023 Designer Selection: Bond Project Post #2

the-mt-222x222The designer selection process has begun! For the owner’s project manager, this is one, if not the most important step in the project journey.  The decision we make at this point will shape the entire project moving forward.  Over the past two years, I’ve worked with design teams that show true dedication to the project and are constantly moving the project forward like a shepherd dog that nips at the heels of stakeholders, helping to get decisions made and moving the flock safely and quickly across the mountaintop.  I’ve also worked with design teams that have a lack of standard of care, and couldn’t “project manage” themselves out of their sleeping bag at base camp.  Okay I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point, I want to make sure we recommend a good team to the Board of Trustees. I will discuss the steps that we’ve completed to date in the designer selection process in this post.


In June we advertised for a designer on the General Administration (GA) website.  Once the advertisement is on this site, distribution services pick up the advertisement and deliver it throughout the design community.  Sometimes this can be an issue because, the original advertisement may get edited, but it isn’t redistributed by the services.  If you are a designer, I recommend that you email the PM and ask for a project brief.  This will ensure that you are on the email list for updates and announcements.

Pre-Proposal Meeting

The sun was beating down on our backs as we huddled in the shade of the crepe myrtle in the courtyard.  We watched as the first group of design professionals headed into the building for the tour.  Those not going on the tour broke into small groups networking and making small talk. I headed to the edge of the courtyard anxious to be back to the air conditioning of my office.

My colleague and I had just finished presenting at the pre-proposal meeting to about 65 architects and engineers.  Like most people, public speaking is my least favorite thing to do, but I jumped at the opportunity to present.  Over the years, I’ve been on several selection committees and it is disheartening to see that some design teams “get it” and some don’t.  I’d hoped that our presentation would drive home the points that we wanted to see in the submittals: expertise, experience with similar type of design, experience with large groups of campus stakeholders and, of course, stellar project management skills.

We hoped to level the playing field and will find out soon.  My next post will be about the short-listing and interviewing process.

On a side note: The Triangle A/E/C community lost an extraordinary project manger this month. Rest in peace, Kim Buff, AIA, we will miss you “nipping at our heels.”


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