Alternative Delivery methods on Recreation projects

Alternative delivery — Design-Build for private owners; Construction Management for public agencies — offers recreation facility owners important benefits compared to using the design-bid-build approach


Here are the Top 5 Reasons you should use design-build or construction management for your future recreation building projects.

1: Gives you the opportunity to select construction project leadership based on qualifications

Whether your project is funded by public tax dollars, private fundraising or some combination of the two, chance are you're not sitting on an unlimited budget to bring your plan into action. 

So don't gamble with the traditional design-bid-build method of construction project procurement. Try alternative delivery instead to ensure you get the most from your limited resources. With Design-Build for private owners like YMCAs, and Construction Management Agency (CMa) for public agencies like cities and county conservation boards, alternative delivery allows you to choose your builder based on qualifications rather than leaving it to hope the low bidder also will be the best contractor. 

You'll also get the builder's perspective on cost, schedule and constructability during design, or even before it begins.

Example: At the FunCity Turf, an air-supported indoor athletics dome facility in Burlington, Iowa, the non-profit ownership group turned to Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO) to provide Design-Build services. Prior to hiring CANCO, Greater Burlington Area Sports Facilities purchased a former pre-cast concrete production plant to house its facility. But the site was less than ideal for indoor soccer and softball, so the engineer-led CANCO project team instead steered the board in the direction of an inflatable dome on a greenfield site adjacent to an existing outdoor softball and soccer complex.

The finished facility has been a tremendous success, housing youth soccer, high school soccer and softball, and community college softball, baseball and soccer practices on an almost daily basis.

View the accompanying video to learn more about CANCO's role in leading this project.

2: Get the benefit of a contractor’s experience with cost, schedule and constructability during design of the project

In traditional design-bid-build construction, the contractor is handed a set of finished plans to build as drawn. But that approach denies you any opportunity to have a contractor’s input on the design from the beginning, or at least early in the process. That means the you lose the chance to realize savings in cost and time, and to ensure the building can be built as designed. 

Design-Build and Construction Management both ensure those opportunities are not wasted, as the builder is able to make recommendations about materials, design direction, and schedule to ensure you can meet your project goals within the available resources.

Example: When the City of Kalona, Iowa, began work on its new Community Center, it was immediately evident the project was over budget as designed. At the same time, Carl A. Nelson & Company was working with the local school district as construction manager on a multi-building renovation and addition project. Leaders from that project visited with city officials and were able to explain how Construction Management would be of benefit. 

After being hired by the city to provide CM services, CANCO was able to bring the project within budget and produce a finished project that met the city's needs without reducing quality.

"In hindsight, had we done this building again, I would have championed to bring a Carl A. Nelson on board sooner," said Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh, "to really take us through that preliminary stage prior to an architect coming on board."

View the accompanying video to learn more about CANCO's role on the project.

3: Collaboration between contractor and designer results in best-value outcomes

In traditional design-bid-build construction, the relationship between designer and builder often can be adversarial — if there is a relationship between them at all. Not so with alternative delivery.

In Construction Management Agency, the CM and designer have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to you to work together as a team. In Design-Build, builder and designer work together as a unified team from the outset. Both delivery methods offer the ability for the contractor and designer to collaborate to develop best-value outcomes that will result in the lowest cost for construction, fastest schedule and most efficient long-term operation, while also producing a quality finished project.

Example: On a Construction Management project in Fairfield, Iowa, to build a 30,000 square-foot addition onto the Roosevelt Recreation Center, Carl A. Nelson & Company helped the city to select a design firm, then worked with that firm during pre-construction to develop a plan to incorporate the existing and new facilities.

"It was a very well thought through project to fit our budget," Fairfield City Councilman Michael Halley said, "and to accommodate the needs of the community."

Learn more about the project and CANCO's role by viewing the accompanying video.

4: Contractor involvement from concept to completion ensures better incorporation of your goals within your available budget

A Design-Builder or Construction Manager has the perspective to be able to see the finished design as more than a set of drawings to guide construction, but as a description of the Owner’s goals and priorities. That results in having a base of understanding of the Owner's goals to preserve important project elements if it becomes necessary to adjust plans due to budget limitations during pre-construction or construction. In a traditional design-bid-build approach, it is easy to reduce budgets by simply slashing space or aesthetics when the initial design or construction bids exceed available resources.

Example: As Design-Builder, Carl A. Nelson & Company was a partner with the YMCA of Washington County from the beginning — sticking with the project through a five-year fundraising effort, then leading the design-build team through completion in June 2020. In the Design-Builder role, CANCO provided a level of service to the YMCA and the community that simply is not an option in design-bid-build construction.

"I didn't feel like they were just here building a building," YMCA of Washington County CEO Amy Schulte said. "I felt like that they were truly a part of what we were trying to do in our community, and I think that shows as people are coming into the building and the experience that they are having."

Read more here, or view the accompanying video to learn about our involvement in the project.

5: Frees you to focus on your core mission

With a Design-Build or Construction Management firm to lead the project once work begins, you won’t have to take time away from day-to-day responsibilities to students or the community due to supplier issues, schedule challenges or change orders.

On Construction Management agency projects for public owners, the CM is your advocate with designers and builders, and looks out for the school's best interest in areas like quality, cost and schedule. In Design-Build, the single point contract means you'll only have contact with one company, not every company working on the project. 

Example: During its project for the City of Fairfield, CANCO's role as construction manager was invaluable to the city, which at that time did not have a city engineer and also experienced a vacancy atop its Parks and Recreation Department.

"I remember very strong communication with the City Council," Councilman Halley said. "Our project manager would come and give updates quite often throughout the process, and anything that came up that we needed to address, we were able to do so timely and efficiently. I just don't know if we could have done it that seamlessly on our own. I very much doubt it. Having the project management was one of the very best decisions we made on this project."

Our recreation project portfolio is full of examples of successful Design-Build and Construction Management projects in the Recreation market. Visit the Knowledge Base to learn more about project delivery and to see examples from our full range of Construction Management agency (CMa) and Design-Build projects.