We recently announced that we are now working with Dallas-based The Beck Group to put ALICE to work to optimize their capital projects. The Beck Group uses the design-build project delivery method – a particularly good fit for ALICE. In this post, we take a look at how The Beck Group will use ALICE and why design-build is such a good match for our platform.
Beck is known for successfully delivering large-scale, complex projects such as newly transformed Phipps Plaza in Atlanta. Beck will use the ALICE platform on a project it is designing and building for Woods Capital’s Pacific Elm Properties. Called The Ivy, the project is a 200,000 SF mixed-use tower. It will deliver ground-floor retail, nine floors of office space, and eight levels of above-ground parking just north of Dallas’ fast-growing Knox District.
Beck’s Chief Corporate Officer, Bryce Morrow, sees The Ivy as an ideal use case for the ALICE platform. “ALICE will create thousands of innovative ways to deliver The Ivy and find the best solution to build it in a way that traditional technologies cannot.”
Champions of the design-build method, the Beck Group is offering its clients a number of advantages by working to this model. In contrast to the old-school design-bid-build model, design-build:
- Simplifies communications, as there are fewer parties involved. Communication is constant and ongoing throughout the project, which can minimize misunderstandings and rework.
- Eliminates budget surprises for the owner, as the design-bid firm and the owner work together on the negotiation of project price early on
- Often results in a total lower project cost given efficiency increases that come with design-build
- Often leads to faster completion. In design-bid-build projects, contractors must devote time to bidding. But in design-build projects, firms move directly from design to construction. A recent white paper published by the Construction Industry Institute showed that the delivery speed for design-build projects is 102% faster than that for design-bid-build projects.
- Reduces legal costs and complexities (one contract vs. multiple contracts), as well as the potential for litigation, as owners and their design-build partners work in close synch with one another
So why is ALICE a good match with the design-build delivery method?
ALICE + the Design-Build Model
Design-build firms like The Beck Group can put ALICE’s construction optioneering capabilities to work early to create a variety of potential project schedules – and to then iterate on these schedules as they test ways in which they might vary them using “what-if” analysis. The firm might ask “if we were to use a third crane on our project, how would that impact project delivery time?,” for example, and then determine the impact that that choices could have on their construction plan. Or, they might ask, “if we were to add another tunnel boring machine, could we decrease our project duration, and by how much? And, would that investment be worth the cost?” The knowledge that comes from such use of ALICE can provide powerful insights to the owner and design-build partner as they collaborate to determine both what gets built and how.
With the design-bid-build model, the relationship between the general contractor and the owner can get fractious during the execution phase. GCs can press to make up for cost overruns by proposing change orders. And, under pressure to hit their schedule commitments, they sometimes don’t give their customers a true understanding of where progress stands vs. plan – and then surprise owners when they communicate delays.
The design-build model is inherently more synergistic. The owner and the firm communicate openly and often during construction. And, if they determine that a project is veering off schedule, they can use ALICE to revise their schedule based on new constraints to claw back lost time. Let’s say, for example, that prolonged bad weather has made it difficult for a builder to field particular crews as planned. With ALICE, the design-build firm can identify opportunities to run multiple crews in parallel to regain lost time – and will then communicate that change of plans to the owner to maintain his confidence.
More collaborative than confrontational, more communicative than close-mouthed, the design-build model is rapidly gaining ground vs. conventional design-bid-build delivery method. It is a style of building – and of working – that is an excellent fit for ALICE, as it aligns owners with their design-bid firms partners. We’re excited to team up with The Beck Group on The Ivy and other projects and will keep you updated on our joint successes in the ALICE case studies section of our site.
Frequently asked questions
Design build firms assume responsibility for both the construction and design phases of a project. This means they are liable for any potential design issues or errors, unlike in traditional methods where these would be the responsibility of the design consultant.
With the design build model, traditional relationships between project owners and contractors shift, as contractors take on the design role. ALICE provides valuable insights for both the contractor and the project owner, minimizing risks early on and keeping the project on schedule and within budget.
By using ALICE for design build, contractors can present construction plans and schedules to project owners with confidence. ALICE’s construction optioneering platform ensures design build firms can use “what-if” scenarios to simulate a variety of construction strategies within minutes to determine the best possible construction outcomes from the start.