Expert Q&A: Walter Kurzeja on design-build construction projects

Expert Q&A: Walter Kurzeja on design-build construction projects

Walter Kurzeja has over 30 years of experience in environmental, heavy civil, emergency response, and renewable energy construction projects throughout the U.S. and internationally. He is President of Haley & Aldrich Construction Services, Inc.

What is the concept behind design-build?

Design-build gives the client a single partner responsible for executing the entire project, eliminating the middleman, which increases efficiency but still incorporates the client as part of a project team. Design-build is a way to package all project services for clients, so they don’t have to choose between cost, timeline, and scheduling. Haley & Aldrich staff believe the client should have all three working in their favor.

How does having a single design-build contractor enrich a project?

We find that design-build projects end up with better results and fewer excuses. That’s because everybody is responsible for the end product, not just their little slice of the project. When the same group that designs a project also builds the project, more attention is given to constructability pricing and scheduling during the design phase. This allows every associated cost and fee to be taken into account early on in the process, so questions don’t arise later. The priority remains on the quality of the project and delivering the end result within the set timeline.

How does Haley & Aldrich excel at design-build?

I think we’re particularly good at dealing with very complex construction on a tight deadline. That’s something that is inherent in the Haley & Aldrich culture. We also use Lean principles and techniques that allow us to see the project in its entirety. By using the design-build method, we’re not chopping jobs up into multiple pieces.

What results have you seen from using the design-build model?

Based upon research performed by a variety of organizations, it's been determined that the typical design-build project saves 10 percent on project costs. The studies of design-build project delivery systems found that, when compared to traditional design-bid-build, design-build offered an average of 12 percent faster construction and 33 percent faster overall project delivery. In fact, design-build outperformed design-bid-build in every category on a 10-point scale.

What is the key to keeping design-build a viable solution for projects?

Early involvement of the design-build company is very important. Design-build companies need to be experts in both fields. At Haley & Aldrich, we have builders who think like engineers and engineers who think like builders. We’re committed to bringing this collaborative skillset forth into every design-build project from start to finish.

The client is the other part of the collaboration. We want our clients to be a part of the project team process, and we want to understand what they expect from us. This inspires them to make decisions along the way, which gives them a lasting sense of pride about their project.

To learn more about Haley & Aldrich’s approach to design-build, contact Walter Kurzeja.