Understanding the Three Essentials of a Successful Build Project: Quality, Cost and Size
Jun 3, 2024
Ron Dick, Partner, Senior Architect

There are many factors that go into a successful project, so where do you begin? 

Most clients want to consider quality, cost and size when starting a project. They might say, “I have $1 million to spend, I want to build a 10,000 square-foot building, and I want it to be a really high level of finish and quality.” Oftentimes, those initial goals don’t align with each other. But if they can provide two of the criteria, we can help define the third. 

We’ve already established the vision and big-picture goals for the project. We’ve come to a pretty good idea of square footage, and we’ve been given a budget for construction that we need to work within. At this point, it’s important to make sure that all those things are aligned and work together. Sometimes clients are hesitant to share some of these criteria. However, the earlier we know, the better we can help ensure project goals are compatible with each other.

We’re working as a partner through the process and the budget is an important piece of the solution. There are times when the goals of the project need to be realigned, and our job is to be honest when that’s the case — even if that means having a difficult conversation. At the end of the day, we’re trying to deliver a successful project that checks all the boxes; we don’t set anyone up for success if we avoid conversations about size, budget and quality early on.

An owner should be able to look to their architect to advise on budget and cost. If you have the right partner, they’re going to help guide you through that in a good way. Establish those expectations early and make sure to check the budget often. A chief cost estimator on staff can help clients through the process, and also help educate and inform the design teams. That way everyone is aware of the decisions made and the impacts on budget. The biggest thing, though, is to make sure that discussion happens early – understand the budget you have and make sure it is aligned with quality, size and other project goals.

Stay tuned for our next conversation on how contingency planning can save your build project! 

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