Deadlines are critical in the construction industry, especially in competitive markets like New York City and Chicago. If the project is a multifamily or commercial building with tenant spaces, the owner depends on completion to start charging rent. Even if the owner plans to use the new building directly, the property that was used before is freed up for rent or sale.

There are two main factors that slow down the building process: design errors that delay the project approval with local authorities, and construction errors that waste materials and labor. Many of these delays can be avoided with professional engineering and consulting services.

Best practices in construction administration ensure a project meets its scope and schedule, while achieving high quality. Adequate planning, procurement scheduling, risk management and effective communication all contribute to project success.


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Getting a Quick Project Approval

NYC and Chicago are characterized by having stringent building codes, and getting a new project approved can be difficult if the design engineers are not familiarized with codes. Therefore, it pays off to work with an engineering firm that offers local expertise. Consider that building codes are reviewed and updated at regular intervals, and a design that was compliant one decade ago many no longer be approved under current codes.

While building codes establish the minimum requirements to proceed legally with a project, going beyond the code often pays off.

  • For MEP installations, there are many technologies that exceed the requirements of energy codes. The extra efficiency normally comes with an added cost, but the investment is recovered multiple times during the building service life.

  • Going beyond code is also recommended when dealing with fire protection systems. Additional safety measures make a property more attractive for potential tenants, and the owner may also benefit from reduced insurance rates.

By working with engineering experts, building developers can get projects approved on the first attempt, or only with minimal modifications. Design firms often offer supervision services as well, to ensure the building is completed as specified. Consulting engineers can also inspect existing properties to identify and design promising upgrades.

When the project design and approval process is completed quickly, construction activities can also start earlier. Thus, the project is much more likely to meet its deadline.

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How a Good Design Simplifies Construction

Design has a significant influence on the construction process: when the project is well documented and construction details are clear, contractors are less likely to make mistakes. On the other hand, a confusing design often leads to errors and rework.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has emerged as a powerful tool for design and construction, allowing a level of detail that was unfeasible with 2D drafting software. BIM software can also detect conflicting specifications between building systems, ensuring they are corrected before the construction phase.

Ideally, the engineering firm in charge of design should provide supervision services during construction. Since they are supervising their own design, they can provide effective guidance to the general contractor and any subcontractors involved.

The benefits of professional design services extend to renovations and expansions in existing building. These projects are also subject to code requirements, while involving many technical disciplines.

 

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