“The road to success is always under construction,” according to Arnold Palmer, and John Wooden famously said, "Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be.” Success and failure are two outcomes that often aren’t black and white in the construction world.
Like most things in life, a project has many components, structures, players, and dynamics. Ask someone involved in construction if their last project was a success or failure, and you are likely to end up with a pretty gray answer. A project that is a 100% fail or 100% success is very rare.
Every project has its ups and downs (so do elevator companies, by the way), but, as we shared in our last post, there are a variety of reasons a construction project can ultimately fail. Similarly, a successful project will be made successful by a myriad of focused efforts. This week, we dive into six reasons a construction project succeeds.
1. Completed on Time and Within Budget
These are the obvious ones that don’t require a lot of explanation. It is an uphill battle to consider a project a win if it is not delivered when the owner needs it or as defined in a contract or if the project exceeds either the owner’s or contractor’s budget. But, in most stakeholder’s eyes, being on time and within budget are the first measuring sticks of success.
2. All Stakeholders are Considered
Every project has many stakeholders: owner, contractor, design team, management team, consultants, subcontractors, the community, neighboring residents and businesses, staff, investors, and more. Throughout the life of a project, each of these stakeholders may have competing desires and demands with the others.
The design team has a vision, but does it fit the owner’s budget? The contractor needs time and money, but does the owner need the project delivered fast and under budget? Will the community, neighbors, and nearby businesses feel a negative impact due to the proximity of the construction? These and many others can jeopardize the success of a project.
A successful project is one in which all stakeholders’ wants and needs are weighed and addressed through open dialogue. Partnering together in commitment, trust, respect, communication, and equality is a critical success factor. Compromises are a given, but a project can find value and success for everyone when its team considers all parties.
3. Safety First
Yeah, it’s the third point in the list, but the mantra “Safety First” is crucial for a successful construction project. A contractor can do everything right regarding schedule and budget, but a major accident or tragic fatality quickly derails the success train. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% (1,061) of worker fatalities in private industry in 2019 were in construction. This reality most significantly affects the families and loves ones; in their view, the project is 100% a disaster. Accidents and death may also have ramifications for the general contractor or company that employed the worker.
A project can be successful when the entire team prioritizes the safety of its workers and ensures each person returns home at the end of the day. Technology is one of the tools available to make safety a top priority and maintain a positive safety record.
4. The Three Cs of Construction
Remember these from last time? They’re worth repeating. The three Cs of construction are: Communicate, communicate, communicate! A project can only be successful when all stakeholders, especially the owner, architect, and contractor, are in constant, effective communication.
Numerous tools are making communication in construction easier in every respect. Phone calls and emails are tried and true. Project management software such as Procore, Fieldwire, and Newforma, provides all-in-one platforms to effectively communicate during all phases of a project. With the vast technology at our fingertips, communication is more accessible than ever.
5. Permitting is Not the Focus
Permitting is not the focus? That seems a bit odd when we’re talking about success in construction, but a project completed on time typically takes place when permitting and other requirements by authorities having jurisdiction are not at the forefront during construction. Project managers and superintendents need to focus on building the building or site. Being held up due to lacking proper permits only slows the project down and hinders its success.
This means that for a project achieve success, permitting is prioritized ahead of time. AHJs are provided the proper time to review, approve, and issue permit documents before construction begins. Whoever is responsible for attaining permits needs to be aware of the AHJ’s timeline for review, submitting all required documents promptly.
6. Profit in Relationships
Profit is primarily measured in dollars and cents. Everyone wants the lowest cost and most profit, and, as we’ve already seen, a project that is successful is one that stays within budget. While dollars are easy to quantify and businesses spend countless hours on budgets, accounting for the value of relationships is a significant part of a successful construction project.
Contractors who prove reliable, honest, and efficient with a client will likely gain a foothold in the door of the client’s future projects. Communities who feel engaged in the construction process can impact future work, especially if taxpayer dollars are funding the project. Design teams with a positive experience with an owner and contractor will remember that experience and look forward to the next one.
There will always be a focus on how a construction team utilizes its money and resources, but the relationships built during a project can lead to success, even if the profit margin is smaller than desired.
Construction success is multi-faceted. There are countless metrics in measuring a project’s success, and there are just as many parts and pieces that form a profitable and valuable project. CDO Group has been the industry leader in providing successful corporate construction development and project management services since 1998. Contact us today to begin exploring your next successful project!
September 23rd, 2021 |