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The High Cost of “Great” Design

September 18th, 2009

Buildings that look the most aesthetically pleasing or are one-of-a-kind in design often receive awards and prizes of distinction. While the design may be very attractive to outside viewers, you need to ask yourself the most important question: Will the facility design proactively work to enhance process and drive down costs? Will the facility work with your other facilities to provide the same benefits? Prison operators miss huge cost saving opportunities when they build “unique” facilities for each location or community.

Contrary to the design objectives of individual architects, one of the most effective cost-reduction construction strategies is to create a modular facility design that can be repeated in virtually any location with a few simple customizable “plug and play” components.

The benefits of utilizing a standardized design include:

  • The ability for staff to move from facility to facility with minimal training and ease: The National Institute for Corrections (NICIC) reported that when direct supervision was introduced in the 80s, most correctional officers had at least initial adjustment problems. Even though direct supervision was proven to be safer, with fear at the root, officers were not trained in how to be in direct and solo contact with prisoners. Creating consistency within prison systems, will allow for easy facility transfers and standard training.
  • Promotes efficient operations in multi-plant businesses
  • Solidifies branding impact: As a business, private prisons need to brand their services and appearance in order to be recognized by both investors and clients.
  • Reduces upfront construction costs: When using a proven facility model, the cost of designing is significantly reduced as only minor tweaks to the standard need to be made.
  • Expedited construction, move-in and start-up dates: A standardized design will be repeated. After the first of its kind is built, the construction team, already having had experience with it and the materials, can move more quickly to build the facility.
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mwentworth Uncategorized

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