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Design & Build Services
Our in house draftsman and architectural services will provide a builder’s approach, floor plan design, and concept for any project.
Our clients recognize SWS for its outstanding track record of completing projects on time and within budget. We accomplish this through hands-on involvement of our experienced staff through all phases of the project. Our objective is to ensure that individual projects are completed in a cost efficient manner, while maximizing funding resources. SWS utilizes a schedule as a tool to plan, manage and track the work. We strive to develop schedules that are simple to understand, yet complex enough to track the important aspects of a project. Our schedules are developed with input from those stakeholders who are accountable to make things happen. We realize that managing schedules is a dynamic process because the design and construction industry is complex and is susceptible to change from a multitude of causes.
We have extensive experience in working with educational, healthcare, governmental, and commercial projects. We have worked closely with facility managers, architects, engineers, specialty consultants, inspectors and trade contractors and we have direct experience working with state and local government officials. We understand the planning, funding, design, approval, bid, award, and construction processes. This extensive experience enables SWS to develop realistic program and project schedules, where we are able to ask the important questions, probe for difficult situations, plan for contingencies, and mobilize a group of stakeholders into developing a plan of action.
SWS utilizes state-of-the-art technology to develop and manage schedules for our client’s projects. For complex programs and projects, SWS utilizes P6, the backbone of our scheduling service. Our staff utilizes Microsoft Project as a tool to develop “what if?” scenarios, 3-week look ahead schedules, and for spontaneous planning sessions.
Schedule Development & Management
SWS’s project manager is responsible for preparing a Master Schedule for the program or project. Our scheduling staff, located in SWS’s corporate office, assists the project manager. The Master Schedule is a computer based, Critical Path Method (CPM) schedule that enables the project team to accurately monitor all aspects for the planning, design and construction process. The Master Schedule will serve as the blueprint for delivery and will ensure that the interrelated activities of planning, design, bidding, construction and commissioning are coordinated and are supportive of each other.
The SWS team develops and manages a schedule through the following steps:
- Review project scope of work and all available project information (drawing, specification, general requirements, estimate)
- Review project with stakeholders, list project milestones
- Plan the work breakdown structure
- Review / develop deliverables
- Review with major subcontractors
- Develop preliminary schedule, list major construction phases and plan the schedule detail with project management
- Develop detail schedule with logic ties
- Review with project management
- Finalize schedule with CPM logic
- Cost load activities if required
- Project management review cost loaded schedule
- Prepare final CPM cost loaded schedule
- Assist in the preparation of the schedule of values
- Prepare the scheduling specification
- Prepare weekly and monthly progress reports
- Weekly/monthly review of subcontractor and material schedules
- Participate in weekly/monthly progress meeting
- Review and analyze project schedules
- Be proactive, communicate with all parties to head off potential problems
- Review and evaluate major schedule changes (change orders, schedule delays)
- Develop workaround / recovery schedules
- Provide technical support for PM’s
- Produce project performance reports
- Produce program management summary reports
SWS offers professional construction management and general construction services on both public and private sector projects. Our team of highly diversified professionals is experienced in providing agency construction management, multiple prime delivery, construction management at-risk, and design-build services.
Our techniques combined with a builder approach adds value to every project as it enables the team to manage budgets, drive schedules, and ensure the quality of the built product, while maintaining strong relationships with project team members.
The most critical exercise for most projects is establishing the project budget, and then to adhere to the established project budget. SWS’s skills and professionalism in this process is widely recognized. Our diligence helps to confirm that the project budget is sufficient to build the project as required and as envisioned.
Establishing the initial budget occurs at the earliest phase of project development. SWS excels, especially during the early project stage, at understanding the unique circumstances and challenges faced by each project. Recognizing the big picture and tailoring the estimate to accommodate project requirements is a task section performed with confidence. In this way, the scope of the project can be trimmed to meet the budget. The estimate is then examined by the project team, normalized to the budget, and adopted.
The project budget is then maintained at milestone intervals by regular estimate updates. From each stage of project development, the project is evaluated for adherence to the budget. Strict conformance to the budget is accomplished by a constant maintenance of drawing development, and by estimate updates.
Each estimate is augmented by isolated studies as required to help determine project specifics (i.e., roofing materials, exterior building skin, structural systems, etc.). The process of cost estimating is accomplished by utilizing the SWS estimating staff, which counts over one hundred years of combined practical, hands-on experience, establishing the cost of construction projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Project experience fits into a wide variety of disciplines, including civic/municipal, education, healthcare, institutional, laboratory facilities, biomedical, entertainment, and commercial.
We understand budget limitations placed on clients today, making efficient use of available funds more important than ever. Therefore, the process of value engineering is a very important element in the preconstruction phase of the project for controlling the budget. The goal of the process is to maintain the intent and character of the facilities while reducing the overall cost. It often involves complex trade-offs and requires each member of the project team to make concessions.
The most effective value engineering ideas are those that do not alter the quality of the finish materials, but offer price reductions for something “unseen,” such as foundation and framing systems, conduit and piping materials, roofing materials, or equipment manufacturers. Often, a value engineering suggestion may be the result of a change in the way a project is phased or fast-tracked . Of course, all such considerations are weighed against agency standards of quality and materials.
SWS has extensive experience in providing value engineering services to its clients. Because our teams have extensive experience in design-build and similar delivery types, SWS’s value engineering process is firmly embedded in our culture and is a part of how we conduct our day-to-day business during project management. SWS value engineering approach is based upon the systematic evaluation of each part of the design as a unit and as an integral part of the total system, in the interest of designing to achieve the lowest overall cost, while meeting the design objectives.
During the construction phase, SWS will continue to investigate and listen closely to the suggestions of all project participants to reveal further opportunities for cost savings without compromising design integrity.
Because of our construction and construction management expertise, our clients have the unique opportunity to manage costs from the design stage of the project to the completion of the project.
Our in-house staff of construction managers combined with our in-house estimators work literally side by side to ensure our clients’ budgets are met. The interactive and reiterative process of designing, budgeting and refining the design also allows the client to manage the design when the potential for cost savings is the greatest – the pre-construction phase. This process continues through our builders providing constructability reviews and developing value engineering ideas and alternates. After the project is bid, SWS’s cost control is continued through construction by our experienced project managers and through our information systems applications.
- Pre-Construction – Our team of construction managers and estimators begin by space planning with our clients while understanding their financial parameters. Whether it is cost per square feet or overall budget, our team will develop financial targets with the owner, which will allow the design to be based upon the needs of the client, as his financial resources will allow. Opportunities to improve a project’s features and cost effectiveness are best realized at this stage.
- Constructability Review – Our team of builders will review the plans and specifications for coordination, constructability and completeness. This review minimizes the change order costs associated with plans that have not been reviewed by a team of experienced builders.
- Value Engineering/Alternates Analysis – If budgets shrink or economical factors require that the current design be analyzed for cost savings, our team of architects, estimators and builders can develop an extensive list of value engineering ideas attached with approximate cost savings for our clients to pick and choose from. The client’s selections are prioritized and are either implemented into the plans or prepared as additive or deductive alternates.
- Competitive Bidding – SWS’s contractor/subcontractor network and systems allows us to provide solid coverage and competitively bid the contracts and/or subcontracts to provide our clients with a competitive price based on the appropriate sector of the bidding community.
- Project Management – SWS’s experienced project management team proactively searches for solutions and construction methods to minimize cost impacts, while information systems allow us to track and report all aspects of costs as requested by the client. RFIs are augmented with proposed solutions and cost impacts are estimated to help our clients make informed decisions.
- Communication – The construction progress meetings provide the forum to distribute the cost reports and logs with the opportunity to discuss cost control and mitigation.
- Closeout & Risk Management – SWS’s construction experience allows for fair and equitable negotiations for closing out construction issues, which will minimize the chances for time and money consuming claims and litigation.
Inspection Q & A
The primary objective of the quality control program is to ensure that quality work is performed consistent with the client’s expectations, in accordance with contract drawings and specifications, and in compliance with applicable regulations and restrictions.
Quality control is enabled by well-established relationships with our consultant team and through implementing a regular and thorough process of document review, coordination and back checking. SWS requires each consultant to undertake quality control checks of the products and services and to coordinate the work of others to ensure that there are no conflicts or omissions. Our Project Managers, will distribute review comment reports to all consultants, and require a response to each.
Our integral construction management staff regularly implements a quality control program for our projects, including:
- Constructability and Coordination reviews of the drawings and specifications during design development.
- Obtaining subcontractor input regarding materials, means and methods.
- Local contractor outreach.
- Prequalification of bidders and personnel (if deemed necessary by the Client).
- Management of contract documents to assure that only the most current documents are used for construction.
- Coordination of testing and inspection services.
- Labor compliance.
- Preconstruction meetings with key stakeholders for focused features of the work.
- Management of submittals and approvals to ensure complete contract compliance.
- Management of samples and mock-ups and all associated approvals to ensure contract compliance.
- Verification of site conditions to ensure that all preparatory work required to be performed is complete and that the work area is safe.
- Documentation of quality procedures, checklists, tests and inspections.
- Project commissioning, including punch-list corrections, equipment start-up, facility personnel training and turnover of equipment operation and maintenance manuals.