With all of the talk about Integrated Project Delivery and Lean design and construction principles, it’s nice to be part of a team that truly gets it. I was fortunate recently to be part of such a team.

We were working as part of a master planning design team for a major greenfield replacement project. As the design team was developing conceptual options for the project, we began discussing exterior skin options before a line or sketch was put to paper. Using our conceptual cost modeling tool, we were able to establish detailed target value budgets for the building system components based on recent similar projects and images of what the architects wanted to convey through design.

A major component for any project is the exterior skin, which can represent 7–10% of the total construction cost. More importantly, the exterior skin creates the image and aesthetic for the owner, and we must get it right. Once the target budget was developed, we worked hand in hand with the architect to compare alternative materials and combinations of materials that conveyed the desired image yet remained within budget. Neither of us wanted to present an image that we felt the owner would like but that did not meet the budget. After many iterations and a full day charette, the team developed three or four options to present to the owner, all of which conveyed the desired aesthetic and met the budget established before any lines were drawn.

It was exciting to see the power of an Integrated Project Delivery method firsthand, in which all parties were open to suggestions and true collaboration was used to develop options for the owner to choose from—options that were truly in the owner’s best interest.