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Design-Build Project Success: How Collaboration Paves the Way

Early collaboration between project teams has been essential in helping shape the next major office tower project in Dallas, The Link at Uptown. New collaboration efforts inside of TD are helping this unique design-build project in their own way.

The Link at Uptown, a 25-story, Class AA office tower in Dallas, will serve as a connection between the Uptown and Victory Park areas of the city. The building will offer tenants several amenities, including two ground-floor restaurants, overnight executive suites, and a full amenity floor with outdoor terrace offering remarkable views of Downtown Dallas.

TD's onsite project team is currently planning for a November start date, with anticipated completion in Fall 2021.

Design-Build Projects

Architectural renderings courtesy of BOKA Powell.

Design-Build Process

As part of the design-build process, TD has been part of the early planning and design phases with general contractor Balfour Beatty, developer Kaizen, and architect BOKA Powell. TD is designing and constructing the mechanical and plumbing systems, as well as managing the Building Information Model (BIM) process. Early involvement has allowed TD to collaborate with all external teams and coordinate key aspects before work officially begins.

"The opportunity to be at the table early has been the biggest benefit," said Paul Jenke, Project Manager. "It allows all major disciplines to vet potential challenges and has created a positive domino effect for every aspect of the project.”

Featured Resource: Design-Build eBook

Upfront planning is critical because the project takes up the entire footprint of the site. This means no jobsite trailers, no parking, and most of all, no storage or lay-down space. The tight site conditions increase the need for close coordination between subconsultants, vendors, trades, and TDManufacturing on prefabrication-scheduling efforts and coordinating deliveries of major equipment.

Planning for just-in-time deliveries is essential. For instance, the day the chillers are delivered is the day they are installed on the roof. When same day installation is not feasible for major equipment, such as air handlers, the team is identifying offsite storage solutions.

This lack of space also makes effective communication vital. Until the first few floors have been poured, the project teams will each be working at their respective corporate offices until spring 2020.

Design-Build Projects

Architectural renderings courtesy of BOKA Powell.

"Having in-depth coordination with other disciplines on the project during design is not something TD always gets to do," said Liz Welch, Mechanical Engineer. "The design-build aspect allows us to cover any scope gaps we might see during design, reducing revisions that traditionally occur after contract documents are issued."

Inside TD, this project is also creating unique internal collaboration efforts.

TD's Engineering and VDC teams have been working together to streamline processes in the design phase. For instance, both teams are using Revit 3D modeling software, which shows real-world versions of the piping and ductwork. Previously, Engineering and VDC used separate Revit and AutoCAD software systems. The Revit 3D model serves as a "single source of truth" information system and allows the team the opportunity to watch the design evolve rather than switching from one software platform to another.

Related Resource: Design-Build Infographic 

The increased early communication has also lessened the changes VDC has to make once Engineering submits its plans. Team goals for the project include eliminating initial drawings of unusual designs that do not meet constructability requirements and providing a clear source of concept and reasoning understood by both sides.

Design-Build Benefits

Unique features of the Link building design that benefit from TD's design-build planning efforts are:

  • Using air cleaning technology – This reduces the amount of outside air brought into the building and involves HLR enVerid technology – the same kind used in space stations!
  • Adding continuous slot drains in front of every elevator to ensure fire safety elevators can operate during a fire.
  • Early planning on BIM drawings and coordination of the fabrication drawings with the manufacturing shop fabrication and delivery schedule.

Design-Build Delivery Method

So far, early collaboration inside and outside of TD has provided numerous benefits.

"Liz and her team have done an outstanding job of working with VDC and coordinating with the architect, the structural team, the electrical contractor, and all parties prior to having boots on the ground," Paul said. "Involving TD early in the project increases collaboration, which really benefits the project. The goal is to hit a home run on this design-build delivery method, demonstrate the value – and hit the repeat button.”

To learn more about the Link, watch this recent interview on the project featuring executive leadership – including CEO Harold MacDowell – from the design-build teams:

TD is a Design-Build Contractor

Value engineering and constructability are vital to delivering a quality project that delivers the most value for the money invested. If you're looking for a trusted partner in design-build, feel free to contact us

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