Everyone is working to make construction better. That is the problem. The focus is on construction. Yet the greatest opportunity to affect project outcomes exists before construction starts.
At the Associated General Contractors (AGC) 2022 national convention, I presented this idea with Charlie Dunn, DPR Construction, and my colleague, Steve Gantner. Even the audience volunteered to help demonstrate the point.
Construction represents the 10% opportunity usually with the greatest cost to improve project outcomes. Everything beforehand is the 90% opportunity with the least cost while still in design. Working together design and construction teams can explore, price, and thoroughly analyze options before committing to drawing. Optimal solutions result from collectively making informed decisions based on written documentation. Yes, written documentation!
As specifier, I can describe building systems in a sentence, a sentence estimators can price without detailed drawings. What is more, the owners, lenders, and insurers understand these simple system descriptions that convey design intent. Communication is simplified. Understanding is improved. Consensus decisions are achieved. And reusable data is collected to inform future projects.
Measure twice, cut once. Price twice, document once.
Like the carpenter making certain his first cut is the right cut, specifications enable estimators to confirm design decisions meet the project budget. If not within budget, the owner can decide to adjust the project requirements or the project budget, or both. Then the consensus solution can be drawn once, with confidence that it is the right solution - No VE, no RFI, no rework. Why? Team consensus!
First, the project specifiers were ushered to the far corner of the room, separated from the rest of the team despite the plea, "We can help!" Now listen to how Charlie Dunn wraps up the presentation.