Top Tips for Successfully Delivering a Building Project

In this series of mini articles, Julian Record looks closely at his Top Tips for successfully delivering a building project.

But first, why do projects fail?

The reasons for the failure of building projects are often widely reported following such high-profile failures as the Scottish Parliament and Wembley stadium yet for many the reasons still remain an enigma and are poorly understood. The truth of the matter is that that there is no one overriding factor that causes a project to fail. More often than not a number of factors are involved, some of which interact with each other. Typical reasons include inadequate resourcing, over-optimism, poor definition of requirements and deliverables, aggressive timescales, changing requirements, inadequate planning and over complicated systems and processes. However, for each of these reasons for failure there is a corollary explaining why a project has succeeded. Experience has shown that our most successful projects are those where there was a good project team, working to realistic timescales, which are both adequately resourced and compensated.

It is in these conditions that projects thrive yet it is often the case that these basic elements are eroded in pursuit of lowest cost and as the situation becomes increasingly stressed, shortcuts are taken, plans are not properly implemented and risks escalate.

I have therefore pulled together my top tips for successfully delivering a building project which I trust will serve as a reminder or indeed a useful reference point. Some of these may not be ‘appropriate’ to your project. The skill is in deciding how far one must go to ensure that whatever is implemented is fit for purpose.


Building Management


Tip 1: Engage a good team

If there is one thing you need to get right, it is to employ a good team from the outset who are familiar with the sort of project you have in mind and have the resources to deliver it.

However, it goes further than this as there are often widespread variations in the scope of services being offered by consultants which naturally translates into varying costs so it is important to understand what is required and what is being offered before making those first appointments. Employing an independent project manager is a safer way to help navigate this process and establish the conditions for success.

There is also the less tangible issue of who might provide best value for money as it is a false economy to scrimp on fees, which may only represent say 10% of the overall project costs and then pay far more for the remaining 90%.

A good team will challenge the norm, help clients focus on aspects of greatest value, help reduce unnecessary space, match the specification needs to the space and package the project in the most cost-effective manner so as to deliver the works in the most cost effective manner. Lowest price does not deliver this, not even close.


In our next article, Julian will look at

Tip 2: Have a clear idea about what you need; and

Tip 3: Make planning a way of life.

Julian Record is a Chartered Project Manager with over 15 years experience in practice and has led projects up to £100m in value. If you would like to hear more, discuss a project or a particular issue with a project you are working on then please call Julian on 01743 821 814 or alternatively email at and he would be delighted to help.