Why Scope Reviews Can Significantly Impact a Construction Project’s Success
By Liam Fleming, Senior Project Manager (New York)
Imagine your organization is moving its headquarters to an exciting new space. You have worked with your architect on the design and awarded the project to a general contractor. The investment has been made, and your employees can’t wait for their new office space to be completed. When construction begins, everything seems to be going great – until it isn’t. Suddenly, because of unforeseen circumstances, what is being built looks nothing like the space initially discussed. Designs must be changed, and your construction schedule is delayed. Where did this disconnect happen, and how can it be prevented in the future?
To avoid this scenario, meticulous planning and coordination early in the construction process is essential to ensuring project success. However, navigating how to achieve such transparency and synergy can be a daunting task.
Clune implements a thorough scope review process when the pre-construction timeline allows to make this task more manageable. Broadly, scope reviews involve evaluating and fine-tuning the project’s scope, identifying potential risks or opportunities, and ensuring all stakeholders comprehensively understand the project’s requirements, schedule and design intent.
Embracing this best practice can contribute significantly to the success of a construction project by enabling a smoother and more cost-effective build-out.
Ensuring Accurate Pricing
The bidding process begins with preparing a detailed bid package that clearly outlines the specific scope items assigned to each trade. This clarity and specificity ensure that trade partners can provide reliable pricing that reflects the project’s requirements.
Clune then sources competitive pricing from three to five qualified subcontractors. Those with the most competitive bids are invited to participate in a scope review meeting for a more in-depth conversation about the project. Eliminating ambiguity and employing a stringent subcontractor selection process sets the stage for a thorough and well-informed discussion.
Achieving a Transparent and Collaborative Approach
Promoting transparency and collaboration among all project stakeholders is a key benefit of this process. Clune starts by inviting “A Trades” to the table. “A Trades” are typically HVAC, electrical, drywall and millwork subcontractors.
Along with subcontractors, architects, engineers and clients are also invited to participate. This inclusive approach allows for open communication, fosters understanding, and ensures everyone’s expectations align with the project requirements.
It is important to note that these reviews can be time-consuming; on average, they span two to three days to allow time to meet with each trade. This is a significant time investment; however, the time spent upfront can prevent schedule delays down the road.
Maximizing Efficiency and Minimizing Risks
Scope reviews enable project teams to delve deep into the scope sheets and thoroughly analyze all aspects of the project. These discussions include schedule, logistics, safety considerations, material purchasing, and lead times. By involving trade partners and key stakeholders in the review process, potential issues, discrepancies, or gaps in the scope can be identified early on.
For example, during a Clune scope review process of a large 12-story build-out, it became apparent that reusing the existing perimeter soffit would not be feasible, necessitating their replacement with new ones. This crucial discovery prevented significant cost overruns and schedule delays that could have occurred if the issue had been addressed only after starting construction. Scope reviews provide a platform for addressing such pitfalls and ensuring proactive risk management.
Identifying Value Engineering Propositions
Clune recognizes the importance of cost optimization without compromising design intent. Hence, scope reviews provide an opportunity to explore potential value engineering options. By brainstorming with trade partners and seeking their input, the team can identify alternatives that reduce costs while preserving the project’s design integrity. This proactive approach ensures that cost-saving measures are integrated into the project from the early stages and with designer input, resulting in a more streamlined and cost-effective construction process.
Uncovering Hidden Opportunities and Avoiding Past Mistakes
The involvement of multiple trade partners in the scope review process brings a diverse range of experiences and expertise to the table. Different perspectives can uncover hidden opportunities and innovative solutions that may have been initially overlooked. Trade partners may suggest alternative approaches that enhance project efficiency, quality, or cost-effectiveness.
An example of this was illustrated a few years ago on a Clune project that involved a complex roof installation. In a scope review meeting, a subcontractor suggested a solution outside of the determined phasing plan proposed by the client. Clune agreed that the subcontractor’s plan for installation was more efficient, they were awarded the job, and the project benefitted from a shortened construction schedule.
Client Satisfaction and Relationship Building
Scope reviews foster transparency and trust between the project team and the client. By involving the client’s representatives in the review process, they gain visibility into the project’s intricacies, allowing them to voice concerns, provide feedback, and address any unresolved issues from previous projects. This transparency ensures that the client’s expectations align, minimizing the chances of dissatisfaction and promoting long-term client satisfaction.
Clune’s methodical and purposeful approach to conducting scope reviews highlights their importance in the construction process. Through comprehensive bid packages, transparent collaboration, and detailed discussions, scope reviews promote accurate pricing, transparency, and risk mitigation. Additionally, these reviews allow for the exploration of value engineering options and the identification of unforeseen challenges. Adopting this transparent approach can substantially impact project success and facilitate a more seamless construction process.