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The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium (1994)

Chapter: A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

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Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
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A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

John J. Becker

Hansen Lind Meyer

and

Barry L. Finkelstein

Ross Murphy Finkelstein

The design phase for the Ross Research Building began in 1985 with a master plan and facilities analysis for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. This phase culminated in 1989 with a seventh construction drawing package on this fasttracked project. The building was completed in 1991 at a cost of approximately $73,000,000. The structure was built over a still functioning street and wedged between two other buildings. While the design process was lengthy and complex, it was nurtured along by the Owner, the A/E, and the CM, who were all involved from the beginning. Each firm, along with the Owner, contributed their interests and expertise. Inherent in these individuals ' interests is the potential for conflict. This discussion revolves around how that conflict was resolved during the design phase and what was learned from it.

MANAGEMENT PLAN

Every job begins with a vision and a sense of optimism that seems to erode somewhat over time. Initially, expectations are high. Everything is possible and ideas are free-flowing. But lurking beneath that enthusiasm are fears that these expectations will not be realized. The truth, however, is that reality is somewhere in the middle. With all parties involved during the design phase, the chances that reality is closer to original expectations than to fears is greatly improved.

The diagram on the next page illustrates the organizational concept around which the project was managed. Information was generated by the design team, the construction manager and various focus groups, filtered through the core group, and sanctioned by the Research Resource subcommittee of the Board.

The design team consisted of the architect/structural engineer, Hansen Lind Meyer (HLM); the mechanical/electrical engineer, Ross Murphy Finkelstein (RMF); and the laboratory consultant, GPR Planners Collaborative (GPR). The construction manager was the Thiting-Turner Contracting Company (WT). Focus groups were just as they are described. These were groups that concentrated on more focused topics and only included the necessary participants and additional Owner personnel as necessary

Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×
Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×

necessary. Examples of focus groups were Core and Shell, Fit-Out, Legal, etc. Focus group meetings followed the regular weekly meetings as necessary and were only concerned with a particular topic. All information and decisions, however, regularly came back to the core group which met once a week. This core group consisted of the design team, the CM, and the Owner. This was the decision-making body for the project that oversaw the focus groups and controlled the process.

What quickly became apparent during this process was that each of the core group participants had their own vested interests in the project. The design team wanted to design an aesthetically-pleasing state-or-the-art, high quality building that met the Owner's program and budget. The CM wanted to minimize costs through value engineering while also being concerned about the construction schedule and potential shared savings. Focus groups, of course, had a wish list and vested interests, along with certain promises made to them early on. Then, the core group, or in this case, the Owner, had a responsibility to implement the approved master plan and be fiscally responsible to the board.

As you can see, the potential for conflict here was tremendous. Everyone had a different agenda that needed to be considered. Each party heard what they wanted to hear. Yet, with all parties participating in the process, issues were resolved and progress was made. Each participant pushed the other, but the Owner kept anyone from dominating.

DESIGN PHASE PROCESS

Once a week, the core group met followed by various focus group meetings. Each of these meetings was documented by the traditional project memo, but that alone was not enough. All discussions were documented in the memos as mutually agreed upon decisions. It was also documented as to who was responsible for each action and when an answer or decision was needed in order not to impede progress on the project. These project memos then formed the agendas for subsequent meetings until issues were resolved. Each party also had a time during the meeting to bring up new issues.

In addition to these regular meetings, there were over 500 user group meetings. Floor plan and elevation sketches were developed with each lab user for 15 percent and 35 percent submittals. These submittals were signed-off by the users to punctuate the process and proceed from a mutually agreed upon level of progress. In this way, all decisions were documented and reviewed by the core group.

Another benefit which was realized from this partnering arrangement was the ability of the core group to recognize needs early and in one instance build a full scale laboratory mock-up. Having the CM on the team from the inception of the project expedited these efforts.

This mock-up was used to work out design coordination and maintenance problems; to give the researchers a chance to see a three dimensional picture of a lab, and during the bidding process to show the contractors exactly what they were to build

Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×

and how they could build it. Its initial cost notwithstanding, the dollars saved and the political benefits were several times greater.

CONCLUSION

Having now gone through all of this, what we did learn about the process:

  • Decisive Owner

  • You need a decisive Owner to filter user requests and resolve differing agendas of the project participants.

  • Open Communication

  • Because everyone hears what they want to, different perspectives need to be aligned and decisions documented.

  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative

  • By having all the necessary information available, the Owner can make better decisions in a more timely manner.

  • Informed Decision Making

  • By having all the necessary information available, the Owner can make better decisions in a more timely manner.

  • Mutual Trust

  • After working together for an extended period of time during the design phase, the team began to gain trust in the others' abilities and this atmosphere of trust carried through into the construction phase.

In the end, we believe this process resulted in a successful project. It has been used on subsequent projects with similar positive results. Involvement of the three major players from the beginning uses the partnering process to its greatest effect.

Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×
Page 19
Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×
Page 21
Suggested Citation:"A DESIGN PHASE CASE STUDY OF PARTNERING ON THE ROSS RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE." National Research Council. 1994. The Use of Partnering in the Facilities Design Process: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9227.
×
Page 22
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