Study participants emphasized the importance of the YMCAs role in the preconstruction/construction process. In many cases, the YMCA was viewed as a valuable resource due to our extensive background in constructing highly functional recreation facilities.
While YMCAs often utilize philanthropic and historical relationships to their benefit when constructing an independently-funded facility, the procurement requirements associated with the use of public funds may not allow for this in a partnership arrangement. Approved construction delivery methods for municipalities vary from state-to-state (i.e., construction management at risk, construction agent, design build, sealed bid proposal, etc.). Understanding the benefits and limitations of each method and applying them to your specific project will increase the YMCA’s value throughout the process.
Third Party Consultants
Study participants emphasized the value of utilizing third party construction expertise to guide the design and construction development processes, value engineering, etc. When YMCAs are constructing projects independently, it is commonplace to utilize third-party construction consultants as a resource for maximizing the value of the project for the dollars spent. Often these third-party consultants are part of YMCA boards and committees and may provide these services on an in-kind basis. However, if in-kind services are not available, the YMCA will find a way to fund these services because the value of professional insight is universally recognized in our industry, which has a long history of facility management.
Another guiding principle used by YMCAs throughout the predevelopment/construction process is market research. This information is not shelved once initial need is verified. It
becomes road map to the final destination. Participants of this study noted the importance of revisiting initial market research because it is an excellent way to remind each partner of the relevance of the data and to demonstrate that this research informs the process from beginning to end. It is important to remember that the partnership development process may take several years. It is also very dynamic by nature. Many different individuals representing each partner may move in and out of the process at various times of the development journey. The timing of each participant may limit their understanding of the rationale for decisions based on market research findings and contractual agreements. Taking the time to educate all partner representatives throughout the process will maintain synergy.
Concern was expressed among participant CEOs who inherited partnership projects where the market research recommendations did not match the ultimate facility components. Unanimously, these respondents recommended a staunch adherence to the market research recommendations, which provide a reliable foundation for future operating performance expectations. While the use of third-party construction expertise and market research is central to the YMCA’s pre-development/construction process, they may not be included in the municipality’s procurement plans and funding allowance. In this instance, many of the study participants funded these costs through the YMCA due to the significance of their value.