Technological evolution, coupled with increasing demand for highest possible returns on facility investments, is driving unprecedented change in today’s building industry. Christman is continuously building on these evolving processes together with our partners in the design and construction community with expert people, enhanced planning processes and continuous education and training.
Fundamental to Christman’s efforts to leverage these advancements and expand our expertise to maximize service to clients is a focus on:
- Earliest possible project involvement
- Integrated practice (multi-disciplinary approach)
- True cost of ownership and informed decision-making
- Value management
- Employment of best practices and latest technology
For over a century, Christman has continuously sought ways to build a better building for our client. From the earliest use of reinforced concrete as a building material in the early 1900s - to helping pioneer the construction management method of service delivery in the 1970s - to today’s integrated planning and use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology - to whatever comes next, we will continue to lend our best expertise, leadership and partnership to the process of discovery and innovation in that quest.
Innovation in Project Planning
As our “build it on paper first” approach to comprehensive project planning evolves to “build it on screen first,” our project planning teams are continuing to focus on both process and service innovation to produce the best value for our client’s construction dollar. While many innovations to Christman services come from software and technology advances – such as the Building Information Modeling and on-screen take-off systems described below – many have come directly from clients, as we have developed specialized processes to meet their needs. These include customized building commissioning plans, financial assistance packaging and others.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Christman uses Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a tool to first construct the building project as a simulated model using three-dimensional (3D) digital computer software. This “virtual design and construction” method facilitates the earliest possible exchange of information between team members, including Christman as construction manager, the design and engineering team and building system trades.By bringing together critical information on the various building systems into an integrated model that is uniquely tailored to the specific needs and workflow of a project, we are able to work collaboratively with the team to validate constructability, identify potential interoperability conflicts, ensure continuity of data and developed knowledge, ensure optimum functionality and maintainability, and proactively manage other issues when corrections are at their easiest, fastest, most effective, and least expensive – before getting to the field. Implementing these value-added services from early planning through design development, construction and into close-out, Christman is a fully-engaged partner to project stakeholders.
Christman has been in the forefront of implementing this intelligent design information-based process into our building systems and processes, and is currently using it in tandem with other more traditional constructability review tools and methods as we move toward a future in which BIM is the industry standard. The major benefits we have already seen it bring to our projects ensure the use of this valuable tool in our continuous quest for earliest possible team collaboration for sharing and analysis of project information to maximize the value of the building project.
On-screen take-off is a web-based estimating tool that Christman uses as a standard practice in the estimate development and cost management of our projects. The visual nature of this collaborative tool allows Christman planners to assist clients, architects and engineers in gaining a better understanding of how we develop cost estimates for building systems. It shifts the focus of review meetings from reading line items in an estimate report to a more interactive process of “walking through” the building plans of the various systems together, zooming in our focus as needed to show the exact quantities and locations of each item. It also enables remote collaboration on estimates via web conferencing when necessary.
Using this process, we can more clearly communicate how the drawings are interpreted in the estimates, allowing A/E teams to quickly understand those interpretations and comment or clarify. We can then make adjustments on the fly, preventing errors and discrepancies early in the early in the planning process. Clients, in particular, have enthusiastically embraced this visual approach, telling us they can finally envision exactly what systems and elements are going into their buildings.
Constructing High-Technology Facilities
Christman has comprehensive experience providing construction services for projects with extensive technological components. Our team brings exceptional knowledge of and sensitivity to the complex requirements of delivery of intelligent buildings and systems. We have teamed closely with our clients, design team and specialized consultants on many technology-rich projects, including:
- A data transmission center requiring multiple redundant MEP systems, separate roof systems, multiple data networks, and a hardened structure;
- A 350,000 s.f. operations center for state government with over 200,000 s.f. of data access flooring;
- A state Capitol restoration, which called for state-of-the-art television lighting, acoustical and broadcast technology, as well as multimedia networking and information systems capacity;
- A high-tech automotive research and testing facility;
- A college of engineering facility at a major university, involving a fully wireless computing environment and extensive hard wiring for high-end computing needs and interactive instruction.
Thorough planning ensures that the sequencing of the infrastructure works with the client’s schedule for the installation of the technology. Our involvement with advanced technology facilities has provided us with in-depth knowledge and experience, including:
- Installation of advanced network data systems, including fiber optics and satellite communications
- Interactive TV classrooms
- Complex systems for building controls and management systems
- Advanced security systems
- Teleconferencing and video conferencing
- Distance learning centers
- Flexible wiring, cabling systems and access flooring
- Telecommunications for broadcasting such as cable television
- Media centers
- Wireless data communication components
- Special coordination efforts for installing new data systems in existing facilities
- Higher density capacity for increasing network capacity
- Installation and development of scalable infrastructure to accommodate continually-evolving technological systems
- Redundant and mission-critical systems
We provide the coordination effort between the client, design team, technology consultants, and the other members of the team to ensure that the technological component of the project advances smoothly.
Christman also works extensively with clients to direct the move management of their technology equipment. For example, one university engineering college project involved more than 500 pieces of delicate research equipment as well as 100 pallets of lab supplies. This involved consulting with individual academic departments, verifying the individual technology and connection requirements for each piece of equipment, specifying rough-in information for equipment needs, timing removal from exiting and phased installation of new equipment before construction was complete. In some instances, there were labs performing research projects which could not be shut down until late one day and which had to be up and running again by 8 a.m. the next morning. Christman proactively managed multiple changes in design and programs throughout the planning and construction process to minimize costs and ensure the client of full facility operation at completion.