Method counts for a lot in the world of mining; choosing the right approach from the start of a project can make a huge difference down the line. Careful and insightful engineering is how the complex issues of underground construction are solved. Capable operations are how the solutions are delivered. When DMC is contracted for underground construction, we usually follow the design-build methodology, which ensures we tackle the project effectively from end to end.
The design-build project delivery system is relatively common in the mining industry, especially for underground construction projects. It’s a common approach because it ensures the same contractor is responsible for engineering and construction, plus it emphasizes making the most efficient choices in terms of design, materials and methodology from the start. When one contractor is responsible for the entirety of a project, it has a streamlining effect that introduces a high level of efficiency.
We choose design-build because it offers certain advantages, such as being the single point of delivery for both the design and construction phases of a project. This allows us to offer the full extent of our expertise throughout a project, from start to finish. Starting a project right, the design-build process takes into account what constraints a project will face, ensuring the right choices are made before work starts.
Design-build allows us to choose the best set of tools for complex projects, ensuring that the early and most critically important early phase engineering is done right, so that there are no delays or problems due to unsound approach. By starting with the right set of insights, a wide range of expensive errors can be avoided.
To be metaphorical: if you think of a complex construction project like building a ship in a bottle, the type of ship you build depends on the size and shape of the bottle. Design-build works out the constraints of logistics, geography, and existing infrastructure to ensure that the approach is optimized for those conditions. This starts the project on a successful trajectory and eliminates unknown variables.
When we engage in a project using the design-build methodology, all communications about the project are internal and between our engineering and operations teams. Since all parties are working under the DMC banner, there is a level of ownership and cooperation that can sometimes be missing from large projects with many layers of contractors and subcontractors. The idea of ownership is also important: with just our name on a project, both challenges and solutions are ours.
We believe there are certain factors that make us more effective and able to provide true value to a client project. Our biggest advantage comes down to our talent and experienced team members. We have been successful in retaining top talent in our industry, ensuring that experience and valuable knowledge stays within DMC. We always try to keep our teams and maintain core competence, because it’s impossible to ramp up to take on complex projects without in-house expertise.
Another strength we possess is our close relationships with suppliers and equipment manufacturers. These close relationships also presents an opportunity for us to use the best in materials and equipment. Our partners also know that we can return the favor by giving them very insightful, real world feedback.
Design-build allows to pursue our goal of end-to-end excellence throughout the projects we work on. By retaining our engineering teams we ensure that we can always deploy significant reserves of expertise at the start of a given project so that when work begins, we’re building on a solid foundation. The relationships we have built with suppliers and manufacturers allow us to cost projects more accurately, and ensure that the tools and material are optimized.
This project methodology allows us to take ownership – and pride – in the work we deliver and solutions we engineer. We are proud of the capabilities we possess and the work we can deliver. When our engineering and operations teams work side by side, they represent a significant amount of expertise that allow us to offer the best solutions. Ultimately, the design-build approach empowers us to continue building on our reputation for safe, timely and effective work.