Technology has created a dynamic landscape where construction tools, equipment, materials and systems are evolving faster than ever before. Every element is more complex. For instance, there are over one hundred decisions required to complete a single door opening. Businesses and services are changing as well. The result is a virtual minefield where clients are ill prepared to understand their costs and options, but are required to assume full responsibility nonetheless. Add the fact that a building investment may be the greatest risk they ever assume and the question becomes crystal clear: how can clients find confidence and ensure they are getting value for their investment?
In years past, designers spent many months and thousands of dollars creating documents so contractors could “competitively bid” projects. The theory was that competition among contractors would net them a “good deal” on the building price. When bids were over budget the client would pay again to revise the designs and reduce project scope until the project became affordable. Once bids were within budget the “low bidder” was awarded a contract to build the project. Whether that builder was the highest quality, most conscientious, most safe, most experienced, or most qualified had nothing to do with it, and often times the successful bidder was simply the “cheapest” bidder.
There are inherent problems with this approach. The builder is paid only what is in the documents. Benefits that could be realized from a master builder’s experience and talent are ignored and wasted, and there is no incentive for suggestions that might reduce the client’s costs or to include items that will benefit the client over the long term. It’s like having an uncle who is a master mechanic and leaving him home when you go shopping for a used car.