Jasmine Engineering making strides in new school projects

Jasmine Engineering breaks new ground on school projects

Written by Tricia Lynn Silva, Reporter/Project Coordinator. From the San Antonio Business Journal, Week of Feb. 7 – 13, 2014

Early College Rendering

One of the latest projects for locally based Jasmine Engineering could be key to teaching the construction industry a new way to use a familiar construction method.

The project is the Harlandale Independent School District’s (HISD) Early College High School (ECHS) campus — a 50,000-square-foot, $12 million development that is slated to be completed in 2015.

It is one of several projects Jasmine Engineering is doing for HISD. In every case, the firm is using the design/build approach. Serving as both project manager and commissioning agent, Jasmine will manage both from pre-planning and needs assessment to the post-construction and warranty phase of the new campus.

The design/build method highly encourages that an owner, like HISD, contracts with one firm, in this case Jasmine Engineering, that will oversee and monitor daily every aspect of the project — versus other methods that require the owner to prepare several contracts for the various players in the project, from the architect, to the engineers, to the general contractor.

The design/build method is not new to the construction industry, explains Jasmine Azima, founder and owner of Jasmine Engineering.

But it is new to Texas’ public school system.

“(Design/build) is not widely used in K-12 school construction,” notes Kirk Kistner, vice president of marketing and business development for locally based Bartlett Cocke General Contractors.

Azima, however, argues that the design/build method saves both time and money.

Under the process, the contractor, architect, engineer, owner and other stakeholders come together to come up with one set of plans that every player follows, explains Azima, who points to an earlier project with HISD.

The project involved building new band halls and new field houses at Harlandale and McCollum High School — a $13.2 million project that HISD planned to complete in one year. Using the design/build method, HISD was able to complete the buildings in 9 months, Azima says.

Jasmine Engineering also was able to save the school district $1.1 million. Gone was the need to hire different firms to oversee parts of the project, Azima says.

Should something go wrong on the project, there is no blame game. Jasmine Engineering takes responsibility for everything.

Both the Edgewood Independent School District and the Laredo Independent School District also have begun to utilize the design/build method, Kistner says.

It is Azima’s hope that as firms like Jasmine Engineering do more school projects under the design/build method, that other districts will follow HISD’s lead.

“Harlandale,” she says, “has set the example.”

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