reducing risk, and avoiding price escalation.
To employ design assist, the design team establishes a schematic program via preliminary drawings, such as floor plans, building sections, elevations, typical wall sections, information on construction classification & type, special loading, occupied spaces, and outline specifications. Blakeslee then uses those documents to prepare a detailed proposal, with a scope of work description and a guaranteed schedule.
These concepts are reviewed and tweaked as needed through several design meetings until the most efficient design is achieved to meet the owner’s goals while creating precast concrete components. The meetings are attended by Blakeslee’s project manager, project engineer and/or project coordinator. We also provide estimating as well as input and advice for component design, fabrication, engineering, erection, and hauling as needed.
When design development is completed, the contract value and schedule are adjusted to reflect any changes from the original agreed-upon scope of work. These changes occur early in the process to ensure budget and schedule are maintained.
In return for your commitment to Blakeslee’s services early in the design phases, we commit to holding the production slot needed to meet the schedule as we collectively work through and finalize the design. Once a defined start date for precast erection is set, Blakeslee provides a Gantt chart schedule.
The design assist procedure can save a significant amount of time, money, and changes. It also helps to ensure the owner receives his project on time and on budget, with few surprises or disruptions along the way.