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The Linbeck Group
Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change ften.” Rob Harris investigates the Linbeck Group, a company that has adopted innovation as one of its organizational core policies and has included in its journey new tools and processes through “Virtual Design and Construction”
hange is inevitable. It’s part of our daily lives and affects everything we do. Basic human nature invokes the fear of change in some, while in others it’s accepted as an everyday fact of existence. Businesses that understand the concept of change management—and incorporate this fact of life into their organizational strategy—tend to become stronger and better equipped to handle the challenges that lie in the future. One such company is the Linbeck Group, headquartered in Houston. Linbeck is a privately owned company providing a wide range of construction services including construction management at risk, design-build, competitive sealed proposals, and other project delivery methods. The company was a founding member of the Lean Construction Institute and is known for its unique and collaborative approach to its projects. Linbeck is currently the project manager/builder at risk for the new Cook Children’s Medical Center North Tower facility in Fort Worth, Texas. It is part of the hospital’s largest-ever expansion, encompassing over 700,000 square feet.
The Linbeck Group
SKIHI Enterprises, Ltd. SKIHI Enterprises, Ltd. is excited to partner with the Linbeck team in the construction of the new North Tower Expansion at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. Our vast experience in health care construction along with our previous history at CCMC has combined to enhance the coordination processes required for a seamless installation. Our BIM detailers have worked tirelessly with the Linbeck group to provide a coordinated model that allows for a quality installation and as a maintenance tool for the owner once the building is completed.
Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) functions at Linbeck. South Cole, VDC manager for the company, explains, “BIM is the application of a relatively old technology that has been around in many different disciplines, such as the aerospace industry and car manufacturing. Construction has started to apply this technology in the last 10 to 15 years, and that’s what makes this application new—because it’s not widely accepted by the industry as a whole.” The BIM tools and processes work as the blueprint for the project, and they allow all project team members access to a 3-D architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical— as well as several other disciplines—model of the project with all details and schematics. Cole explains, “BIM allows users to communicate
“The social aspect has been the most challenging but also the most rewarding aspect of this entire project for me. Seeing the integration and the communication increase between the teams has been incredible” This world-class pediatric center will have 158 new rooms with an emphasis on enhancing the patient experience and family-centered care. The project has a budget of $89 million and is scheduled to be open in June 2011. Here, Linbeck leads a horizontally integrated team that allows all consultants, major trades and the owner to collaborate in defining the optimal facility solutions. Integration reaches every aspect of the project team and is proven successful by the top-tier medical facility master plan built by Linbeck over the last 25 years, consistently on time, under budget and demonstrating the highest level of quality. Linbeck has never hesitated to adopt new processes that could help improve customer service and increase profits, and it was one of the pioneers in the CM at risk delivery method in the early 1970s. Today the company is once again embracing a change in the construction industry with the incorporation of building information modeling (BIM) into its projects. BIM refers to a set of tools and processes that are included in the
visually. It’s a new language for communication, problem solving and describing work in the construction industry.” As with any kind of change, sometimes it isn’t readily accepted. Throughout history management has always had problems with the adoption of new processes into a firm’s existing business models. The acceptance and understanding of BIM in the construction industry is no different. Cole talks about this problem, “Some of our trades are adopting quickly and adding incredible benefits—with better collaboration, development and coordination—and some are not. What we’re seeing is whether a contractor is going to be part of the cutting edge or whether it’s going to die out.” According to Cole, Linbeck is committed to BIM: over the next 12 months the company is expected to be using some aspect of virtual design and construction on every significant project it has. Cole continues, “A major part of my day-to-day job as VDC manager is bridging the gap between the different disciplines within the architectural, engineering and construction industries and then
The Linbeck Group
finding the most mutually beneficial solution for team members to accomplish our end product. At the end of the day, my major goal is to optimize the work structure and eliminate as much waste and rework as possible.” Building information modeling focuses on greater project visualization, easier implementation with smoother project coordination, and a much higher level of planning with a more sophisticated offering of tools available. These tools can include 3-D modeling, which incorporates the geometry and physical drawings in a real-scale physical software model. However, with the incorporation of 4-D technology, the ability to factor time comes into the model. The project managers can get real data costs and schedule changes immediately or forecast potential problems of new ideas on the model. And 5-D modeling, though still realizing significant refinement, allows users to view and manipulate building components and systems and the related cost factors associated with a project. In a new-project environment—when there are 30 to 60 trade contractors with varying personality types all brought together, and with the necessity of having to create certain levels of interaction throughout the project’s lifespan—the challenge of integration can be overwhelming. Cole explains his views, “That’s my end goal with VDC, and with our company: to allow it to integrate product teams, which we do extremely
well already, but this is the tool and technology that will allow us to do so much better.” Cole continues, “You can teach anyone how to follow a particular process, but with social interactions it’s not really the same. You can’t teach it; you can’t write it down and have someone follow it. It has to be developed and grown, evolved and lived. The social aspect has been the most challenging but also the most rewarding aspect of this entire project for me. Seeing the integration and the communication increase between the teams has been incredible.” This age-old story has new characters and settings. There will always be some who resist new technologies and change and others who embrace it and move forward. The past is filled with memories of those companies that failed to accept the challenge to move forward and incorporate change into their organizational values. With the Linbeck Group, change is part of its corporate culture. History has shown that great cultures and great companies have always embraced the concept of change and look forward to the demands it can bring. “If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself, there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.” —Saint Augustine www.linbeck.com
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Published on Oct 5, 2010
Businessexcellence C O R P O R AT E B R O C H U R E ONLINE ACHIEVING A of change The Linbeck Group Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to...