Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions and Maddex has answers: it's a big part of what he does. If you can describe your project he can estimate the cost and determine how long it will take, as well as ascertaining the risk that it entails. The most common questions in the field of construction cost and scheduling are posed and answered below.
Why do so many projects over-run the established budget?
This is the toughest question of them all. The answer is most often a poor understanding of risk. An effort involving construction of the built environment is generally a complex undertaking. Risk is the most prevalent yet least understood aspect of the construction process. Mis-allocation of the risks inherent in any project can not be ignored and ignorance of risk is often the culprit. Understand the risks and allocate them appropriately.
What is the best method of delivery for my construction project?
A simple test is to determine three key considerations that only you can answer: What is more important to the success of your project?; time? or cost? And, how will the inherent risks in the project be dealt with? Answers to these queries will lead to the right combination of engineering and constructive effort and guide your decision of contract type. Your delivery methods depend on your priorities. Get expert input to get this right.
What should it cost to prepare a comprehensive controls paradigm?
The cost to produce an estimate is a fraction of a percent of the cost on large complex projects. For smaller projects it may even be "free". As in "free estimates". Paying to have an estimate prepared is entirely dependent upon its use. For bankable investment grade construction projects it will depend upon many factors such as, degree of accuracy expected, length of time available to produce the estimate, and most importantly the sophistication of the intended recipients. Estimates are worth what you pay for them. The next step in managing the project is as important and continues through the life of the design and construction process.
How do I guarantee the results of an estimate or schedule?
Control starts with an estimate and then it is all about the contract. Variants of contract type will shift the risks between the parties. Each party to the contract have very specific roles, responsibilities and rights that are embodied within that document. Draft a contract that sets the guarantee and level of risk within your comfort zone. There are many tools available to monitor and manage, guarantees are found in the contract. That's the plan. Plan the work - and work the plan.
Plan the work and work the plan. But what about changes?
The key to success on a large complex project lies in the ability to monitor progress or lack thereof. A departure from the intended plan is not fatal. Changes are almost inevitable. Change management affords recovery after a deviation from the intended outcome once identified. Once the difference is recognized - fear not! reconfigure the plan and work it. This should not be done haphazardly and only after the root causes are understood accurately should revision be made and then its back to working the plan-albeit revised.
When should I start the cost control/estimating process?
This is the simplest question to answer and the most immediate response is...now. As soon as you can conceptualize the "what" of the project all of the rest of the pieces can be configured. For example a basic description of geometry is a prerequisite to any portion of the built environment. That physical description can be coupled with an expectation of use and the conceptual estimating process may begin. The estimate can be performed immediately with updates as the concept moves toward more detailed inputs. Finally the estimating process only takes a short rest as project gets underway and change management procedures require a re-visit to the estimate to create a control budget. From time to time revisions will require additional inputs of estimating to ascertain the affect to the overall cost and time. So in essence - the estimating process is never really done until the project is closed out. And remember the only thing constant is change.