Molly’s New Book Releasing in 2023: Building Beautifully
Updated: Jun 14
As the world continues to struggle with the increasing challenges of climate change, it has become clear to me that we need to take a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to mitigate, and hopefully reverse, the impacts of climate change on our planet.
The premise of this book is that we need to look beyond the bricks and mortar that make up our buildings and explore one of the key initial decisions that can set up a successful, or unsuccessful, sustainable project. We will explore the project delivery method’s role in combating climate change and creating a more sustainable future. The project delivery method impacts first cost, as well as operations and maintenance costs for the life of the building. We must make mindful, informed decisions when selecting a project delivery method.
This book will unapologetically focus on the benefits of using the design-build project delivery system to deliver deeply sustainable projects quickly. Design-build is not suitable for use on every project, and in fact, there are some owners and projects that should not use it at all. However, we will challenge the notions and reasons for not selecting this delivery method from every angle and make the case for engaging design-build to help solve the single biggest challenge of our time.
In this book I challenge the status quo, suggesting we employ a way of building where everyone has a voice at the table and is pulling in the same direction: toward a healthier future for all of us. Together, we’ll explore the intersection of project delivery and climate change. I will ask you to think beyond the issues of the day and go into the future. I will draw conclusions that link climate change to economic pressure, political unrest, war, migration, famine, and more.
I imagine you are saying to yourself, “I thought this was a book about building! Why are you also talking about everything from economic pressure to famine?” Winston Churchill summed up the answer quite brilliantly when he said, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” We must understand that our buildings can make us better people, support better, healthier lives, and support a healthier future for all of us if we do things differently.
If you are an Owner, this book will challenge you to ask and answer three questions each time you consider a building project. It will help you understand climate change and the role buildings play, engage a qualified Owner Advisor to support your project and set appropriate goals.
If you are an Owner Advisor, this book will help you lead the Owner and Design-Builder to a more sustainable solution and make the case for design-build when seeking sustainable and energy-efficient solutions.
If you are an Architect, this book will challenge you to consider engaging in design-build projects if you haven’t already done so, help you select more compatible design-build partners, and help you understand the best practices in design-build that will unleash your creativity. As an architect myself, I realize this book will be controversial to many of my colleagues.
If you are a Contractor, this book will help you understand the urgency of addressing climate change, the importance of selecting the right partners and Owners to work with and help you lead your projects toward a more sustainable result more effectively.
I use the latest research available and case studies. While the case studies are real-world examples, I have neutralized them as a single project with a fictitious name. I also refer to some recent events that provide further evidence of the issues we face.
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: What the Hell is Happening?
Chapter 1: Climate Change 101: Here’s where we’ll dip our toes into climate change science. We’ll look at data and the reports and outline where the issues lie. We’ll explore together the situation we face with warming temperatures and the trajectory we are currently on. We will look at the relationship between warming temperatures, weather patterns, and natural disasters. Then we expand that to draw the links between climate change and the impact on humans like unrest, famine, and economic pressures. We’ll take a trip into the past for a bit to understand a naturally occurring event that, if it happened today, could be far more catastrophic. Drawing on research by NOAA, NASA, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and others, you will gain working knowledge of the trends in data, and the results if we continue on the current path.
Chapter 2: Carbon Dioxide, the Elephant in the Room: We get to the heart of the matter and set the scene for the remainder of the book. We’ll look at what sectors of society generate carbon dioxide (CO2) by percentage and what activities occur in each sector.
Chapter 3: The Role of Buildings: In this chapter, we’ll the specific role that buildings play in the CO2 picture. We’ll look at the importance of changing how we build new buildings and how we retrofit existing buildings. We’ll demonstrate that is isn’t enough just to be energy efficient, we must also look at carbon across the entire building lifecycle. We’ll introduce you to the carbon footprint and its importance in reducing overall CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with energy efficiency and discuss how the two measures can work together to significantly reduce carbon. We’ll also take an in-depth look at how we make deep reductions in energy consumption in buildings using a prioritized list of actions.
Part II: Begin at the Beginning
Chapter 4: Project Delivery Methods in Use Today: This chapter begins with the definition of what a project delivery method is. This chapter defines all commonly used, and some not-so-commonly used, project delivery methods. Here is where we introduce our fictitiously named example project and talk about the pros and cons of each project delivery system.
Chapter 5: A Closer Look at Design-Build: We'll look at the benefits of design-build. We will review the Design-Build Institute of America’s Design-Build Done Right Best Practices and discuss the tenets of using this project delivery method properly, pulling from decades of experience to arrive at a process that yields successful results. We’ll explore the best methods to procure, contract for, and execute design-build projects.
Chapter 6: Types of Design-Build: This chapter breaks down design-build into the two types of design-build, best value selection and progressive design-build. We'll take a look at the strengths of each type and using our example project, we’ll look at the application of each.
Part III – The Case for Design-Build
Chapter 7: Begin with the End in Mind: In this chapter, we explore together the importance of starting off on the right foot. We look at how the selection of a project delivery method can help or hinder not just the project, but also the environment and future generations. We discuss how project risks, goals, and objectives are incorporated into the project and used to define and evaluate project success. We also discuss the unique aspects of the Design-Build project delivery and how it is a great fit for projects seeking to achieve aggressive sustainability goals and mitigate climate change.
Chapter 8: The Owner Advisor: This chapter highlights the critical role of the Owner Advisor in managing the project and mentoring the entire project team, Owner and Design-Builder alike. We’ll talk specifically about the sustainability expertise that a great Owner Advisor possesses and how that experience rallies the entire project team around the shared goal of an exceptional project.
Chapter 9: Achieving Results: In this chapter we explore the tools available to help further support the project team, encouraging them to engage their creativity and bring innovation to the project. We’ll explore the importance of the design phase, during both the pre-award and post-award of the contract. We’ll review the role of collaboration in this truly integrative project delivery method and how it yields exceptional results in a fraction of the time other project delivery methods take.
Part IV – Setting up for Success
Chapter 10: Embrace the Mindset: To achieve the results we are seeking; we must first start with mindset. Design-Build is fundamentally different from other project delivery methods and those that do it well understand that mindset is everything. Here we explore the importance of leaving the “Us vs. Them" mentality behind and engage in fully in a collaborative process. We’ll also look at some examples, using our fictitious project, where that mindset shift didn’t occur, the impact that can have on a project, and what to do about it.
Chapter 11: Expand the Table: This is all about collaboration. Expanding the table to include all voices and hear all voices that impact and are impacted by the project. We’ll explore how the table is expanded to include operations and maintenance personnel, public stakeholders, users, and many more as the project is planned, procured, and executed. Every voice is vital to the process.
Chapter 12: Look Toward the Future: While the speed of Design-Build demands that we quickly get to the solution of a problem, we also need to begin projects thinking about the future impact of every decision made. Keeping these impacts in mind means we make decisions that are better for the environment today while balancing both first cost and life cycle cost. We invest where the investment yields the most benefit for the project, both today and 50 years from now.
Part VI – Call to Action
Chapter 13: Why Am I Building: To Build Beautifully, we must ask ourselves three important questions. The answer to these questions may mean we decide not to build at all, or perhaps we take a different approach by retrofitting an existing building rather than building a new building, or we proceed with a new building that is quite different from the status quo.
Chapter 14: What Am I Building: Building Beautifully means we are mindful of every decision made, every step of the process. We ask ourselves challenging questions about smaller buildings, rethinking how we use space and perhaps using the building differently than typical buildings do. Can I use less materials? Can I use less energy by creating a smaller, but more efficient, building?
Chapter 15: How will I Build: The last question to answer is a simple one. How will I build? Will I choose to Build Beautifully? Will I use a project delivery system that helps me make a positive impact on our collective future?
To Build Beautifully, we must be mindful of the impact every decision has on ourselves, our community, and the environment.
How do we Build Beautifully? We build beautifully when every individual involved in the project, from start to finish, is working as an integrated team pulling in the same direction toward shared goals. Mindful decisions are made in a collaborative environment.
Coming in late 2023.