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In Focus: Expedited Processes Equal Speed to Market
Warren Seil, Vice President, Morgan/Harbour Construction  (Feb/Mar 08)
 
In today's global economy, it is imperative for manufacturers to maintain their competitive edge in the marketplace. When holding onto that edge requires a new facility, cost and time are the two largest considerations.

The process of designing, permitting, and constructing a new facility requires several months depending on the size of the project. Retaining an experienced design-build contractor from the outset will result in an expedited design, permitting, and construction process, thereby saving time and money.

When selecting a qualified design-build contractor, seek a firm that values early and consistent communication. One of the most important ingredients to a successful fast-track project is clear communication between the owner/manufacturer and the construction team. The manufacturer should outline the needs and requirements of the project while also educating the contractor on his or her manufacturing process. This enables the contractor to better select a team of qualified subcontractors that fit the project's specific needs. Consistent communication throughout the design-build process also reduces the number of changes, which can delay the schedule and potentially add cost.

Site selection is a significant factor in the efficient completion of a new building, and bringing the contractor or qualified real estate professional in to assist with this selection can be advantageous. A contractor or real estate professional can offer assistance during the due diligence process and recognize other areas of concern.

Once the land has been secured and the contractor has been chosen, it's time to begin design and secure permits. Design and permitting can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking months to complete. One way to expedite construction is to secure separate permits for each phase of construction as allowed by the municipality. In lieu of waiting for a full building permit, the contractor can seek a grading permit, a foundation permit, and a shell and core permit separately. Obtaining multiple permits allows construction to begin while the remaining phases are still being designed and permitted.

So while the foundation and grading are underway, the shell permit is in the process of approval. There may be additional permit review fees incurred by this fast-track permitting process; however, this cost is nominal and not nearly as significant as months of additional construction time.

The design-build process enables a manufacturer to occupy the new facility in an expedited time frame, which is better suited for the manufacturer's current, expanding, and long-term needs. After all, time is money - particularly in this high-speed global marketplace. An experienced contractor and contracting team are key factors in the successful completion of any new manufacturing facility.

 
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