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Interview with Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
By Chris Creasey, Director with Tutor Perini Building Corp
First, let’s get in front of the lingo. With traditional construction procurement methods, you have an architect design a project, you have multiple general contractors bid a project, and then you hire one of those general contractors to build that project. This is called the Design/Bid/Build method. There are also the Design/Build and Design/Assist methods. What is the best method for your property’s next project? This is a critical decision if you want to avoid costly delays and loss of revenue.
I recently sat down with Ron Abney, Executive Officer of Tribal Operations with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to discuss different methods of procuring General Contractors for major projects, and why the Choctaw Nation chose certain approaches on two of their most recent projects.
We’ll also be covering this in detail in our upcoming webinar (see below or register here).
Here is an excerpt of that conversation:
Chris: Ron you recently completed a major expansion at your Durant location, going with the Design/Build approach. You are currently preparing for a major refresh of the existing property, and you chose to bring the general contractor on very early in the process. I would like to discuss these two procurement scenarios. First let’s discuss the expansion, why was it beneficial to you to go the Design/Build route, in lieu of the Design/Bid/Build method?
Ron: The Design/Build route was the first time Choctaw Nation undertook this process. Traditionally the Nation choose the Design/Bid/Build method. We discussed the Design/Build method as opposed to the Design/Bid/Build because of the time savings to get started and shorten the total process to completion timeline, as our hotel rooms have been at full capacity for the past few years. We chose the team led by Tutor Perini Building Corp with JCJ as their architect.
Ron: We believe we shortened the completion date by at least six months and working collectively with the general contractor and architect allowed us to provide the best overall value with keeping the high standards of a Four Diamond Resort. Partnering with the general contractor and architect allowed us to value engineer the project during design and saved on general conditions and requirements due to the aggressive Design/Build schedule.
Also, while the Design/Build project was underway, Covid-19 hit, and the procurement and availability of product became a big concern. The general contractor and architect worked diligently to verify product availability and brought the Nation options so that the project would not be delayed. This was very successful as the project was completed on schedule and under budget. A total team effort during very difficult times.
Chris: In regard to the amenity refresh, you brought your general contractor on board early, before design had really got going. What benefits do you see in going this route?
Ron: We understand the value of the general contractor’s experience for scope detail, construction logistics, understanding product availability and budgeting to assist the Nation in providing details and accurate budgets.
Chris: So this was a Design/Assist role for the general contractor, helping the Design Team maintain your budget and deal with any logistical issues with your casino operations’ staff upfront instead of after the fact?
Ron: Absolutely. Our focus at the Nation is to utilize all the resources and talent available to hopefully prevent mistakes, scope misses, potential delays, and inaccurate budget planning.
Chris: In the future, do you foresee using more Design/Build and Design/Assist methods of procurement for your future construction projects?
Ron: We have made it a practice to bring on the general contractor as soon as possible to assist in the value engineering of a project as well as budgeting, as we only what to seek Council approval one time with confidence that what we have presented as accurate as possible.
Register for this FREE webinar today and find out more!
Tuesday, November 30
10:00 am pst
TG&H Interactive Webinar: Tutor Perini – How to avoid costly delays & unrecoverable revenue loss: Understanding the right time to bring on your general contractor for your next construction project
If your organization hasn’t experienced it, you have most likely heard about construction projects impacting Tribes and commercial organizations by going way over budget or experiencing monumental delays. How can this happen when you have done your research and picked your team? In traditional construction procurement methods, you have an architect design a project, you have multiple general contractors bid a project, and then you hire one of those general contractors to build that project. This is called the Design/Bid/Build method. But is that really the best method to develop your property? When the bids all come in over your budget, and the architect needs to re-draw plans to achieve value engineering targets to reduce costs, it actually adds cost (architect’s time) and delays your project.
We discuss with Pat Hubbs, Partner with Harris Associates (a construction manager / owner’s representative firm) and Chris Creasey, Director at Tutor Perini Building Corp (a general contractor) when is the right time to bring the GC on board and where do you see the best value for the project. Different methods of procuring the general contractor, via Design Build, Design Assist, and Open Book GMPs will be discussed as well. No matter where you are at in your construction project – or if it is years down the line – bring your questions to this informative discussion.