Why most projects are problematic

Top of the market residential construction projects are very complex endeavors. Despite the best intentions of many competent and honest people, these projects end up costing significantly more and taking much longer than they need to. Value, time and lots of money (often millions of dollars) are lost due to the inadequacies of the typical triangular relationship of the client-architect-builder.

Clients need someone to manage their quality-cost-schedule objectives. They don’t have the time and/or “know how” to effectively manage the entire project, and are often unclear about their desires and budgetary boundaries. Untimely decision-making contributes enormously to budget and schedule overruns. Lack of trust in the designer and builder, which typically takes months and months to establish, leads to all kinds of worry, less than optimal communication, inefficiencies, and many other potential distractions. Clients are often left wondering if they really got the value they paid for.

Architects tend to be inefficient in the sharing of the many complex and interrelated facets of a project, and often are not very effective at managing builders, construction contracts and the multitude of scope and material changes that typically occur. Insufficient coordination of even one project consultant, and there are many, negatively impacts budget and schedule. Architects often scramble to provide design details “just-in time” to meet the demands of builders while allowing their clients sufficient time to make critical decisions and selections.

Interior Designers fit into the design corner but tend to remain at least one step out of the typical client-architect-builder triangle, which often negatively impacts schedule, budget, transfer of assumptions, coordination, and efficiency.

Builders lose money when projects are not planned and developed efficiently but they usually don’t know how to be proactive and cost-innovative in the project development phase or effective managers of ever-changing project scopes. They often become adversarial when their reactive role backs them into a corner (lack of appropriate planning time, overoptimistic budgets and schedules, borderline subcontractors). Sometimes project dynamics even reward inefficiency.

Actually, all the parties find that some of their needs get squashed in the corners of this triangle relationship.

Typical project issues:

  • Unclear initial budgets and project goals

  • Insufficient pre-project planning

  • Incomplete architectural and engineering plans

  • Vague and/or inaccurate cost estimates and job schedules

  • Inadequate project architects, project managers/superintendents, subcontractors, specified suppliers

  • Lack of thorough coordination and management of the various parties and their consultants / subcontractors

  • Ineffective or untimely decision-making

  • Poor transfer of assumptions

  • Weak links in the design and/or construction team

  • Adversarial relationships or insufficient trust between the parties