In the vast majority of building projects, decisions made in the first 10 percent of project activity directly determine 90 percent of the final cost and schedule. When a project is poorly planned, project costs can expand beyond estimates by as much as 50 percent. Since the owner's rate of spending increases as a building project proceeds, comprehensive planning is a must. The best way to do this is to prepare the owner through an “owner preparation process.” The results of diligently following such a process include: (1) unexpected and unnecessary costs are kept to a minimum, (2) the project successfully meets its end users' needs and goals, and (3) the architect, builders, and other players all perform at their very best. This article outlines principles inherent in an owner preparation process and offers owners concrete examples of how such planning significantly protects the bottom line.
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