A pair of experts offer a guide for the management and funding of construction projects.
This collaborative work from the team of Levine and Burns (Capital Projects and Healthcare Reform, 2015) expands from a couple of starkly simple opening assertions. “News articles are full of stories of monumentally botched schedules and budgets,” the authors write. “Even projects that are said to be on time and on budget often have scope and content significantly reduced from the original concept in order to meet those schedules and budgets.” As they observe, despite the best efforts of experts and advisory panels, virtually every building project is still plagued with the likelihood that it will be late, over budget, or scaled back from its original design. Drawing on the authors’ long experience in the industry, their new book provides a series of straightforward and useful ideas to fix this endemic problem, a process of evaluating projects rooted in evidence-based design. The process has multiple components (Levine and Burns stress throughout their succinct manual that seemingly simple answers to any of these issues are almost always useless and can be damaging), sharing the main theme of increasing the knowledge of the owners engaged in the projects. As the authors deftly point out, those owners should recognize the need to educate themselves rather than complacently relying on others; they should build an understanding of “the nuances of the planning-design-construction industry”; and of course they should prioritize communication at all levels and stages, breaking down the “silos” that tend to form when multiple groups are involved in any complicated, long-term project. The authors have devoted their careers to enterprises involving health care, but, as they note, all projects share general concerns with cost, schedules, and scope. All owners will benefit from the concentrated experience and wisdom delivered in these pages. The specific construction details will change from project to project, but the clear common sense advocated here is universal.
A concise, forceful, and entirely cleareyed program for getting the waste and disappointment out of the construction business.