Unforeseen Conditions Could Destroy Your Next Project
Moldy flex duct. Buried waste pipes. Decades old aluminum wiring with frayed cloth sheathing. A leaking oil tank buried in the front yard that no one knew existed. Structural beams chopped and abused throughout the history of the house by tradesmen forcing chiseled routes for their new pipes and ductwork.
Any of this sound familiar to you?
Discovering unforeseen conditions can be one of those events that tip the balance of an architectural project, causing it to spiral out of control into a flaming pile of budget over runs and angry hurt feelings. If not properly managed, unforeseen conditions can destroy the relationships among every party involved in a project.
As residential architects, my team and I uncover unforeseen conditions on every project… and that is the key to success when managing these situations.
It Happens on Every Project
Unforeseen conditions are there, we just can’t see them. We find things that we don’t expect to find. Structure is missing where we did expect it to be. Original products and materials have lived beyond their useful life and need to be replaced. Every project we design includes a “major crisis” that must be managed… Every project!
Although a “crisis” will occur, the disruption to our project is minimal, because we set clear expectations that “we will experience a major crisis somewhere along the process of constructing your project.” We make it part of the process as well as part of the budget. We recommend that every project budget include a 5% to 10% contingency fund that “will be spent on addressing these issues that we don’t know about yet.”
The contingency fund is not presented as money that will be used in case of an emergency. It’s presented that the emergency will occur and we are preparing for it. It’s not money that may be spent. It’s money that WILL be spent.
The mindset of our client matters throughout the project.
We remind our clients that we are experienced in managing these situations and with proper planning, the pain will be reduced to a simple “hiccup”… and everyone will be left smiling at the end of a project.
Much of the success of any project is created by the careful words we use and the realistic expectations that we set as architects.
Question: Have you experienced any “unforeseen horror stories”?
Share your story in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / sa2324