Knocking Down the Silos

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A recent article by Eric Anderson and Mark Wagner discusses the success that can be achieved when the silos of Architects, Engineers and Contractors are removed through the use of the integrated practice process.

As someone who comes from manufacturing and has seen firsthand the benefits of the Design for Manufacture I say here, here! When I joined the workforce in the mid eighties as a newly trained engineer, pumped up with information on the latest cutting edge practices and technologies, DFM was a new concept that I embraced and promoted. I was working as a manufacturing engineer for a company that produced military electronics at the time. This company had been in business since the 50’s and still manufactured products from that era, while also manufacturing products that were designed more recently using DFM.

When comparing the paper trail for old design products vs. DFM products there was a marked difference in the number of change orders issued during the first year of production. The change orders for the older designs had a much higher frequency of changes that were necessary in order to improve (or even allow) manufacturability. The DFM products, however, had much fewer changes during the first year and the changes that were made were dictated by technology or performance improvements, not to improve process.

So I anticipate that as the Westlake Steps* project progresses, the construction team will experience fewer change orders that originate from a problem at the jobsite. This should contribute to better budget and schedule performance. I would also suspect that reduced strain on the schedule should lead an overall improvement in quallity and eventually a reduction in disputes after the completion of the project.

*As far as I can tell, there has been no formal announcement of this project. But it appears to be destined for the Casey Family Building and adjoining parcels that were purchased recently by CarrAmerica. I suspect the A&E article, unknowingly spilled the beans.

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