4 ways to wow community college clients

February 21, 2013 |
Rob Cassidy

The 46,000-sf Natural Sciences Building, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, one of the Maricopa Community Colleges. Building Team: richrd+bauer (architect); Energy Systems Design (MEP); Paragon Design (SE); PK Kland Consulting Civil Engineers (CE); Research Facilities Design (lab planner); CF Shuler (landscape architect); Barton Malow Co. (CM at risk).

We've got a great March issue in the works ... here's a preview of our Cover Story, "How to Win More Work from Community Colleges," by Contributing Editor Peter Fabris.

1. HELP YOUR CLIENT FIND COST SAVINGS. “Treat our projects as if you were spending your own money,” says Arlen Solochek, AIA, District Director of Facilities Planning and Development, Maricopa Community Colleges. “We know what you are used to spending on private-sector jobs. A pet peeve I have is when contractors don’t hold down overhead costs: Do you really need that second work-site trailer?”

Sally Grans-Korsh, FAIA, LEED AP, former Director of Facilities Planning for the architect of the Minnesota state college system, recalls a renovation project where the contractor asked the college to change the curriculum so that the lab would not be needed for the next semester; this enabled the contractor to finish the job months sooner than planned. “He would have made more money with a longer construction schedule, but he realized it was not in the best interest of the college,” says Grans-Korsh, Principal Consultant/Owner of Minneapolis-based ArchiStudio. “We were impressed.”

2. MAINTAIN CLOSE COLLABORATION BETWEEN OWNER AND ARCHITECT, especially on design-build projects. Solochek says there’s a reason he seldom uses design-build project delivery: “I don’t want the contractor between me and the architect.” He recalls a project from bygone years. “We said the HVAC system plan wasn’t going to work, and the contractor went to the engineer and they insisted that it would work. Sure enough, it didn’t work, and we had a big fight over it.”

3. SHOW HOW YOU WOULD MANAGE PROCESSES In projects with multiple client partners. “Building Teams are going to have to demonstrate in their RFP responses and interviews how the would deal with multi-client projects––or how they have done so in the past––to give me confidence that they can manage these processes on my project,” says Solochek.

4. ADVOCATE FOR THE COLLEGE’S BEST OPTIONS when dealing with design planning committees. “Use your professional perspective to help enlighten people that have a more limited perspective,” says Grans-Korsh. “The worst examples are projects where the designers did exactly what the college officials said they wanted, even though that is not what the college needed.”

Rob Cassidy | Building Team Blog

Rob Cassidy (“ClimateGrouch”) is editorial director of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

Related Blogs

Why AEC firms should be cultivating 'visible experts'

Photo: Cydcor via flickr creative commons

July 07, 2015 | Architects | Building Team Blog

A new study pinpoints the true dollar value of having knowledge leaders and market shapers on your team....

Tactical urbanism: Why bigger isn’t always better in urban revitalization

Each September, as part of Park(ing) Day, citizens, artists, and activists in more than 160 cities collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into micro parks, gardens, and art exhibits. Photo: my.parkingday.org

May 27, 2015 | Smart and Resilient Cities | Building Team Blog

A budding urban planning movement that is sprouting in cities across the globe proves that low-cost, small-...

Hackathons and RFCs: Why one developer killed the RFP

Image depicts design concepts from the hackathon winner, Pickard Chilton of New Haven, Conn. Photo courtesy Skanska

May 06, 2015 | Building Owner | Building Team Blog

In lieu of an RFP process, Skanska Commercial Development hosted a three-week "hackathon" to find an archit...

Chance encounters and the ‘action’ office: Do collisions spark innovation?

Google is among a handful of tech giants to unveil plans for “action” offices. Rendering courtesy Google, BIG, Thomas Heatherwick

March 29, 2015 | Office Building Design | Building Team Blog

Google, Facebook, Samsung, and Tencent have all unveiled plans for “action” offices designed to get their p...

The High Line effect: Placemaking as an economic development engine

Eight years into the transformation of an elevated section of New York Central Railroad’s West Side Line into a public park, the $273 million project is being hailed as a resounding win for the city. Photo: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

March 02, 2015 | Cultural Facilities | Building Team Blog

As big money and eager tourists flock to Chelsea, cities across the globe are starting to take notice. Chic...

Photo: Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons

The National Institute of Building Sciences estimates the retrofit market for small commercial buildings at $35.6 billion. Photo: Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons

January 28, 2015 | Office Building Design | Building Team Blog

The real opportunity for shrinking the nation’s energy footprint lies in the mundane world of small commerc...

This past October, 78 young AEC professionals gathered in New York City for leadership development and networking during BD+C's Under 40 Leadership Summit.

January 21, 2015 | Building Team Blog
Many AEC firms focus on training for the hard skills of the profession, not so much for business prowess,...

Photo: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons

December 22, 2014 | Building Team Blog

Commercial and residential construction can be as different as night and day. But as one who covered the ho...

American Standard's SaTo sanitary toilet pans (shown here installed in a latrine in Haiti) seal off pit latrines from flies to prevent the spread of pathogens.

December 08, 2014 | Building Team Blog

When we see the incredible technology being produced by global plumbing manufacturers, it’s hard to conceiv...

Add new comment

Your Information
Your Comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.
Overlay Init