Sylvia, the director of construction for the local K-12 school district, always prides herself on having answers when questions are asked. Especially when those questions come from the school board or from a concerned parent or community member.
It wasn’t always like that. In fact, early on her role as director, she faced a series of questions about an elementary school construction project that was going way over budget and was not going to be opened on time.
“Why is this project off schedule?”
“Why is this project coming in 5% higher than we were told it would be?”
“How did this happen?”
“Whose in charge?”
Sylvia still remembers that uneasy feeling of rapid fire questions and that sense of helplessness because she could offer no real answers. She hated having to say, “I’ll have to check with the contract or architect and get back with you on that” but that was the only answer she could give.
The bottom line, her project had gotten off track because she lacked the visibility and tracking necessary to ask her own questions of the construction team. Missed deadlines, delayed responses to RFIs and Submittals, a total breakdown of communication were all giant red flags that she and her project managers missed – mainly because they didn’t have the visibility to the information to see the issues before they became real problems.
Sylvia and her school district faced a situation that many school districts around the country face when they abdicate the management of a project to contractors, architects and consultants. Problems that should be address head on somehow magically get swept under the carpet until they become so big there isn’t a carpet big enough to cover them up. That’s when things get really upsetting and heads start to roll.
Most school districts assume that they can trust the partners they’ve hired to deliver their projects on budget and on time. To be fair, no one sets out to intentionally miss those targets but as they say in the construction world, “sh** happens and that’s why they invented change orders.”
School district leaders for years have never thought of themselves as the owner of a construction project but that’s exactly what they are. They are 100% responsible for ensuring that their renovation and new construction projects are developed within the budget and the schedule that is promised. That means they need take back control and play the role of owner at every stage of their construction project.
In Sylvia’s case, the issues were kept from her until there were so many problems that hiding them was no longer possible. The delays and budget overruns were inevitable and the stakeholders could no longer sugarcoat the inevitable; her project was woefully off track.
Access to real-time information and data would have likely helped Sylvia and her project managers ask more questions, demand more concrete answers and facilitate better meetings which would have eliminated the siloed approach that was ruining her project. The problem Sylvia had was she was dependent on the information and software tools of all the other stakeholders, none of which she could access, none of which she understood and none of which was designed to tell her when and if the project was going off the rails.
She swore she would never go through that again. She would never allow a construction project, no matter the size, to be managed by anything but through her own “owner-focused” software. A “single source of truth” for she and her team to manage all the project data, all the requests for budget changes and a straightforward communication platform for every contractor, subcontractor, architect and consultant to use to formally document their information and engage with one another.
No longer would Sylvia’s school district rely on the tools of others to get her projects done on time and on budget. She would rely on her own tools and make it a contractural requirement that anyone working on her district’s construction projects would use her tools as well.
The only way to overcome the anxiety of the questions that are asked about your construction project is to have a place to get the answers. A simple but powerful project management software like Owner Insite can help. Designed with school districts, universities, healthcare facilities and real estate owners in mind, Owner Insite helps provide a repeatable process and approach to insure critical project data is documented and answers are accessible when the inevitable questions arise. The first and only owner-focused construction platform designed to give back control and visibility to the owner, Owner Insite helps people like Sylvia and construction teams around the globe do a better job answering questions and delivering successful project outcomes.
Be like Sylvia and use Owner Insite to overcome your question anxiety and deliver more successful project outcomes.