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Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois Commercial Construction

Building smart with Design-Build, The Korte Company

    Strong companies are built on the back of hard work. But working smart is equally important. The Korte Company says it has made working smart an integral part of its process for almost 60 years.
    Founded in 1958, The Korte Company now handles more than $200 million per year in construction. Its projects cover the world and run the full range of building from residential to retail to office to industrial. Current projects include the design and construction of two catheterization labs at Anderson Hospital in Maryville and a new 11,655-square-foot addition to Fayette County Hospital in Vandalia.
    Todd Korte, president and CEO of The Korte Company, says building smart has grown the company from humble beginnings to what it is today. Specifically, it has grown by encouraging every team member to contribute “best-value solutions.”
    “It’s not about ego or doing things a set way,” Korte said, “It’s about making the job the boss. We give our team the room to bring ideas to the table and have them identify the best-value solutions for a job.”
    Korte said that wherever the company can add value with a solution, it does it. Company seniority and traditional methods are secondary to results. If flawed designs suggest expensive materials, unnecessary work or bad space optimization, the team finds a way to bring builds into budget and schedule. If a different site, material or way to pour concrete would save everyone a little money, time or work, they are open to ideas.
    “Smart ideas can come from anyone, Korte said. “Whether it’s a vendor, a subcontractor, an architect, a project manager or the team on the job-site, each team member can bring good ideas to the table.”
    Any part of the construction process is open for discussion, said Korte. But, the company has a certain method it usually uses to create this flexibility.
    According to Korte, in traditional construction, architectural design is set first, with construction separately contracted later. Design revisions are not always welcome, forcing out many good ideas. The Korte Company found a way to solve that problem, by bringing architect and builder together under one contract in Design-Build. Architectural design and construction happen concurrently, with an ongoing discussion between all team members. The Korte Company is one of few builders that does in-house architectural design, and 90 percent of its work is Design-Build. However, it still works with outside architects in 70 percent of projects.
    “We put together the best team for the job. Sometimes that means bringing in specialty designers. But whether it’s our architects or outside architects, Design-Build allows all team members to suggest best-value solutions.” Korte said.
    The bottom line, says Korte, is that different industries require creative workarounds, but having a setup where workers can contribute ideas will save time, money and other resources.