By Antony Phillipson, @AJPhillipson
The importance of crafting the right work environment for your people is just as significant as the professionals you trust to make it a reality. In 2014, IKM was approaching the end of our lease, outgrowing our space and ready for a change after a 30-year tenure in 1 PPG Place. Our organization was rapidly shifting toward a significantly more youthful, collaborative and technology-driven approach to design, which was hampered by our 1980s environment.
After several rounds of preliminary office-wide workshops, we established a vision of a 21st-century work environment that would ultimately land on the vacant 22nd floor of the 11 Stanwix Building. Upon completing the design documents in July 2015, we were excited, but the work had just begun.
IKM had always been the design partner during the design development and construction of projects, but for the first time we were on the other side of the table as the client. During the design phase, we worked with MBM Contracting to complete several pre-bid costing exercises to ensure we were on the right track. After the project went to bid, MBM Contracting proved to be the best partner to make our vision a reality.
It’s About the Journey…
With every wish list must come priorities. Each zone of our new office serves a different function to enable our staff to work, live, and grow. Through a series of value-engineering techniques, MBM adjusted our specifications and identified opportunities to tweak our design to meet our budget goal without compromising the integrity of the design.
The small changes add up: in our conference areas, MBM and IKM collaborated to select alternative glazing for conference room partitions that gave us the look and feel we designed, but at a better price point. Other collaborative efforts included careful examination of the building’s existing conditions. By taking advantage of these techniques, we were able to achieve our design intent of creating the lively communal areas we need to optimize our process and reflect our brand.
IKM’s Project Manager for the IKM Office Renovation, Jonathan Lusin, recalls the elimination of a stationary bar designed into the office breakroom, “eliminating the bar from the break area actually gave us more flexibility to change the space to meet our evolving needs as an organization.” In the end, cost reduction did not mean that our office’s quality or design vision was significantly compromised, it was a way to guarantee we paid for what really mattered in the end.
Expect the Unexpected
MBM completed construction from September 2016 to January 2017. In the three-year process from idea to move-in day, our most valuable resource proved to not be design expertise but communication both internally and externally. We found a partner who established trust, understood our standards, and found ways to preserve how we wanted the office to make people feel from their 1st visit to their 100th day in the office.
Designing and constructing one’s work environment is one of the most significant projects an organization will undertake. Collaborating with designers and builders who can share that vision is critical to the success of any construction project.
IKM Architecture and MBM Contracting have partnered on 100+ construction projects in the Pittsburgh Area. Both firms invite you to an upcoming Member Face2Face in the IKM Office on October 11th in the 11 Stanwix Building, Suite 2200.