What is “Archistruction®?”

by David Neenan

When David Neenan started the company, we were builders only.  Our clients kept asking why we only took responsibility for our piece of the pie.  “Why don’t you do it all so I don’t get stuck with the segment that flies off the wheel,” they said.  We responded by taking responsibility for all aspects of a project and we call it Archistruction®.  Neenan has been at it for over 35 years and we stand behind our work like none other.

Archistruction is a term we coined at The Neenan Company in the 1980s.  It describes our innovative and collaborative approach to building large-scale projects. The process integrates all disciplines involved in delivering a project, starting with the client, including architects, project managers, estimators, and other principal disciplines.  This collaboration protects the interest of the client by saving money and adding value.  It ensures that all stakeholders’ expectations are met.

There are four basic tenets to our archistruction® process:

  • Get together – Teams are organized to include experts in design, pre-construction and estimating to maximize collaboration from the start of the project.
  • Think together – Team members bring their expertise to the process to examine options that will add value to the end result.
  • Plan together – The members must be willing to be challenged and willing to challenge others.
  • Work together – Each team member must be flexible and willing to perform tasks that aren’t necessarily part of his or her job description to get the work done.

We used our Archistruction® process most recently to design and build the $18.5 million Powerhouse Energy Institute for Colorado State University. By bringing in everyone with a stake in the job – consultants, city officials, finance people, interior designers and architects – we were able to collectively, precisely determine the goals for the project.

This approach ensured that people designing the project weren’t sent back to the drawing board, which could have added months to the project timeline. We estimate that our archistruction approach let us complete the Powerhouse project in half the time and at about half the cost of what it would have been using traditional methods.

We have been using the archistruction process for over 35 years, and our experience shows that a single integrated team is the most effective way to realize a client’s objectives, one team, championing streamlined communication, detailed preparation, and cooperative innovation, from budget to brainstorm to build. Minimizing complexity and accepting responsibility, Archistruction means accountability, opportunity and community, all under one roof, all focused on the same thing: creating a shared experience that can set the example for a community.  After all, it is never the structure itself but what the structure enables.  This is the true test of success.