Risk can never be removed completely, but it can be reduced. That’s true in normal operations and remains so during disaster recovery. However, in the aftermath of a major event, most people become increasingly risk averse, just when they are called upon to make crucial decisions in an uncertain environment.
Rapid cost increase was one of the biggest concerns in Canterbury’s recovery environment. At one point, extreme projections suggested that every month of delay would result in an additional $1 million cost to the project.
Running a major building programme is not part of the skillset required for most university management teams. But programme success requires an informed client that can contribute as part of the project team.
Good University Councils run successful academic institutions, not major capital works programmes. But, during disaster recovery, they are suddenly asked to behave like a property owner, managing a construction portfolio well beyond the dollar value of many commercial operations.
The key message here is that a capital works programme cannot in and of itself drive business change.
The goal of value engineering is to reduce the cost of design solutions without sacrificing the functionality of the end result. But the value of a building is not limited to the construction phase. Value engineering decisions also need to balance the benefits and costs that are likely to accrue across the whole life of the asset.
A building that is delivered to specification, budget and timeline might satisfy many of the quality requirements of the project team, but its functional quality can only be judged once the building is operational.
The goal of commissioning is to ensure that a building and its components function as intended from day one. Effective commissioning minimises contractor callbacks to make good non-conforming elements, and reduces the operational costs associated with managing that process.
Contractor and consultant performance are typically managed through contractual conditions. But the disaster recovery market held some nasty surprises for us which meant things didn’t play out so neatly.
End users should contribute to the design process. This allows specialist requirements to be incorporated and improves end user ownership of the completed building. However, end users are not building experts, so the architect should take the lead on this process.