Design-Build: The Ultimate Team Approach

Imagine completing more than 50 percent of a building before the final design plans are even done.

This is the reality at the new Ardmore Readiness Center, a modern training and deployment facility for the Army National Guard in Ardmore, Oklahoma. CMSWillowbrook is constructing the center using an approach known as design-build.

 Architectural rendering of the future Ardmore Readiness Center.

Architectural rendering of the future Ardmore Readiness Center.

 Concrete walls going up.

Concrete walls going up.

Design-build is an increasingly popular project delivery method which puts the architect and construction firm on the same team under one contract.

In the early stages of the Ardmore Readiness Center project, CMSWillowbrook collaborated with the architect on several aspects of the building, which allowed us to start site work while they put the finishing touches on the interior design plans.

In traditional construction projects, owners have one contract with the architect and a separate contract with the construction firm. But great things happen when both entities work on the same team – costs fall, timelines shrink and clients receive a superior product.

When challenges arise, design-build encourages innovative solutions at the best price point. The builder provides insight on costs directly to the architect who can streamline the design, which also helps the project move quicker.

 Workers install precast concrete wall panels at the Ardmore Readiness Center. The modular concrete panels decrease construction times and provide a high level of insulation to help the project meet LEED requirements.

Workers install precast concrete wall panels at the Ardmore Readiness Center. The modular concrete panels decrease construction times and provide a high level of insulation to help the project meet LEED requirements.

Construction of the 82,000-square-foot readiness center will only take about 12 months because of the time-saving aspects of the design-build method. A typical project of this size could take up to two years using traditional construction methods.

However, quality was not sacrificed in the name of time and money. Sustainability, resilience and energy considerations were incorporated into the Ardmore Readiness Center to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving buildings.

When designers and builders work together, it creates a trifecta of value: saving time, saving money and crafting quality projects.

Angelo Bradford, DBIA is the vice president of operations at CMSWillowbrook

Larisha Hunter