How a Culture of Collaboration and Learning Supports our Design-Build-Furnish Approach Blog Feature
Marcos Rodriguez

By: Marcos Rodriguez on July 19, 2021

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How a Culture of Collaboration and Learning Supports our Design-Build-Furnish Approach

Church Design | Church Construction

This third and final post of a three-part series explores how our Aspen teams apply collaboration and learning to support our unique Design-Build-Furnish approach.

Recently, we've talked a lot about our integrated Design-Build-Furnish process, and how this delivery method differs from a Design-Build-Bid approach. One of the factors that makes our DBF process successful is the collaboration between all of the different disciplines that makes up a DBF project. Throughout the process, our design and construction teams at Aspen Group collaborate and share lessons learned in order to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the work we produce.

Learning permeates the culture when collaboration between construction, design, estimating, interiors, and other teams is the default way of operating, and in turn, helps us avoid repeating mistakes.


See the Learning in Action:


This collaborative, learning approach especially shows up in specific practices we employ at Aspen Group:

On-site Building Audits 

A multi-functional team goes out to the existing building to capture information about conditions, discuss constraints and ideas, and focus on problem areas. This leads to a more comprehensive understanding of the client’s space and better drawings (which results in schedule and costs savings). Recently our team had a day of learning and collaboration at a walkthrough of one of our finished projects, Waypoint Church.




Redline Summits 

The project team invites experts from adjacent disciplines to review and edit their work and help identify problems (this is the good kind of redlining!). The team draws from the collective company knowledge through lessons learned and focuses on constructability—the best industry solutions for turning the design into a real-life space.




All-Day Work Sessions 

The entire design-build team commits to an extended period of time working on the same part of the project together in order to move past surface-level issues and get into the deep work of more complicated challenges. This unearths the problems that would otherwise lead to additional costs later on.



The Roles and Characteristics of the Team

There are several roles within the team, and their responsibilities move in and out of the spotlight over the course of the project. The Project Developer (client relations), Project Architect (design), and Project Manager (construction) work together to make up the core of the team—what we at Aspen call “The Studio.” Other supporting roles include Cost Modeling, Interior Design, Design Production, and Accounting Services.

A successful DBF team holds one another accountable and pushes on each other to get to the most effective solutions. This means they have to have work through difficult conversations, reshaping the course of the project or design as new information presents itself. A successful team doesn’t merely give the church what they’re asking for, but leans into the tension to seek out what the church truly needs.

At Aspen, we believe collaboration and learning are crucial components for teams to function effectively. The process of coming together to learn, ideate, and critique, leads to healthier teams, happier clients, and ultimately, to better ministry impact in a building project.

Want to learn more about why our Design-Build-Furnish process might be the perfect fit for your church building project? Reach out to us for a no-pressure conversation.


About Marcos Rodriguez

Marcos Rodriguez serves as Director of Design Operations and has been at Aspen since 2014. Outside of the office, Marcos enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters.