Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2014

Joint Event Held with NAWIC San Francisco

by Cameron White

For our first 2014 event January 8, we held a joint meeting with the National Association of Women in Construction, NAWIC San Francisco: Managing Design Risk. It was a great meeting, attended by a number of OWA members. After joining us as speaker at our Mentoring Event last June, Antonya Williams of McCarthy Building Companies invited us to partner with NAWIC at this meeting and foster an ongoing relationship. Thank you Antonya!

NAWIC, whose core purpose is to enhance the success of women in the construction industry, was established in 1955 and has thousands of members in 140 chapters around the country. Their programs include an Education Foundation and mentoring summer camps for girls interested in the construction field. They sponsor more than 6,000 students each year promoting construction education at the elementary school level. Their Founders' Scholarship awards $50,000 in scholarships to students enrolled in higher education and skilled trades training programs.

The presentation on best practices in managing design risk was given by the multi-disciplinary team who had worked together on the Li-Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences building on the UC Berkeley campus. Discussion centered on design risk in relation to different project delivery approaches with speakers from UC Berkeley, ZGF, McCarthy, and CS Erectors: Teri Mathers, UC Berkeley Project Manager; Stefanie Becker, AIA NCARB, Associate Partner, ZGF Architects LLP; Paul Erb, Project Director McCarthy Building Companies; and Mike Carvin, President & Owner C/S Erectors (representing a subcontractor's perspective).

Each of the various typical project delivery methods -- hard bid, Construction Manager/General Contractor At Risk, and Design/Build -- has different approaches to risk. Design Assist is a method where subcontractors are brought in early during the design process to provide input, constructability review and shop drawings.

Design risk is anything that can affect the quality or completeness of the design. Common construction risks include cost estimating accuracy, scope management, geotech issues, existing conditions, owner-furnished contractor-installed equipment, and user group uncertainty. Others are schedule risks, use of bleeding edge technology and decision-making.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) has several potential benefits, including shared risk, greater cost certainty, identification and resolution of project issues early in the project. Others are accelerated spatial coordination and reduced risk of escalation.

Some effects of unchecked risk are potentials delays, cost overruns, inefficiencies and damaged relationships.

It was an interesting discussion on the realities of design risk in today's industry and best practices in managing those risks led by a team that functioned well and completed a large and attractive building together. We look forward to a continuing relationship with NAWIC.

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