A principal at one of the most successful Design Build firms in the country discusses the integrated delivery model, the importance of collaboration and what keeps him up at night.

As Senior Vice President and Partner at Clayco, Kirk Warden has been instrumental in implementing the company’s integrated delivery model. This process encompasses architecture and design, engineering, technology, finance, real estate and construction, all under one umbrella. Warden recently sat down with StoryTrack CEO, Lori Dowd, explaining Clayco’s innovative approach.

StoryTrack:  How do you approach risk allocation in Design-Build construction?

Kirk Warden: It’s about getting the right people in the room at the right time so you know exactly what the risks are with a client’s project up front. It allows building owners to make much more educated decisions along the way. And it helps us identify exactly where the risks are and how to mitigate them before they become disasters.

ST: Give me an example of a recent design-build project.

KW: The owners of the St. Louis County Health project requested an integrated design-build delivery.  They needed a 90-thousand square-foot, two-story, LEED certified building–with a fixed price. So we used our collective talents, our integrated services, because we knew it was the right solution for them. The facility was for people not as privileged as many of us.  And most people think well you just give them a very basic and rudimentary building because it’s an institutional type use.  But we designed and built a facility that people are proud to walk into. It’s a jewel in the community. We spent four months working hand-in-hand with the customer before we even won the job. The project came in on-time and on-budget and far exceeded everyone’s expectations.

ST:  I’ve heard the term biophilia.  What is it? And how do you incorporate the concept into your designs?

KW: Biophilia is the idea that there’s an instinctive bond between people and the living environment around them.  We really considered that when working on the County Health building.  We made a living system with a fountain and trees and other organic materials.  People feel different when they walk in and it lifts their spirit. Many people who go into the clinic aren’t going there because they feel good.  So we want them to be physically and emotionally affected in a positive way.

ST: What keeps you up at night?

KW:  What keeps me up at night are the issues that keep my clients up at night. What I’m most passionate about is helping people get what they want and need to succeed at what they do. People who work with us are happy.  Not only at what they physically have at the end of the project but because we make them part of the process. Our goal is to make them successful. Then we are successful.  That’s why I love what I do.

About the Author

Lori Dowd

Lori Dowd is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of StoryTrack Studio. For over 20 years, she has directed and produced programming for a range of corporate, non-profit, online and broadcast partner/client.