“This isn’t going to work.  We’re going to have to change this.”  

Ron, our HVAC superintendent, said this as he was reviewing mechanical drawings for an office fit-out.  I was not happy.  The drawings needed to be issued for construction the next day and I really didn’t want to make changes at this point.

I’ve been a professional engineer for more than 10 years and I’ve been in the industry since 2001.  In the moment, I was challenged to reconsider the design from a colleague in a different area of our business.

After my initial reaction, I took a look at the drawings again.  Ron was right.  He had come up with a solution that worked better technically, and also was more cost effective to install.


Ron’s suggestion was a blessing.  If we had stuck with the original design, the client would have ended up with an inferior design that would have cost more money to build.

While our commitment is to always put our customer first and provide the best solutions, we also realised an important lesson when it comes to construction.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, was quoted saying, “I don’t need to pay people to tell me I’m right, I need to pay people to tell me where I’m wrong.” The same is true in construction.  You need collaboration and open dialog in the construction of your project for the most functional and cost-effective outcome. 

In every stage of construction, questions need to be asked. Are your consultant and contractor challenging and reviewing each other throughout? Are costs being reviewed from the beginning?  System efficiency? Delivery-times of equipment? Serviceability?


The design-build delivery method is an ideal method for collaboration.  The designer and the contractor work together starting in schematic design all the way to the finish of construction.

The Bid-Spec delivery method, on the other hand, tends to be a lot more confrontational as review of the design does not occur until after the design is nearly complete.  Any change requires significant rework for the designer.

A general contractor once asked, “How do you deal with the conflict internally of BC Comfort being both the designer and the builder?”

It’s not always easy as there can be differences of opinion.  However, the end result is a much more holistic solution and decision making process that considers much greater sources of information.

Collaboration is an important key to ensuring you have the most effective design possible.

If you have questions about how to optimise your next construction project, feel free to contact our design team.