Felderman Design Build believes that quality, completion dates and costs can be brought firmly under control by assigning total responsibility for all these factors to one single entity: the Design-Builder.
Like the master builders of ancient times, Felderman's responsibilities span the entire building process, from conception through completion. To be effective, a design-build organization must combine strong management ability with experience in balancing good design with construction value
The Design-Builder participates in the conception of the project. He has preliminary designs, working drawings and specifications prepared, and then constructs the facility - all under a "single-source" responsibility contract.
As the Design-Builder learns about the owner's expectations and requirements with regard to size, function, quality, timing and cost, he develops a building program that includes a guaranteed maximum cost (GMAX).
All these expectations and requirements are interrelated. Function affects quality, for example. A cost decision involving choice of materials can affect the completion date. An integral feature of the design-build method is that all of these important factors are continually balanced during the development of the program, preparation of the working plans and specs and even during the actual construction. Value/Cost/Time studies are run constantly during the planning stage, thus developing a practical solution consistent with project goals for function, quality, time and costs.
In the conceptual and development phase, the Design-Builder conducts feasibility studies. The project's overall viability can be tested via various financial and spatial models. Through expansion of these models the Design-Builder and owner develop a list of specifications and a set of performance criteria that form the heart of the architectural program and a GMAX is established.
It is essential that there be good communication and understanding at this phase, for these preliminary plans and definitions set the tone for the working drawings and establish the scope of work that is the basis for the Guaranteed Maximum costs. Owners must insist on as much detail as they require to feel that their wishes and needs are satisfied. By setting these parameters, the owner's expectations are understood and easier to achieve by the Design-Builder.
During preparation of working plans and specifications, costs are continuously monitored to make certain the GMAX will not be exceeded. "Long-lead" materials and equipment that may affect schedules are identified. If necessary, the project can be accelerated by starting construction while the drawings are still being completed. This requires only proper programming of the drawing production and phasing of the necessary permits.
Ambiguities, misunderstandings and confusion during construction buyouts and execution are eliminated via fully descriptive drawings and contract documents outlining the level of detail acceptable to all parties. The owner is made privy to the subcontractor bidding process on a full-disclosure basis.
Design-Build should be considered a "one stop shopping" alternative that is ideal from the owner's standpoint. The Owner gets to deal with a single, responsible entity, has maximum freedom in selecting an architectural concept, is assured of quality commensurate with his/her intentions and proceeds with the comforts of cost and schedule guarantees.