Managing the Development of Building Projects for Better Results

First published in 1981, updated for web presentation, Dec. 2000

Introduction | Principal Parties | Project Plan | Improving Performance
Project Life Cycle | Bar Chart Schedule | Manpower Loading Data
Information Explosion | Final Cost | Design Stages | Cost Effectiveness
Choices | Construction Costing | Value Management | Design Review
Cost of Building Ownership | Practice and Value Management | Summary

The Significance of Project Management during the Design Stages

For the reasons just noted, significant management effort must be applied to, and accepted by, the design team during the planning phases of the project, if satisfactory control is to be maintained. Similarly, undue re-examination or shifts in original scope must be avoided by the owner/sponsor if design development is to proceed efficiently and on schedule. Conversely, if this work does come in for significant revision it is clear that the project is not in fact ready to move forward into more detailed work. In this case, the project should be paused until the issues are properly sorted out.

Figure 6: Ability to Influence Final Cost [3]

It cannot be over emphasized how important it is to have a high caliber presentation of drawing, rendering and schematics for approval at the end of the Development phase. It is on this basis that the major investment decision will be made. If there are any doubts here, these will be greatly magnified during execution.

Far better to stop work and reconsider. It is not generally understood that it is far more difficult, and costly in design time, to make major changes to an existing design than it is to start from scratch. This is because of the added careful coordination required and the higher probability and danger of overlooking the impact on a related system.

During execution the contractor is certainly able to influence cost toward a favorable variance, but only to a much lesser extent. It is also common experience that cost saving or cost cutting efforts at this stage rarely return one hundred cents on the dollar. Aside from giving the contractor opportunities to improve profit margins, disruption, delay and possibly wasted effort and materials are genuine and legitimate offsets.

Ability to Influence the Final Cost  Ability to Influence the Final Cost

3.  Wideman, R. M., Cost Control of Capital Projects, BiTech Publishers, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Second Edition, 1995.

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