• Arent van Wassenaer

Ten Commandments for Successful Construction Projects

The conception of the Practical Guide to Successful Construction Projects is nearing its close. The idea is to include, at the end of the book, an overview of the 10 most important lessons from the book.

Work in Progress, but this is coming very close to what it looks like:

  1. USE CLEAR AND ALIGNED OBJECTIVES BASED ON THE MANTRA - Every project should be conceived based on objectives which take into account the relevant interests from the various internal and external stakeholders and the context in which the project will be built and operated. These project objectives should be balanced and aligned, and should be based on the Mantra, which implies that the project should be completed within the available time, within the business cases and budgets available for the respective participants, such that it delivers the required outputs and performs as expected (or better), while it meets the approval of all relevant stakeholders (and makes them even happy), without any (serious) dispute

  2. PREPARE YOUR PROJECT WELL - Project preparation by the owner should include the compilation of a sufficient level of data to prepare a business case within reasonable margins of accuracy. Project preparation should be subject of reviews – gateways – which should be conducted independently from the project team.

  3. PROCURE AND TENDER WISELY - As an owner, devise a contracting strategy which will get you a contractor who is capable to achieve project success for you; and as a contractor, make sure you submit a bid which enables you to achieve such project success.

  4. DRAFT YOUR CONTRACT WISELY - Whatever project delivery is chosen, make sure the contract is consistent with the project’s objectives, is consistent in itself, is understandable for all participants, and is, as much as possible, based on proven legal and contractual concepts.

  5. PROJECT BUDGET SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO ALLOW FOR ALL COSTS TO BE SPENT - The project budget should allow the consultants and contractors to earn a fair reward in return for the provision of their services, including a cover for corporate and site overheads and a reward for the assumption of risk which is befitting to the project delivery model, the type of contract and the pricing model chosen.

  6. RISK ALLOCATION SHOULD BE FAIR AND MANAGEABLE - Whatever delivery model will be chosen, the contractual allotment of tasks and responsibilities in mitigating risks, and the assumption of residual risk, should be such that no party – but the owner – will be responsible for dealing with risks which are outside his span of control and which depend on the occurrence of external events, whereas the parties should concede that risk management is the most relevant process in successfully executing the project.

  7. A JOINTLY MAINTAINED DYNAMIC RISK REGISTER IS KEY TO SUCCESS - In managing the project, the parties should jointly develop, maintain, periodically update and jointly discuss a Risk Register, which includes the top priority project risks, with all the information required in order to monitor the mitigation of such risks by the respective parties.

  8. DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIONAL PROCESSES IS ESSENTIAL: BUILDING REQUIRES SOFT SKILLS - Whatever project delivery model will be chosen, the parties should invest in the development of relational communication processes which enable them to understand each other, to be collaborative, to close the gaps of expectation, and to avoid disputes escalating to a level in which they cannot be resolved by themselves, based on the drivers of the project such as mutual trust, respect and transparency.

  9. TEAM BUILDING IS KEY TO SUCCESS - The parties should build their teams on the basis of their desire to achieve project success and shall invest in (a) developing and fostering the skillsets and competencies required, (b) building a highly motivated team, which (c) as much as possible shall work together to achieve the project’s objectives, according to (d) a joint and negotiated culture, whereas (e) diversity is very important.

  10. MONITOR PERFORMANCE ON A JOINT DAHBOARD - In managing the project, the parties should jointly develop, maintain, periodically update and jointly discuss a dashboard which includes the performance on a the most important performance indicators (KPIs), which KPIs should be in line with the project objectives, including all information required to monitor progress on the relevant KPI.

Any thoughts?

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