For many of us, our home is our single largest investment. To make the most of it is not simple – building is now very technical and complex in a rapidly changing market. Integrated project delivery leverages a collaborative alliance of experts and systems early in the planning and design stage to maximize efficiency and value. Often overlooked, the operating costs of our home need to be considered especially with utility costs rising at exponential rates. And to understand the value of our choices now requires an understanding of the future housing market. With significant policy in place, including the Step Code in BC, it is not hard to forecast what will inform future market value.
Our houses are no longer simple structures that hold a roof over our heads. Our quality of life has increased dramatically such that we now enjoy in our homes reliable light, heat and air conditioning, entertainment and communications systems, water and luxurious mechanical systems, and a long list of other comforts, finishes, conveniences, and luxuries. All hidden in the walls of our houses. And our houses are bigger than ever.
For most of us, our home is our single largest investment. Over the long term, real estate has always proven a very valuable investment. But with our improved quality of life, building is far more complex and technical – and with this comes more restrictions (building code) and more risk. There are also more products, solutions, and systems available than ever before.
Traditional project delivery is not up to the task.
If you want to get the most out of your investment, a new way of approaching, organizing, and delivering a project is required. It is no longer sufficient to design something, price it, then build it. When building was simpler this was fine, but now it’s fragmented and inefficient.
Success in building today, to get the most value from your project, requires integration. Early in the planning and design stage, someone needs to put together all variables: budget, aesthetics, function, durability, availability of resources, building performance, mechanical systems, risk, and market trends.
Construction project management typically begins after design. By this time, so much money and time has already been invested, that it is often too late to make valuable changes without incurring more expenses.
If you want the most value from your investment, you need project management to start before design. You need to bridge the design-build gap that plagues the industry and results in unimaginable inefficiencies. You need integrated project delivery.
Integrated project delivery sees our houses as systems. To design a house as a system is to integrate various functions:
lifestyle (day-to-day functions like showering and cooking)
environmental and mechanical (heating, cooling, and water)
Building system (structural, thermal, and moisture control functions)
As a functioning system, it has operating costs including:
- Electrical utility bill
- Water utility bill
- Gas utility bill
Integrating all these systems in the initial design can reduce these costs immediately, more drastically over time. BC may have some of the lowest electricity rates in North America but they are rising exponentially and should not be overlooked in the design of your home.
As with any investment, we must consider the future.
Building based on how things are now is foolish and will undermine your real estate investment. While nobody can predict the exact state of the housing market in the future, we can look at trends and government policy to know what future housing infrastructure will look like. And that is what we should build to now to ensure a competitive future market value.
The government recognizes that our quality of life and homes is increasing. They know that this takes more energy. For our quality of life to increase, we must do so with less energy. So there is policy in place now to ensure that houses in BC in the near future are more energy-efficient. It’s called the Step Code and it’s part of BC’s Climate Action Plan. This means that in just 15 years, any new house built will be net-zero ready, meaning very very energy-efficient. In 15 years, when utility bills are much higher, this energy-efficiency will be even more valuable in the market and houses built to current minimum standards will suffer from what are being called “brown discounts.”
Construction costs a lot of money. Integrate the design, calculate operating costs, and understand future market value to ensure you get the most out of your investment.