Our approach to Construction Administration is to immediately and clearly define and explain our role as your owner representative to the entire design and construction team. We establish clear lines of communication and authority. We are your representative and have been given authority and responsibility to make decisions and giving direction to the design and construction teams. We will clearly delineate team members’ roles and responsibilities and ensure that what they are supposed to do does indeed get accomplished. For example, we will monitor and ensure that the on-site job superintendent conducts weekly meetings with subcontractors, that he/she adheres to and updates the project schedule, that long lead items are identified and anticipated and that he/she actually inspects the construction work and doesn’t “hide” in the trailer. We expect that the inspecting architect will inspect the project weekly and promptly issue written inspection reports. The architect is the administrator of the construction contract and is a key member of the production team. We have worked well with a variety of architects and architectural firms and have, without exception, earned their respect and cooperation.
LaSalle Group represents the owner in all aspects of the project. We design our services and reporting formats to function in the best interest of the Owner. Our approach to communication is a pro-active and collaborative effort using the traditional components of meeting and reporting integrated with computer-based systems for scheduling, cost control, and communication. Another important aspect of communication is ensuring that every team member clearly understands roles and responsibilities and that a system based on accountability and performance will be implemented. The Owner and team members are informed relative to project activities, budget and schedules on a periodic schedule established for the project. LaSalle Group believes in the partnering approach to communication. Partnering offers a framework in which all participants in the process can build a working relationship founded on mutual respect, trust and integrity. Partnering improves teamwork, quality, and resolution of problems and serves to lower the cost for all parties.
Cost Control During Construction
Cost control during construction begins with the completion of the construction documents, which provides for accurate bidding and estimating. The most important aspect of cost control is the development of an accurate and reasonable budget before construction begins. This includes the establishment of a comprehensive line item budget and allocations among these line items that are reasonable and adequate to accommodate some change and fluctuation as the program and design evolve. Cost control during construction involves careful monitoring of draws, architect supplemental instructions and any changes and clarifications that may have an impact on the overall project budget. Proposal requests must be issued in a timely fashion and quickly responded to by the contractor. Decisions must be made in a timely fashion and communicated clearly to the development team. The budget is reviewed weekly and line items that approach their budget limit are scrutinized and options and alternatives to stay within budget are discussed and agreed upon. Adequacy of budget reserves and contingencies are constantly reviewed and adjusted if necessary. We have been successful in reallocating and reapportioning among project line items to ensure that the bottom line project cost is not exceeded. After contract award, the contractor is monitored to ensure compliance with the quality standards and schedule for the project. During construction, adherence to schedule is closely monitored. Deviation from the schedule is usually an indication of cost problems. Construction contract management is administered through the draw process, change order management and quality control. A budget estimate is prepared for the project independently of the contractors. When necessary, changes are independently estimated and value engineered prior to establishment of pricing for fair cost prior to contract revisions.
As the Owner's Representative, we provide scheduled and unscheduled inspections during the construction process. Scheduled inspections are performed on a routine basis or when necessary as dictated by construction activities. Unscheduled inspections are conducted on a non-routine basis to ensure that quality and schedule requirements are maintained. We closely monitor the performance of the on-site construction supervisor and work closely with the inspecting architect during the construction inspection period. It is anticipated that LaSalle Group will conduct weekly coordination meetings during the design and construction periods.
A master owner's schedule is developed for the overall project and is maintained until project completion. This schedule incorporates the schedules developed by other team members for their work on the project. The schedule is developed using critical path activities and is maintained electronically. The schedule is analyzed on a continual basis and is modified only when conditions warrant. All team members are required to adhere to the schedule in accordance with the project's goals.
Management Information Control System
LaSalle Group maintains a management information system available to the owner, which incorporates all project activities. We operate this system on the "open book" basis. Our philosophy is that we are the stewards of our client's funds and we owe it to our clients at all times to keep them fully appraised of the status of the project's accounting and other project-related information.
One of the primary reasons for hiring an Owner's Representative is to avoid surprises. LaSalle Group regards its role as Owner's Representative to be one of communicating with all team members to the greatest extent possible, thereby allowing decisions to be made based on reliable and predictable information.
LaSalle Group's management information system encompasses a variety of tools from the initial project meeting through the last day of the project. Documentation consists of meeting minutes, letters and memos, electronically generated accounting reports and schedules. An audit trail is maintained for all project activities.
Issue Resolution Overview
We believe that most issues or concerns will be resolved at the construction meetings. Attendees will include the contractor, major subcontractors, architect, and primary engineers.
The issue resolution process is intended to get potential problematic issues in a forum for discussion and timely resolution. Any project team member may identify an issue for utilization of this process. Once initiated, the issue will move up the "ladder" of levels until it has been satisfactorily resolved.
Goals and Guidelines
- Resolve issues and disputes before the Issue Resolution Process (IRP) is required.
- Utilize a "principled" negotiating process. Once the IRP is initiated, solve the issue in the shortest possible time at the lowest possible level of authority.
- Deliberately stick to the allocated time schedules.
- Issues may move up or down levels by mutual consent.
- Issues may be resolved at any level.
- Once the IRP is initiated, interaction at the level of initiation should be maintained even though the issue itself may move to another level before it is actually resolved.
Change Order Procedures / Negotiations
Change orders will be controlled through the quality assurance program to ensure that all construction documents and contracts cover the complete scope of the project. It is our philosophy that changes to the project are initiated only by the owner. The proposal request system is used to clarify possible changes that effect the construction cost. These proposal requests and attendant cost estimates from the contractor allow for their review and for a decision to be made to go forward (or not) with them. We prefer to review and negotiate at this stage, rather than at the change order stage. Everyone should agree on the change order amount by the time it becomes a change order. We request that the relevant design professional review the proposed cost from the contractor. For example, the mechanical engineer will review the cost estimate from the mechanical contractor as to accuracy of the proposal request and to the fairness of the cost estimate before a change order is produced. We oversee any negotiations or disagreements among parties that will lead to fair and equitable design and cost decisions.
Owner-initiated change orders will be evaluated through the design and engineering consultants with appropriate documentation. Estimates for cost and schedule impact will be developed and contractor cost will be obtained prior to implementing the change. All changes to construction scope will be controlled by formalized changes to the contract for construction. Budgets and schedules will be revised accordingly when appropriate. In case of major changes, the change will undergo value engineering if appropriate.
Final Start-up, Testing, and Occupancy
The project will be monitored by a Commissioning Agent, beginning with the design and engineering phase, and continuing through completion of construction. The Commissioning Agent, an independent contractor representing the Owner, will have the responsibility to provide design oversight and review of all mechanical systems and review all specifications and performance data.
A testing and balancing firm will be retained to ensure proper system performance.
LaSalle Group will oversee the delivery of accurate maintenance and operation manuals and assist the owner in the equipment and furnishings phase and during occupancy to ensure a smooth "move-in" to the remodeled facility.