The benefits of fast tracking a project are attractive to say the least. Successful fast track construction gives owners an edge by allowing them to enter a target market sooner, launching immediate revenue streams and a chance to beat potential competitors to the punch. If, and this is an important if, a fast-track project can limit its mistakes so costs don’t match or surpass the savings from an accelerated construction schedule, fast track construction would certainly be worth the trouble.
With far less time to check and finalize details, architects and engineers must race to create often incomplete designs so construction can commence quickly. Mistakes and corrections are inevitable, but their extent is largely unknown until the project starts. How designers approach construction design and the coordination of their respective project teams will directly affect whether or not an owner gains a dime from the fast-track method. The designer’s burden is heavy.
Make Project Objectives Clear, Avoid Scope Creep
As the designer in a fast track project, you will inevitably be forced to make assumptions and create frameworks for projects without the needed depth of detail, which leaves room for error. Project teams must pick up the slack and remain unfazed even in the face of contingency plans, design reworks or unseen design flaws. Project teams that become too involved in alternative tasks can easily lose sight of their primary goals. This scope creep must be avoided at all costs in order to salvage the benefits of the fast track method. As a designer, you must work closely with the general contractor and owner to resolve disputes of scope and enhance constructability where possible. Clarity of goals, even if design details are muddled, is absolutely required.
Communicate with Project Teams and Involve them in Construction Design
To help fight future scope creep, it’s advisable that designers involve project teams in the front-end construction planning. They can better prepare themselves for any potential pitfalls within the scope of their projects and future disputes can be better mitigated. Allowing project teams more up-front insights will not only help develop improved contingency plans, but give teams the power to help you, the designer, create any necessary design reworks where necessary.
Value Constructability — Control What You Can Despite Time Constraints
While you might be hard-pressed to iron out exact dimensions in the initial designs of a project, pay special attention to constructability. Understand how you can better streamline your project teams’ work, even when having to make inconvenient design assumptions in the absence of data or review time. Enhancing constructability can include building materials chosen, such as rapid-drying concrete, that prevent extended construction delays. By focusing on making the project teams’ life easier, they can better respond to issues where an initial design falls short.