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The Right People On the Project Bus

When we started this project, Christy and I knew that the most critical piece of the puzzle would be having the right people on the project bus. We were so certain of this that we sought out and retained our key resources before the building design was even established. Although a lot of effort was expended in the early stages, systematically interviewing and researching each trade partner, the investment has begun to pay dividends. Get a little closer…let me share the secret.

Traditional project execution relies on hard-lined schedules, top-down decision making and budget-driven compromises. Paradoxically, this is the reason why traditional projects run over timeline, blow through budgets and often end up in litigation. We believe that if you have the right people on the team, and you invest time in the early stages of the project to build trust and clarify expectations, then the chance of success increases exponentially. This may seem trivial, but it requires a tremendous amount of discipline and diligence to cut through the sweet-looking proposals and fast-talking salesmen.

What does this look like? When selecting the team, we asked: “What do you stand for? What are your core values? Why do you want a bus pass issued to you and your company? Why do you want to work on this project?” We selected the team based on their competencies, combined with their answers to these simple questions.

Now we are blessed with a highly functioning design team with a genuine desire to succeed together. With teamwork, clear expectations, and a defined budget—all sprinkled with a generous helping of trust—we have been able to delegate day-to-day decision making to the design team, and consequently, have empowered highly skilled designers and engineers to collaboratively solve problems and eliminate wasted efforts, costs and time. The tool? Our “Values Decision Matrix”.

This easy-to-follow form explicitly defines the core values for the project and is intended to guide design and construction team members in decision-making. The Values Matrix is used on any major decision document. It grades the decision on its effect (red, yellow, green) on the project values (Sustainability, Beauty, Health and Pragmatism). Where there is a conflict between values, the worksheet is used to record how the conflict will be resolved. To date, we have had over 20 of these populated on decisions such as light fixtures, façade materials and acoustic control – all completed autonomously by the Mosaic Centre team, not by the owners group.

Dennis Cuku

Dennis is a Mechanical Engineer with expertise in drilling rig design and is acting President of Oil Country Engineering. Paradoxically, his passion lies in the arena of sustainable building design and green building innovation. Dennis’ recent project, The Mosaic Centre, is slated for completion in May 2015 and aims to be the crown jewel of sustainable building in Edmonton becoming the first Net-Zero energy commercial office building in Alberta; an example of Alberta’s oil and gas abundance igniting innovative sustainable projects.

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