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unique requirements are met throughout the
design and construction process.
• Tenants should establish design criteria
prior to soliciting proposals: Because a
developer’s financial pro-forma and proposal are linked to the cost of construction,
early specificity by the tenant is required.
A basis of design should be developed
early, prior to the solicitation of developer
proposals, which outlines primary design
• Establish clear communication protocols:
Set a tone and structure for ongoing dialog between the teams that will sustain a
cooperative approach over the design and
construction phases. Over the course of the
project there will likely be changes sought
from either the developer or tenant that
will require the participation of the other.
Throughout these exchanges, there needs to
be a clear process for requests and responses
such that each can be tracked for any schedule or budget impact.
• Embed RFPs for design services within a
detailed responsibility matrix: Whether
solicited separately by developer and tenant,
or jointly, the RFP(s) for design services
needs to be carefully crafted to reflect the
complexities of assigning responsibility for
both design and construction of all building
components. A tenant and landlord respon-
sibility matrix is a typical tool for outlining
such roles of each party and for their respec-
tive tasks in the project delivery. Yet such
guides are really only high-level outlines and
don’t capture the reality of the daily back-
and-forth communication and coordination
required for the project’s execution. Often
these assignments of scope must be adjusted
during the process to reflect the realities of
critical path activities and constructibility.
The items that don’t simply fit with either
the developer or tenant, and those that require
interaction between both teams, can become
a source of conflict in the process. The time
and effort necessary for coordinating topics
such as these should be identified in the RFP
for services and then reflected in the contrac-
tual agreements of architects and engineers to
ensure their appropriate execution.
• Stagger design schedules: To the extent pos-
sible, there’s great advantage in staggering
the design phases between the developer
and tenant A/E teams with the tenant team
developing the detailed basis of design in
advance of the developer starting the base
building design. Typically the tenant design
process lags behind the developer’s project,
however almost without exception, the
incorporation of tenant specifications into
the developer’s design is best coordinated by
infusing the tenant’s programmatic needs
into the developer’s building planning.
• Define tenant early-access for construc-
tion: While we recommend that the tenant
planning process precede the core and shell
design process, the C/S construction will
obviously precede the TI. Given that contract
leases typically distinguish between the two
scopes of construction, the date on which the
TI can commence construction, known as
the “tenant ready” date, is critical. It’s there-
fore important to establish and document
the expectations for “tenant ready” or ear-
ly-access for tenant construction. Depending
on the complexities of tenant mechanical
and program related equipment, an early-ac-
cess period may require significant efforts
of equipment loading and placement—best
performed prior to the enclosure of the C/S.
As such, the provisions and timing for fin-
ishing a weather-tight enclosure by the core
shell building needs to be carefully under-
stood by the tenant project.
The build-to-suit process offers advantages
to both developer and tenant, and its success
requires coordination between multiple disciplines, scopes, schedules and budgets where
the lines between C/S and TI are often blurred.
Advance planning, clear contracts and collaborative relationships are the keys to success.
Bill Harris serves as Regional Practice Leader
for S&T at Perkins+Will with more than 35
years of architectural design experience. Derek
Johnson, Project Architect at Perkins+Will, has
over 13 years experience as a designer and project
manager working on projects for higher education
and cultural institutions, as well as private clients
across the U.S.
Structuring success in the
science and research market
continued from page 29
Incentives for building new research space is that existing labs (top) may offer older, inflexible bench styles that
aren’t consistent with today’s demand for flexibility and transparency. Images: © Rick Mandelkorn