Design/Build Technology Integration Drives Process to Meet Customer Vision

April 30, 2024 – Lakewood, CO – Your team has been working with a general contractor for several months to build a new training facility scheduled to go live online and in person across the country in just a few minutes. Recently, a technology system integrator installed audiovisual, networking, and other essential integrated technologies. Records indicate the systems have been thoroughly tested and are fully functional. However, when the go-time countdown reached zero, nothing happened, and you were left alone in the moment, with your heart pounding in your ears, and instant messages flooding in at lightning speed.

Looking back, it should have been easy to see this was bound to happen. Who was responsible for the technology integration outcome? Who is accountable? Was everything thoroughly tested, or were boxes simply checked? Now you realize you did not know exactly where the project stood, and you trusted that when the facility was delivered, it was ready for this day.

Avoid finding yourself in a similar situation by taking a different approach. Consider working with a technology team specializing in design/build processes – they can bridge the gap between the construction and technology integration teams, eliminating these types of technology challenges.

What is the difference between a technology system integrator and a design/build technology integration team?

Historically, technology system integrators work independently, combining sub-systems into a single system. This approach has its limitations. Integrators aren’t as aware of customer expectations and often can’t provide input for technology system design to guarantee delivery of the customer’s vision. Collaboration between the technology integrator and the construction team is missing in methods used for traditional construction projects.

In contrast, a design/build technology integration team acts as a general contractor for technology systems. These teams provide owner’s representative services, construction experience, and hands-on knowledge of technology systems to ensure multiple systems are properly integrated.

For example, doors, access control, and infant protection systems require a deep knowledge of technology integration and functionality to comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes for integrated fire protection and life safety system testing in Colorado. Customers often face challenges with these types of integrations because the functionality of integrated systems is not always tested, and design teams frequently neglect capturing them in drawings. Technology teams who utilize design/build methodology provide hands-on knowledge and ensure that the systems are properly vetted and tested.

They also address common issues such as lack of site compliance for QA/QC and trade coordination, ineffective communication, labor forecasting, critical path schedules, and safety programs. Using construction processes to professionalize technology system integration is changing the face of how construction projects have always been done. This change is essential to mitigating risk by applying structured strategies and processes to technology integration.

Why engage a design/build team who specializes in technology integration?

It’s worth considering working with a design/build technology integration team for a new build or expansion project because this team will oversee all technological elements of the project. This team becomes an extension of the customer’s project team by acting as a dedicated project resource and voice of the owner for all things technology. This approach ensures there’s a single point of contact responsible and accountable for the technological outcome.

Working with a design/build technology integration team helps address technological challenges throughout the project and reduces unexpected back-end costs in operating expenses and change orders.

Early collaboration allows for constructability evaluation and identification of design gaps, resulting in cost savings and schedule adherence for every technological aspect of the project from ideation to delivery. Before a facility is delivered, systems are tested and commissioned, and hands-on training is provided to ensure customers receive exactly what they envisioned. In addition, technology services and help desk resources are available for the life of the facility.

A key component of the technology design/build process includes early technology buyout which helps reduce construction administration costs and accelerate the delivery of systems in line with the project Certificate of Occupancy date. Performing early buyouts allows time to evaluate product performance specifications, reduce commodity buyouts, and expand approved vendor lists to drive a more competitive bid response and additional cost savings. The higher the product complexity, the more important it is to engage technology experts who also have construction expertise.

Implementing construction processes allows these teams to identify and analyze project impacts and contribute to scheduling, constructability, and budget planning with the entire project team to address and resolve challenges in real-time. Utilizing construction processes also ensures there’s no ambiguity associated with conceptual or schematic drawings and detailed cost calculations are made leading to more accurate budgets.

Perhaps most importantly, collaborating with a technology team who uses design/build processes eliminates any concerns about accountability, responsibility, or system quality. As a result, customers can be assured their systems will work exactly as planned, and a more successful predictable outcome will be achieved for the life cycle of the facility. With the support of technology experts and help desk care, gone are the days of hoping your system will work when needed.

Learn more about Encore Electric Technology Solutions.

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Design/Build Technology Integration