On Sunday, our nation will gather around television sets in homes, bars and restaurants to watch the biggest football game of the year: Super Bowl LIII. Those with deep pockets will travel to Atlanta to watch the New England Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams in person. Companies will spend millions of dollars to place a 30-second TV ad for the millions of viewers tuning in. The victorious team will win a trophy and bragging rights for the next year. The winning players will likely have opportunities to earn major money through endorsements. A lot is riding on this single game.
At any given moment in any given place, Super Bowls are happening all around us in the construction world. For owners, there’s a ton at stake when an individual wants to build their dream home, or when a company wants to build a new factory, office building, school, or hospital. These projects are one of the largest investments we make as homeowners or business advisors, and like playing in the Super Bowl, is likely to only happen once in a lifetime (unless, of course, you are Tom Brady). And yet, up until a few decades ago, it was common to choose a builder by one standard: low bid. The choice was made for you—who’s willing to do the work for the least amount of money. So “Builder A has a hammer as does Builder B” somehow equals both builders having the same qualifications.
That logic doesn’t work, though. Imagine this scenario for the upcoming Super Bowl:
Team A: Over the next two weeks, the team collaborates to prepare for the big game. The coaching staff meets to develop a game plan based on their team’s strengths and their opponents’ weaknesses. The coaching staff then gathers the special team members, offensive team members, and defensive team members. The coaches relay the game plan for each unit. The entire team then takes to the practice field and works together day after day to prepare as a collaborative unit for the big day.
Team B: Over the next two weeks, the coaches meet to develop a game plan for the Super Bowl. They design plays they believe will be effective against the opponent. However, the coaching staff doesn’t share this information with the players. You didn’t read that wrong. They instruct the players to go home and return on Super Bowl Sunday. Two weeks pass. It’s the big day. The coaches walk into the locker room just before game time to tell their players their vision for winning the Super Bowl.
“Gather round team,” the coach says. He then begins to roll out a bunch of papers with diagrams and plans that he would like the players to execute over the next few hours. It’s 15 minutes until game time. The poor players, standing there like deer in headlights, are trying to take in as much information as possible, knowing the whole time they are facing a much more prepared team. The pressure is overwhelming, but it’s time. It’s time for the Super Bowl kick off.
In this scenario which team do you think will win the Super Bowl? Team A that collaborated and prepared as a unit or Team B that gathered at the last minute before playing in the biggest football game of the year…perhaps their lives?
For hundreds of years, we as consumers of design and construction approached construction projects like Team B. There is a much better way: collaboration. With your project on the line, would you want your builder, architect, and engineers collaborating before shovels hit the ground, or would you want them figuring things out during the building process?
By hiring qualified architects and general contractor at the same time, owners can limit change orders, save money, and shorten the building schedule. Preparation on the front end will save owners pain on the back end.
But hey, winging it has never gone bad, right?
Need a crash course on construction delivery methods? Look no further.