Construction Management 101:
Cost vs Quality vs Speed
Construction projects live within a trichotomy of factors that are in a constant battle to be the top priority. Some mixture of cost, quality, and speed will be presented in every proposal for construction management. It always seems like you’re forced to choose two out of the three. If you want high quality and a fast deadline, you’re paying astronomical costs. If you want to manage the budget and get it done quickly, well, you get what you pay for. So if you’re sitting in your chair Googling “construction management companies near me”, this guide can help you make sense of your options.
How Cost Affects Construction
Let’s get this part out of the way. The best way to avoid sticker shock is to have a thorough scope of work. This gives the bidding companies a chance to provide a complete proposal which you can then compare “apples to apples”. It also saves you from unexpected costs on the final invoice because everything will be accounted and budgeted for ahead of time. The flip side of this is you need to evaluate proposals carefully and make sure everything in your scope of work is included in the proposal. Look for exclusions or “nickel an dime” items that might cost you extra – sometimes these can even be things that were in your scope of work. Read each proposal carefully to ensure your project starts out on the right path.
What Happens When Cost is the Sole Priority
The best way to describe the impact that each of these factors would have on a construction project is to take an exaggerated look and see what would happen if each one were the only priority. For cost, the simple fact of construction management is you get what you pay for. Lower prices mean a reduced hit on your wallet, but you’re going to make sacrifices in both quality and speed. Those sacrifices will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of future repairs and touch-ups as time goes on.
How Quality Affects Construction
It seems fairly obvious that higher quality construction management is better. But what does that actually mean? When we’re talking about quality in a construction management company, we’re looking at durability, attention to detail, and follow through. Projects should be built to last with the appropriate materials. Edges and corners should be flush and aligned properly throughout. The scope of work should be completed even if it requires return visits or rebuilds. You’re looking for a company that stakes its reputation on its work. As you review proposals, ask the companies for case studies and referrals so you can take those into consideration. Quality is how you determine the value you can expect for the money you’re spending.
What Happens When Quality is the Sole Priority
To evaluate the impact of quality on construction management, we again need to isolate it as if it were the only priority. Let’s assume a construction management bid process was focused only on producing a perfect project. Sure, the final product would be immaculate. But it will be late and immensely over-budget. It’s important to balance quality with the other factors so you end up with a well-built project that’s on-time and doesn’t drain the bank.
How Speed Affects Construction
There’s a sweet spot for speed in construction management. The project should keep moving forward so it can be finished on-time or even a bit early. But going too fast or too slow both cause their share of problems. The goal here is to set realistic deadlines and meet them, which is done by anticipating the next few steps in the project. If a project is being managed well, then the construction management company will have inspectors booked ahead of time and line up materials and labor for the next phase following inspection so they can move on as soon as they get approval. If there’s a delay caused by something that’s not in their control, they’re resolving that problem while simultaneously shifting the crew onto a different part of the project to keep it moving. Your construction management company should be constantly allocating resources as-needed to minimize downtime.
What Happens When Speed is the Sole Priority
As the saying goes, patience is a virtue. When all that matters is getting a project done quickly, it can have serious implications for quality and jobsite safety as well as cause budget bloat. Rush orders on materials, crews working under pressure, and cutting corners to save time might get a project “done” quickly, but it surely won’t be done right and it can have serious consequences if safety is being sacrificed.
For commercial facility services companies, having high-quality customer service can be the difference between a Facilities Manager’s peace of mind and hours of follow-up. Many vendors will say they’ve got a great customer service model, but fall short. Here are a few key ways to tell whether a vendor is truly committed to providing great service.
AAA Facility Services is a full-service construction management firm. Contact us today to learn more about our unique approach that balances cost, quality, and speed.