Cost vs. Speed

They say you can't have your cake and eat it too. In construction, sometimes you can push to keep costs down or your can push to complete the job quickly, but it is difficult to make both happen at the same time.

On the surface, one would think that any good team should be able to complete a project cheap AND quick. But what happens if meeting a big deadline is more important than trying to reduce the budget of the project? When speed trumps cost, it sometimes makes sense to use strategies such as:

1) Developing construction drawings as soon as possible. Lesser important design details are often not required for permit review and can be issued to the team in architectural bulletins.

2) Let availability drive materials selection. Material arrival times can be the difference between a project that makes the deadline and one that doesn't. On a typical project, the client would have the luxury to wait for the arrival of any essentially product that they choose. Projects with truncated schedules need to immediately rule skip to looking at quick ship products.

3) Sole source all vendors and contractors to avoid time intensive RFP and bid analysis processes. Typically on a fast-track project, the cost saved in the competitive bid process is far outweighed by the cost of taking the time to perform the exercise. Also, consider working with vendors who provide design-build or turn-key solutions.

4) Consider pre-fabricated components with to simplify. installation. While not a good fit on all projects, innovations in pre-fabricated building components have been shown to expedite schedules.

5) Perform overtime labor hours. While increasing labor resources to a project may seem like an obvious solution, clients often are quick to dismiss it as a strategy to achieve a fast-track schedule because the added costs associated. What clients fail to realize, is that labor has a huge impact on project schedule and that costs to add resources should be compared with the potential losses of a delayed completion.

While these strategies will sacrifice budget and quality goals, they can be useful in meeting a tight schedule demand. Sometimes making the sacrifice makes all of the difference.