Editorial: 02.06.2019

Streamlining the Civil Construction Process

two people in an office setting

As a major civil contractor, Castle works on projects at various scales and across many different market sectors.

Each of these projects has unique goals, challenges and measures of success, but the vast majority of them share a common client objective: to accelerate the design and construction schedule, with cost certainty.

That’s not surprising, as the quicker a building “breaks ground,” the sooner it can open and begin serving its purpose: whether that’s delivering care to patients, equipping students for future careers, or providing shoppers with a memorable retail experience.

Yet the earliest stages of most commercial construction projects — site preparation, site utilities and earthwork — are still being delivered in a less-than-efficient manner.

To streamline these activities and mitigate risk, our in-house team now offers a civil design-build approach that integrates “civil design” and “civil construction” as a single, cohesive deliverable.

Combining design and construction under a single entity isn’t a new idea. The design-build project delivery method continues to grow in popularity in general construction and mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) engineering disciplines. It’s projected to account for 44 percent of total construction spending by 2021, according to 2018 research conducted by consulting firm FMI.

But design-build is still uncommon in the civil phases of a project, despite compelling reasons that it’s more efficient than the traditional design-bid-build delivery method. In our experience, projects where Castle was involved in the design broke ground an average of 30 percent to 50 percent faster than traditional design-bid-build projects.

We also know that cohesive, ongoing collaboration between “designer” and “builder” is key to developing innovative, timely solutions to the various challenges of working on a complicated site. This collaboration can begin early in the site prospecting process so clients have the design and constructability knowledge to make the best business decisions for their project. We understand that not every project may be the right fit for a civil design-build approach, but if a site is complex and congested with existing utility infrastructure and potential jurisdictional issues, it could be advantageous to consider this alternative delivery method.

By bringing big-picture design, scheduling and budget expertise to the earliest stages of a project, it sets up the tasks that follow—and the entire project—for success.

The Castle team is eager to collaborate with visionary clients and industry partners in demonstrating the efficiency and value of civil design-build.


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