It Sounds Like Sci-Fi, but Its Reality

Laura M. Porinchak / April 2021


Don’t let our first feature article intimidate you. Going way beyond BIM and prefabrication, it presents the efficient and time-saving use of computational design, parametric data and digital fabrication methods employed by an AWCI member company, KHS&S Contractors. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s really just science—and a smart way to propel your company forward and into the future.  

Using these processes allows KHS&S to quickly, efficiently and precisely bring to life an architect’s most wildest renderings. They also bring the benefits of more accurate estimates, fewer man-hours and the elimination of re-work. I have a feeling these new ways of working will one day become commonplace, and it is exciting to know this AWCI member is breaking new ground.
    
I encourage you to not only read this article (it starts on page 32), but to keep it handy or remember the details when your company is presented with an “impossible project.” With advances in technology, soon no future building project will be impossible; if you want your company to remain successful, you should be aware of what’s coming—and be prepared to jump on the bandwagon.
    
Among other things that may seem impossible in construction are contracts and contract language. The feature article that begins on page 44 brings you the thoughts and opinions of AWCI contractor members who find that most contracts put all the risk on the sub and very little, if any, risk on the GC. Burdensome clauses, insurance issues, retention, pay-if-paid demands and other unattractive language are among the issues discussed. In the end, the AWCI members describe what they do to change the language to make contracts less of a risk.
    
Our third feature (page 50) delves into a topic that really, really bugs our retired estimator: unit pricing. Steve Saucerman says unit pricing is an evil practice that can make you lose a job and infuriate the client. Companies that manipulate unit pricing aren’t doing anyone any favors. In some cases, would it not be better to provide two different estimate when unit pricing is involved? This article provides several examples of why and how this practice should change.
    
Finally, I want to point out that this issue of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions would have been distributed to all the attendees of AWCI’s Convention & Intex Expo, but most of you probably know that this event has been moved from April to October due to the pandemic. (I must say I really look forward to the first time I can write this column without mentioning that word—pandemic.) The convention and expo will still be in New Orleans, and of course safety protocols will be in place. Keep an eye on www.awci.org for updates and more information.
    
I miss meeting in person with our members and readers, so I look forward to seeing you in the fall. In the meantime, let me hear from you (porinchak@awci.org) if you are an AWCI member working with new technology or on a new and exciting building project. You could be featured in our magazine!