If you are a contractor, design-build company, or an architect, then you understand how critical pre-planning and project management are to the success of your construction projects. HELM will collaborate with you as part of your team to offer your client and the project professional construction management services. We can take some of the burden off your shoulders and assist with keeping your projects on schedule and on budget while assuring quality and performance standards are met. HELM can also support you behind the scenes to improve your project administration and client communication. Most importantly, our goal is to make you look good and exceed the client’s expectations.

Pre-Construction:

The planning and decision-making during the year+ prior to “breaking ground” are arguably more critical to the success of a project than the actual construction of your building. A well-planned project prepares the client for the process they are about to embark on. Set your project up for success by investing in the pre-construction phase. HELM approaches the construction process utilizing some of the best principles of the Integrated Project Delivery method. We can provide preliminary budget checks, Gantt chart scheduling, constructability review and value engineering services. For architects, HELM can work with you to pre-qualify builders or consultants. For builders, we can recommend designers, engineers and consultant to bring in on your projects. HELM can help you to navigate local and state permitting (including Act 250 in Vermont), offer assistance in fulfilling state energy efficiency requirements for cash incentives, and coordinate high performance third party building certifications like LEED, Passive House, Net Zero and Living Building Challenge.

Our Approach…

HELM brings a fresh approach to the construction process. There has been a long history of conflict between architect and builder and between the builder and client. Whether it is a clash over who is ultimately responsible for a project going over budget, a struggle getting timely decisions out of the architect and client, or a communication breakdown with the builder, we see considerable room for improvement in our industry. The Integrated Project Delivery method arose out of a need to address these conflict-filled relationships of distrust.

The American Institute of Architects defines Integrated Project Delivery as a “delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.” The IPD method relies on a high level of trust among project team members and lends itself to collaboration and a more efficient process. Our role is to help facilitate this spirit of trust and collaboration. Whether we are the ones assembling your project team for you or joining an existing team, we will hold the participants accountable to a collective agreement in regards to budget, schedule, quality and performance.

Principles of Integrated Project Delivery:

  • Mutual Respect and Trust
  • Mutual Benefit and Reward
  • Collaborative Innovation and Decision Making
  • Early Involvement of Key Participants
  • Early Goal Definition
  • Intensified Planning
  • Open Communication
  • Appropriate Technology
  • Organization and Leadership

Before breaking ground on your new project, HELM encourages the team to finalize as many of the design and finish details as possible. We want the client to have an accurate budget and clear expectations for what lies ahead. Regardless of the type of contract you use (fixed price, time and material, or cost plus with guaranteed maximum price), an accurate and detailed estimate is necessary. In order for a builder to provide this, the design must be as complete as possible. Not all finish decisions will have been made, but HELM will help you to provide your client with a schedule by which they need to make these decisions in order to maintain an efficient build process. The design and planning phase is where you have the most ability to influence the outcome of the build. HELM has had the privilege of teaming up with contractors, design-builders and architects on numerous projects throughout New England, offering our services so that you can deliver a more successful project.

Project Management:

If you have worked with HELM during the pre-construction phase, then the administration of your project should be simplified. That said, we recognize that the construction process has its challenges. We will support you with tools to maintain organization, efficiency and good communication throughout the project. We begin by collaborating with the builder to provide a detailed construction schedule. This schedule becomes the roadmap for the process, outlining key decisions, material procurement and construction milestones. We update and track progress on this schedule as the building occurs.

Our proactive approach encourages the project team (architect, builder, client, subcontractors, and suppliers) to work together to achieve the quality, cost and schedule objectives. We strive for positive working relationships among the team members, facilitating timely resolution of the problems and conflicts that are common in the construction process. We can support consistent communication amongst the team by organizing weekly or bi-weekly team meetings. We’ll help you to develop the agenda, provide assistance with facilitation, and draft meeting notes. Our role is to be one step ahead, anticipating the upcoming challenges. We call this Offensive Project Management – not offensive :) but proactive. Too often project managers are acting in response to the crisis unfolding before them. Our goal is to help you eliminate the existence of unnecessary crisis and conflict. We want the construction phase to be a positive and rewarding experience for the builder, the architect and the client.

Project Management Services & Tools:

  • Bid award and contract review
  • Gantt chart critical path schedules
  • Jobsite project binders
  • Project team coordination
  • Budget accountability
  • Change order review and management
  • Payment review and approval
  • Punch list development and resolution
  • Owner’s manuals
  • Contract closeout
  • Energy efficiency incentives
  • High performance third party certification

"HELM Construction Solutions is a welcome and needed resource for myself as an architect and the builders I work with. They bring us all up several notches professionally by doing what we generally don’t want to do or don’t do well. With HELM running the management aspect of things, I can focus more on doing what I do best."

-Robert Swinburne, Bluetime Collaborative-Vermont Architect (Brattleboro, VT)