Designed and built for change
Buildings evolve with occupants’ intended uses, within physical and economic constraints. When designed to accommodate “upgrades” in various component elements, buildings can achieve longer and more productive lifespans. By analogy, this principle applies also to the design of organizations and the people, process, technology and culture elements that comprise them – elements that accept change at varying rates and thereby constrain overall change. Thus, sustained growth depends on flexibility, agility and adaptation to changing business objectives at many levels or layers within an organization.
With owners demanding faster project completion and burdening providers with more risk, Engineering and Construction (E&C) firms have responded with innovations in prefabrication, building information modeling (BIM), integrated project delivery (IPD) and design-build (D-B) practices. However, each innovation takes time to take root as “front office” professionals specify needs for translation into new operational processes that must then be embedded into “back-office” administrative systems – all subject to acceptance by prevailing firm culture. So, change takes at least as long as the slowest or least flexible participant in the chain.