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The Project

Doctors’ Waiting Room & Retail Optical Space

Tri-County Eye Physicians & Surgeons required the renovation of 1,600 square feet of office space for its ophthalmology practice. The scope called for a complete makeover of the patient reception area and waiting room and included renovating the retail space for Physicians’ Optical and installing newly designed specialty displays for eyewear.

The Challenge

Budget, Time & Collaboration

  • The design-bid-build estimate was 50 percent above what the client had budgeted.
  • Tri-County knew it had to minimize surprises and cost overruns.
  • Concerns arose regarding the need to deal with several entities and how this would increase the risk and additional time commitment for the owner/client.
  • Tri-County wished to avoid the time and energy required to liaise between two separate design and building teams.

The Proposed Solution:
Ernst Brothers' Design-Build

Ernst’s experience with the design-build process enabled it to offer an appealing alternative to the already proposed over-budget, design-bid-build project delivery method. A design-bid-build project is invariably more complex – and costly – than a well-executed design-build delivery, since the owner first hires a designer for the project and then enters into a contractual arrangement with a builder.

In design-build, the design and construction aspects of the job are handled by one firm under one contract with the owner/client, allowing for greater efficiency in concurrent processes. This benefits the client by providing a single point of responsibility for coordination, quality, cost control and schedule adherence – as well as eliminating the owner’s need to referee conflicts and differences between the builder and architect since, after all, they are part of the same team.

Cost savings alone, however, is not the only goal of the design-build process. It is just one part of the design-build team’s broader objective of creating value within the project. The design-build approach, by bringing to bear on the project a comprehensive knowledge of labor and material costs coupled with an awareness of the cost relationships between the various project components – plus the ability to control design – allows the design-build team to increase a project’s value while reducing overall costs of design, planning and construction.

The Benefits Reaped:
Pre-Construction

Even before construction began, Tri-County saw significant advantages from Ernst Brothers’ design-build process.

  • As a result of a 70 percent savings in design costs and an estimated 30 percent savings in construction costs, the Ernst cost estimate came in at two-thirds of the original design-bid-build bid.
  • The renovation was scheduled to take 12 weeks instead of the originally estimated five months.
  • The client spent a fraction of the time directly involved in the project’s execution because of the single point of responsibility.
  • As anticipated, Ernst’s comprehensive knowledge of labor and material costs, coupled with an awareness of the cost relationships between the various project components and the ability to control design, allowed the design-build team to increase the project’s value while reducing its overall cost.

Design-build’s streamlined process creates a natural savings in time and money. It is less bureaucratic, requires less paperwork due to the single point of contact and increases the accuracy of all communications between the client and all members of the design-build team.

In Their Own Words

“In order to balance the efficient use of my time [and] maintain quality construction while adhering to the new architectural design, the design-build paradigm implemented by Ernst Brothers allowed for our project to take place within the budgetary and time constraints that exist. With our history of prior quality craftsmanship and construction done by Ernst Brothers in 2004/5 for construction of our attached 12,000-square-foot ambulatory surgery center, we are confident in the quality and timeliness of the project to be delivered in just the proposed 12 weeks of construction!”

— Richard B. Prince, M.D., Partner, Tri-County Eye Physicians & Surgeons, PC

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