Seamless Communication

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

seamless communication: Contractor / architect / client relationships

Everyone has heard the old cliché “Teamwork makes the dream work,” but in KDG’s case, it’s true literally—not just figuratively. Creating a building that meets and exceeds expectations is impossible without a committed team of people working toward a common goal. KDG prioritizes effective communication as the foundation for successful relationships and projects.

In the early stages of a design project, few people have technical drawings or renderings of their final product—they just have a vision. Turning that vision into a brick-and-mortar structure is complicated, especially when it requires the time and knowledge of so many people. However, KDG has a tried-and-true model for communication—and they have been putting it to good use for years.

“The Three-Legged Stool Analogy helps us build an ongoing relationship during a project.”

KDG’s approach is analogous to a three-legged stool. Every project has three equal entities pushing it forward: KDG’s architects, a third-party contractor, and the client. If one person’s role is too small—or too big—the stool crashes to the ground. In order to establish a sturdy foundation, all three parties in a project must communicate and collaborate seamlessly. “We always approach new projects as a team, trying to get as familiar with each other as possible and build a mutual trust so we’re collaborating on budgets, schedules, and visions,” says Joseph Pax, senior project manager for KDG’s commercial projects. “The Three-Legged Stool Analogy helps us build an ongoing relationship during a project.”  

By investing in this three-pronged approach, KDG ensures an open and transparent dialogue between the builder, client, and architect—ultimately leading to cost savings for clients and lasting partnerships with trusted contractors.

Effective Meetings are Key

The key starting point for any client’s vision is simple: lots of meetings. “You almost can’t have enough meetings to start a project,” jokes Mark Norris of Norris General Contracting, a commercial contractor with experience on several KDG projects. “We have kick-off meetings and coordination meetings to make sure each person knows their role going forward.” Taking the time to stop and clarify responsibilities is critical to avoiding miscommunication and disagreements.

When KDG meets with builders at the beginning of the project, it gives both parties time to get to know each other’s preferences, standards, and personalities. “We like to sit down one-on-one with contractors to learn more about their systems and make sure our drawings align with their expectations,” says Ken Grotsky, senior project manager for residential projects at KDG. “It always makes the project go more smoothly when we have everyone on board working toward a common goal.”

Project meetings with open communication encourage trust and collaboration. “One of the greatest advantages of working with KDG is that they are open to my ideas and concepts,” says Jay Luebbe of Luebbe Companies, LLC, who has completed several residential projects alongside KDG. “Some architects get offended and don’t want to work with you when you make suggestions for improvement—but KDG is always willing to listen to problems and find a solution.”

These gatherings do not just benefit a single project—as KDG’s team and the contractor’s team get to know each other, they establish mutual respect that leads to ongoing partnerships. Both Norris and Luebbe have been working with KDG for more than 15 years, and the projects they do together work like a well-oiled machine, simply because they have put in the time and effort to work jointly for their mutual benefit—and for the benefit of the client.

Cost Savings & Efficiency

Ultimately, a good partnership between a builder and an architect ensures maximum satisfaction for clients. KDG stays heavily involved in a project even after construction has begun by investing in hands-on interactions with builders. For example, KDG’s project managers regularly provide construction administration services to ensure a project is running smoothly for a client from the beginning to end. Similarly, KDG calls on its contractors to provide insight on design plans to ensure the best outcome for its clients. “For commercial projects, we typically have a longer timeframe to complete a project, which gives us the opportunity to work with contractors to align the design with available construction budgets,” says Joseph Pax. “We might be halfway finished with a design, and a contractor can review our documents and provide a preliminary cost estimate—which helps us identify cost savings for the client.”

“Regardless of how good a design is, it’s a failure if you can’t see the project to fruition.”

As a project takes shape, maintaining communication is important to overcome unforeseen road bumps. “Quality isn’t always drawn into a plan,” explains Jay Luebbe. “An architect can draw a countertop in a design, but the total cost of the countertop is going to vary depending on the type of material you use. That’s why maintaining open communication between builders and architects is so important—builders can provide guidance and input on an initial design, leading to a more accurate cost estimate.”

Big or small, commercial or residential—KDG wants to see satisfied clients at the end of all its projects. Their commitment to builder partnerships serves to enhance the customer experience and provide excellent service from day one. “I love working alongside KDG because they value every customer and every project equally,” says Mark Norris. “Whether it’s a single-door installation or a four-million dollar, ground-up construction, I know their commitment and attitude will always be the same.”

Building a Foundation of Partnership

KDG is not just committed to creating good designs—because their end goal doesn’t stop at the design. “It doesn’t do us any good to design a project that never gets built,” says Ken Grotsky. “Regardless of how good a design is, it’s a failure if you can’t see the project to fruition.”

This mindset is the foundation of the Three-Legged-Stool analogy and the center point of KDG’s approach to every project. Without equal, open communication among all parties, no building will ever reach its maximum potential.

If you want to see your project through to completion, we’d love to come alongside you and help you ensure its success. Contact us today to turn your vision into a reality.

Contact us to start the process of designing your perfect facility.