Key decisions on a construction project

A construction project can be divided into distinct phases. This blog reviews the key decision crunchpoints (see also my slideshare stages of a construction project).

From the Start

The project begins when a client considers she has a business need which may be met by developing new premises.

Action: Investigate whether the business need can be met through other alternatives; and research the client’s needs, priorities, user-requirements, constraints.

Decision-Point 1

Once the statement of business needs approved, the client needs to make a decision ‘in principle’ and commit to invest. The client does not at this stage commit to the whole project.

Action: Define the requirements of the project. Prepare conceptual designs, feasibility studies, a statement of business needs, employer’s requirements, specifications and detailed cost/design proposals. Produce final documents for use in tender process. Identify & analyse risks. Decide relative importance of  time, cost and quality.

Decision-Point 2

After tender evaluation, the client commits to construct. This is when the client authorises the project team to start the construction project. According to the 2012 NBS Survey, only 61% of projects have a contract signed before construction starts (and some 4% never get a contract signed).

Action: Careful management of the contractor and project team.

Decision-Point 3

After years of planning and months of work, the project is available for use. This may not be the same time as completion of the project.

Action: Undertake a structured de-brief to learn lessons for future projects.

…to Use & Disposal

This period involves occupation, defects rectification, use, maintenance, adaptation and, finally, disposal.

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