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The Best Ways to Reduce Project Overages

In a design and construction project, fee overages can derail progress and completion, cause frustrations across the board, and ruin business relationships. WLC is dedicated to ensuring this happens as little as possible for our clients and ourselves. Together, a firm and project owner can implement a number of processes to reduce overages and help ensure the project stays on budget and on schedule.

Define and agree to a comprehensive and accurate project scope.

The easiest and most important way to reduce overages is to ensure you have a detailed project scope that has been agreed to by all parties. When negotiating the scope, it’s important to do your best to anticipate comprehensiveness of the project, potential delays, additional needs, and the time it will take to complete.  WLC clearly outlines the project and includes all services and materials in our scope and estimate. As an owner, you mustclearly articulate your needs and wants and be diligent when reviewing the project scope, schedule, and budget. Speak up if there’s an area you don’t understand or an additional service you’d like added before the contract is initiated. Be aware and understanding that if additional requests are made during the project, the scope will change as well as the fees. Additions to the scope after services begin as well as schedule extensions are often the culprit of project overages.

Monitor the project closely.

Rather than dealing with problems once they occur, it’s better to head them off before they extend the timeline and budget. WLC appoints an experienced project manager who knows the scope of the project well and can ensure everyone is on track, tasks are being accomplished, and the schedule and budget are being followed. WLC adheres to the idea that being proactive is always better than being reactive when it comes to reducing overages. As an owner, be sure you’re also well-informed, getting your promised status updates and understand how the project is progressing and if the schedule and budget are on track. Don’t be afraid to ask for updates and communicate any concerns you have.

Communicate clearly and honestly.

Sometimes, despite both party’s best efforts, projects are met with unexpected delays and/or changes. Whether there’s a problem beyond our control or there’s a need to add to the scope, WLC will always communicate clearly and honestly and address the issue right away. Reducing overages is about clear expectations (as mentioned above). As the owner, you can also speak up if needed so everyone is aware and on the same page; especially if the budget will be affected.  Similarly, if a mistake was made, it’s critical to be honest and address it immediately so the rest of the project doesn’t suffer significantly. As an owner, if you decide you need an addition to the project or you’re unhappy with a completed task, it’s important to address the issue early and with complete clarity. You wouldn’t want the issue ignored or repeated, and if a request requires a scope change, you want to ensure it’s clear what you want accomplished.

Learn from past projects.

Every completed project offers opportunity to improve. As an owner, if you’ve completed a project before, make sure you take time to debrief your past experiences with all team members involved.  Encourage everyone to speak honestly about how the project went from their perspective, what worked and what didn’t, plus ideas for potential improvement. WLC organizes internal debriefs with our team as well so we can ensure that if mistakes were made on our end, we mitigate them on the next project.  We discuss what went well on the project and what could be improved, as each project is a learning opportunity.  As suggested above, provide your feedback to the firm directly, so you can continue your partnership.

WLC is a firm believer in reducing overages as much as possible. Thus, you can count on our firm to define and agree to a comprehensive and accurate project scope, monitor the project closely, always communicate clearly and honestly, and learn from each completed project. Find out more about how we do business and contact us for your next project.