A recent expert panel concluded that better collaboration and integration of construction and design, along with more off-site building and greater tech adoption show promise in bringing down construction costs.
At the Urban Land Institute's Arizona Trends Day, in Phoenix, panelists discussed continuing challenges, including the skilled labor shortage and federal trade policies pushing up material costs. “We have increased our collaboration through integrated design and construction, and we’re starting to blur those lines,” said Jessica Ostoyich, senior project manager at Mortenson, in Denver. “We need to have construction integrated earlier into the design process.”
“On the design side, collaboration with the architect is one of the most critical needs—getting these folks who know how to build to weigh in on design,” said Scott Root, an architect-builder and director of virtual construction for the Kapture Group in Phoenix. “On the construction side, we’re putting some construction off site.” His firm has 24 employees off site, and about a third have extensive experience. “In a controlled environment that is measured, new skilled labor can be trained to construct a bathroom” or other building parts that are transported to the construction site, he said. This also allows for more multitrade collaboration, so they can “work in a symbiotic manner” to build more efficiently.