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Ask “WHY?”

At Peak, one of the most important words in our vocabulary is “WHY”.  To us, “WHY?” is arguably the shortest, most effective word/question in the English language and it validates the importance of giving all decisions the proper attention which is often undervalued. “WHY?” is the question that needs to be asked on every goal, design recommendation, and proposed performance criteria!

As a design-build general contractor providing services that span multiple markets segments – industrial, office, healthcare, hospitality, construction management – as well as other real estate specialty areas including land entitlement/development, we help our clients navigate all the big and small decisions that turn their businesses’ needs/goals into solutions that provide immediate results along with long term value.

In our experience, the best solutions providing the greatest value to clients are achieved when decisions are soundly based on input critically scrutinized and evaluated from all professional resources as it relates to meeting all proposed performance criteria goals and objectives.  Many of the problematic issues encountered on competitors’ projects that become costly in terms of time or money are avoidable issues.   Part of Peak’s proven technique for successful projects have our project managers diligently and repeatedly asking “WHY, WHY, WHY?” of all project participants.  Most project team participants provide input, design, recommendations incorporating different technical and professional perspectives and approaches to the project decisions.  In the role of “quarterback” Peak can achieve solutions and decisions that create the highest possible value for clients by fully understanding all of the background information and thought processes of all of those professionals included in the project process.  Ignoring, or not fully understanding a perspective that may conflict with conclusions previously reached, can be a value added idea lost forever!

  • Ask “WHY?”  to begin understanding every client’s list of objectives presented in early project development;
  • Ask “WHY?” of every professional designer’s recommended solutions to the client’s objectives and goals;
  • Investigate all other project system solutions or experiences of your design team to   encourage unique and thoughtful alternative solutions that were never initially considered.  Ask “WHY NOT?”.

One recent successful Peak project began with a customer interviewing potential design-build general contractors about a 300,000 SF new manufacturing project in the Northwest Chicago suburbs.  During our initial interview, Peak asked “WHY” 300,000 SF? The client indicated they currently occupied and operated in 250,000 SF and thought this plus 20% growth was the right number.  Peak followed–up by asking if there had there been any analysis on the efficiency of flow, space utilization and potential equipment automation.  Following a tour of the manufacturing facility and an initial design programming analysis by the Peak team, the requirement changed to a base design of 200,000 SF and site expansion capabilities to 250,000 SF. Peak was awarded the work!  The new completed facility of 200,000 SF provided 20% expansion beyond initial production capacities at occupancy and based upon the approximately $40 psf building costs, over $4 million of added value to our client from the simple question “WHY?”!!

By beginning discovery and information analysis with asking “WHY?” at as many decision points as possible, we force the entire team to  double check  all information and analysis  to confirm that the path to be traveled makes the most sense when compared to the owner’s initial goals for undertaking the project in the first place.  Often the best pursuit of this method is to continue to confirm the answers with additional “WHY?” questions to make sure that the surface level answers are supported by a complete set of viable responses for the decision being made.

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