Building Better Together
When it comes to architecture, design and engineering, it’s just a fact that there will never be a shortage of obstacles to overcome (or opportunities to seize). It’s simply the nature of the business, and most firms can expect to face many of the same challenges in the process of creating a built environment.
However, our team at SHP is uniquely positioned to tackle any challenge or ask with ease—and not just because we have some of the best and brightest minds in our industry under our roof. (Although that certainly helps!) In our view, the difference comes down to how our different teams and specialties work together. Our dedication to collaboration is what sets us apart from the crowd and sets us up for success.
A House United
Any architecture firm will engage with an experienced engineering team in the process of designing and constructing a building—but at SHP, those engineers are under the same roof and on the same floor as the architects and interior designers. “Having engineering in-house, working alongside the architecture and design teams, really enhances the level of coordination on a given project,” says Sam Bohman, an electrical engineer. “We can be involved much earlier in the process than an external engineering firm, which gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions, provide input and spot potential setbacks.”
That level of coordination and collaboration has become expected, adds Carrie Malatesta, Vice President of Interior Design.
“When we work on a project that doesn’t involve our internal engineers, it is actually jarring!” she says. “We’ve become accustomed to the close relationship we’ve developed with our engineers since they’re working right alongside us. They can finish our sentences; they do things that they know our team needs without asking.” And with all of SHP’s teams working together, “there is a greater appreciation for all of the elements that go into the process and the final product.”
Cross-Team Education & “Lessons Learned”
Having our teams under the same roof is a prime environment for incidental learning, but optimal collaboration (and a superior end product) demands a greater understanding of each discipline and how they can best work together. To that end, we’ve prioritized ongoing education as a way to further enhance teamwork and cross-discipline coordination.
The interior design and engineering teams, for instance, recently initiated regular lunch & learns to learn more about each discipline’s functions, priorities and pain points. In addition to general overview sessions like “Electric 101,” they’ve also come together to learn about how design and engineering can best incorporate elements like fume hoods and kilns into specific projects,
Along with a passion for lifelong learning, there is a shared desire for continual improvement across the firm that makes every project better. “At SHP, we are very intentional about ongoing learning and filtering that knowledge throughout the entire organization—it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before,” says Mark Demko, a project architect. “We do ‘lessons learned’ sessions at the end of every project with people from different disciplines to talk about the issues we faced and how we can modify our standards or specs moving forward.” And by communicating those learnings to the rest of the firm, we can ensure greater efficiency and enhanced problem-solving for future endeavors.
All architecture and design firms employ some level of collaboration in their work, but SHP takes that focus further than most. Our commitment to teamwork isn’t just about delivering incredible spaces. Rather, “the care we have for all of our people is what sets us apart,” says David Powell, a senior project manager.
“A lot of other design firms collaborate; that’s a given,” he finishes. “But while they will coordinate and communicate in support of the product, we do it in support of the producers—and I think that’s what makes our team and our work so exceptional.”
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