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Maximizing the tools and technology JE Dunn has available sets projects on the path to construction success.

Pull planning, value proposition canvas, graphic master schedules. There are many tools at a construction team’s disposal to get a project off the ground, but it’s the combination and commitment from all parties, internal and external, that translates to a successful preconstruction process. The team for the Emory University Health Sciences Research Building II project made a deliberate decision during the pursuit and preconstruction phases to utilize the tools we tout to create a positive and transparent process from beginning to end.

Value Proposition Canvas

Understanding clients, their values, and their definitions of success is integral to project success. Walking them through a value proposition canvas ensures the team understands everyone’s conditions of satisfaction to better tailor the approach and set expectations. By walking through things such as what this project means to the client functionally, emotionally, and socially helps the team understand what everyone wants out of the building. Then the team focuses on what potential pains or gains could happen in the construction process that we should mitigate (pains) or preserve (gains). Finally, the team summarizes those pain reliefs and gain adders into a handful of actionable services that can implemented from day one.

At Emory University, our team uncovered many broken communication processes from previous projects that could be improved upon. We used the exercise to create alignment meetings, scope review meetings, and a better process for disseminating key information. We also gained greater alignment on what this project means for the campus and community.

Target Value Delivery

With a goal of hitting an overall target cost for the project, all partners and stakeholders need to work collaboratively and creatively to stay true to the cost, creating a true partnership and team effort from top to bottom. Target Value Delivery provides a project team with the format and processes with which to achieve this collaboration from the beginning of the project. The program borrows a tenet from lean processes by breaking down large batches into smaller, more agile pieces. Our team divided the project scope by major discipline and work areas to conduct our team meetings and pricing updates. This created better efficiency in our communication as well as understanding of where our cost overages occurred.

Leveraging Lens

A notable advantage to a smooth preconstruction experience is not only employing JE Dunn’s software Lens, but it’s also maximizing its potential. With four distinct tools within the system, each plays a crucial role in delivering a seamless preconstruction experience and, when used together, provide powerful results for decision-making throughout the design process. 

Lens Search

Backed by an extensive cost history library to use as a frame of reference when developing the budget, Lens Search offers clients peace of mind. When setting the budget for Emory University, we used several projects to create a range and used the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building at University of Colorado Boulder to create our targets, complete with pictures and cost comparisons. This process helped Emory University gain trust in our initial budgets and communicate the overall design intent.

Lens Aim

The power of Lens Aim lies in the fact that the estimate is a living thing, evolving in real time with each design decision. The beauty of it is that teams can use it well before design to provide a realistic, accurate budget even before project award.

A year before the Emory University project was awarded, the JE Dunn team set a target budget for the project during a feasibility study without market input. The greatest value was that the system relates quantities of materials as percentages of building size and shape so that large changes can be analyzed quickly. This was beneficial on the Emory project because early in design the client wanted to analyze adding an additional floor to the building and change the overall shape. We were able to quickly and confidently give them this value because of Aim. The owner was able to make an informed decision and ultimately chose to add the floor.

In addition, Aim allows for a lot of manipulation and flexibility to the output of the estimate. Our estimate must be able to toggle from CSI to Uniformat to match the owner’s cost consultant format. It also must feed into our Target Value Delivery breakdown for our weekly meetings. Lastly, our project team needs the cost grouped in a different format for trade partner buyout. Thanks to Aim, all these breakdowns and formats can be achieved and maintained inside the same document.

Lens View and Focus

Setting a budget is one thing, but seeing the effects of the design in real time is another. Len Focus quantifes building elements from the architect’s digital model and integrates it with the estimate. Lens View is a visualization tool that provides insight into each cost element in the estimate, creating a powerful way for clients to see actual quantities and results of design decisions. The Focus and View tools were an integral part of the design process and critical in presenting Emory and the architect with VE solutions. View allowed the team to see the effects of building skin changes immediately and was a great check to bring back to the design team. The transparency of the tool is benefcial for all partners.
While Lens is a powerful tool and an undeniable benefit for our team in managing this complicated project during design, there’s no doubt it was the commitment from the team to using every tool and every service available that has put the Emory University Health Sciences Research Building on the path to success.