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In an evolving market where projects are large in scale and come with their own set of requirements, collaboration is crucial to finding success in the Federal space. Combining traditional methods, early involvement, and other technology tools, our Federal team is finding ways to take collaboration to another level for project success.

Integration of the complete team via collaborative delivery in all phases fosters transparency and improves results. In the Federal market, the delivery method is often dictated by the funding strategy. However, with projects increasing in complexity and size, it is a collaborative mindset and culture combined with JE Dunn’s collaboration tools and processes that have the most impact on project outcomes regardless of the delivery method.


In the Federal space, a Best-Value procurement, where price and technical approach are important, but the design is complete, is a favored process due to funding profiles that fund programming and design well before the contractor is involved. While this delivery method works because of its established parameters, collaboration is even more important between team members to ensure the building can be constructed as specified, particularly when unique circumstances present themselves—as in the US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. “The restoration of the Chapel is unlike any project I’ve worked on, from a coordination standpoint,” said Senior Project Manager Donny Tennyson. “Though we utilized a traditional delivery method, this project presented opportunities for collaboration with the owner and our specialty trades. From the submission of certified pricing and a massive temporary enclosure, to coordinating specialty contractors due to the number of historic pieces; we needed a collaborative mindset to execute.”


A delivery method gaining traction because of opportunities for early collaboration between the owner and the design-construction team is Design-Build. Integrating design and construction teams early in the process means constructability is considered con- currently with the owner’s design goals being developed—saving valuable time on the front end while providing clients the most value. “The Design-Build delivery method streamlines the process by bringing design and construction expertise together on one team. Designers get the benefit of real-time cost estimating and constructability reviews during design, while the contractor has visibility to the importance of design decisions and can accelerate schedule with early packaging,” said National Design Director Chris Migneron. “An effective Design-Build team should be able to work efficiently to save the owner time and money without sacrificing quality.”


While Design-Build relies on early collaboration, Integrated Design- Build Initial Outfitting (IDBIO) takes design-build to another level. IDBIO focuses on the end-state of a project and requires the highest level of collaboration between all parties. It is ideal for medical projects or facilities with complex furniture and equipment needs as all furniture, equipment, tools, and accessories can be planned for during design for a true turnkey client experience. This approach minimizes changes after construction because all the furnishing and equipment needs, like space requirements and utility needs, were considered during the design phase.

At the Tyndall AFB Medical Clinic, the JE Dunn team involved all design and construction team members as well as our trade partners in partnering sessions, charrettes, and pull planning. Throughout the process, Bluebeam Studio, BIM (Building Information Modeling), and BIM 360 Field helped the team visualize critical design and schedule issues. The IDBIO process, where furnishings and equipment were essential to the design, was the driving factor in JE Dunn being honored with an AGC Build America Award. And JE Dunn was just awarded the Ambulatory Care Center at Tyndall due to the collaboration at the Clinic.

After successfully completing 24 military clinics utilizing IDBIO delivery, JE Dunn self-performed the design of the Mountain Home Medical Center—a feat that we plan to do again on the $28M Tyndall Air Force Base Ambulatory Care Center in Florida, proving that collaboration tools that were previously reserved for larger work are also instrumental in smaller projects.


Collaboration begins with a commitment from all parties for transparency, but there are some additional tech tools that can enhance the process while fostering a team-first mindset. At the $305M Fort Leonard Wood Hospital project, JE Dunn and RLF performed 10 virtual reality models—the first military project to utilize 3-D technology—for the stakeholders to digitally walk through the space before finalizing the design. Once the design was refined, the team provided eight physical mockups, so healthcare professionals could get a feel for the space and con- tribute to the final product.

Another first for the US Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Leonard Wood was the implementation of Collaborative Analytics. Through monthly surveys focused on communication, engagement, quality of work, innovation, organization, accountability, level of support, and team environment, the team continuously monitors stress and productivity and plots them on graphs to better identify trends. “By finding these pinch points as they arise, potential issues can be dealt with before they become a strain on efficiency and production,” said Vice President Bob Latas.

Scheduled for completion in 2024, early indicators of Collaborative Analytics suggest it is a game changer when it comes to collaboration and transparency. “A benefit of Collaborative Analytics is the ability to identify collaboration issues while there is still time to affect the outcome,” said Kelly Miller, Program Manager, Kansas City District, Fort Leonard Wood Replacement Hospital project. “The attention being focused on collaboration and improving our partnership has resulted in a better understanding and appreciation of how our different perspectives lead to better outcomes and establish a high degree of trust between team members.”


While finding ways to collaborate—within traditional delivery methods or by incorporating new tools such as Collaborative Analytics— the commitment to applying lessons learned further enhances the process and fosters a team-first mindset critical to the success of large-scale projects.