Design Assist: The Way Forward for Pre-Construction

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Design Assist: The Way Forward for Pre-Construction

When American Direct introduced its Design Assist project delivery method in in 2013, it was a dynamic new approach that raised eyebrows within the construction industry. Increasingly, this cutting edge approach continues to ‘wow’ clients and streamline the pre-construction process for all involved.

With Design Assist, American Direct becomes an integral partner on Day One of the project: assisting the general contractor, sourcing products, defining budget, and lending technical expertise. While the general contractor is the main client in the Design Assist model, American Direct also serves as a resource to the architect and owner on budget and constructability. In addition, American Direct can write the specifications for the job, or work with the specification writer to make sure the recommendations fit within the budget, code, and design intent.

John DelCollo, Vice President of Business Development for American Direct says, “No one else is offering this intimate level of Design Assist to the extent that we are. It is truly a turnkey total openings solution service that differentiates American Direct from all others.”

The $500 million Mexican Museum and luxury condo tower at 706 Mission Street in San Francisco — potentially one of the most expensive residential buildings in San Francisco — is one recent example where American Direct provided Design Assist for a project. The general contractor, Webcor Builders, partnered with American Direct at the outset and American Direct’s team of technically skilled pre-construction experts and credentialed engineers jumped right in and provided the following services:

  • Reviewed design intent of project,
  • Reviewed life safety and fire codes as defined by architect,
  • Performed opening by opening review and analysis and based on the design intent and fire and life safety codes,
  • Reviewed the security requirements for the condominium units and the public access spaces with the design team, security consultant, commercial integrator and owner,
  • Recommended products from manufacturers (doors, frames & hardware),
  • Reviewed with the Owner and Architect the Division 8 Specifications and provided guidance to keep the evolving design intent within the established budget for the door, frame and hardware package,
  • Provided budget pricing for recommended products,
  • Reviewed budget pricing with the General Contractor regularly,
  • Prepared preliminary submittals (door opening submittal and hardware schedule),
  • Submitted pre-construction documents and technical data to owner for preview,
  • Provided an ongoing review of architectural documents for updates,
  • Provided budget updates based on DD and CD documents, and
  • Provided final pricing for construction documents.

Some of the many benefits realized by the contractor, architectural team, and owner were a reduction of potential change orders due to early coordination, budget management from design intent to final GMP pricing, and the comfort of a single source responsibility for the doors, frames, and hardware with which the project team could interact.

Additionally, American Direct’s review of the security requirements was instrumental in vetting product and constructability with the Wifi Enabled Locking System and location of the Gateway Devices (Wifi Repeaters). American Direct’s recommendations were invaluable in guiding the project team for the location of the Wifi Repeaters. American Direct also played a key role in coordination with the commercial integrator the embedded code in the RFID Credentials to allow for interface between the Unit Entry Hardware and the Public Access Hardware.

Mark Wilkerson, Senior Estimator from Webcor Builders said, “What American Direct is doing with pre-construction techniques is cutting edge for the industry. With Design Assist, they are creating a platform for the owner, design team, and contractor to truly collaborate.”