The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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How to Prevent a Failed Construction Project

Reference Number: MTAS-598
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 10, 2016
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SCORE members believe that projects can be improved by enhancing the administrative skills of project owners, that is, the city or utility. The administrative board, whether the mayor and board of aldermen or a utility board, must take full responsibility for the success or failure of the construction project.

If you were building a house, you would not hire an architect or contractor, tell him to “build me a house” and then leave on an extended vacation. You would carefully plan and discuss what you wanted and what it would look like. Plans would be chosen carefully or drawn to satisfy your needs and desires. Fixtures and equipment would be discussed and chosen based upon the needs and desires of those using them. Colors and finish details would be specified. Finally, the cost of the project would have to match your available resources. These decisions would be finalized after much discussion between you — the owner — and your builder and/or architect. As the owner, you know what you want the house to be, and the professionals know how to make it happen. By working together using everyone’s expertise, you can get the best project at the most economical price.

Likewise, in a utility construction project, the owners must work carefully with others to have a successful project. Above all, owner participation is required (Sweeney), and a partnering relationship” is essential for success and savings (A. Smith, D. Smith).

Responsible: