BRIDGES Interface Management Consulting

interface management

BRIDGES Interface Management (BRIDGES) is the new methodology for the design & construction industries, based on a comprehensive re-thinking of the causes that – to a greater or lesser degree – adversely impact virtually every building project.

At the core of these issues is CERTAINTY – specifically the need for greater certainty by ALL parties in the project delivery cycle – Clients, Designers, Contractors. The core problem with Certainty is that it is joined at the hip to its evil twin, RISK.

This is the nub of dysfunction that is played out, over and over, in almost every building project: Everybody wants the certainty, but not the risk. All players fight to get the other players to “own” the risks, without realising that it’s impossible, because they are joined at the hip.

Central to all business management theory and practice is the concept that taking some risk is an essential part of being in business, usually phrased as an “appetite” for risk. Every building project contains a multitude of risks. Simply put, unless there can be a rational strategy to identify, assign responsibility and manage risks, certainty will be a mirage.

TRUST is an absolutely essential component in achieving Certainty. But Trust can’t exist without a high level of open and honest communication – Clarity. This communication is usually collateral damage in the Risk manoeuvrings of the parties.

Analysis of the experience of hundreds of projects reveals that the third leg supporting Certainty is the absence of Delay. Project delay is one of the big risks, and comes from all directions, usually without notice. That delay invariably increases downtime and rework, and invariably increases costs (direct or indirect) to all parties.

In summary: Certainty requires Trust, equitable sharing of Risk, and elimination of avoidable Delay. No other pathway leads to the “Holy Grail” of Certainty in project delivery. That trio is no small challenge. It is the basis on which the BRIDGES methodology is built.

Links for more information on these topics: (under construction, not yet live)

  • BRIDGES in a nutshell
  • Overview of the BRIDGES methodology
  • The critical importance of certainty and clarity
  • Project outcomes of trust and distrust
  • The dynamics of managing risk
  • Causes and consequences of delay
  • Training in the BRIDGES methodology
  • BRIDGES IMS software

You Asked...

Click a question to see the answer
  1. Isn't this part of what an independent Project Manager is supposed to do?


    Question 1 answer:

    You’d think so. But experience shows it happens rarely. There are two reasons why:

    1. Most independent PMs focus on schedule and budget, and BRIDGES is almost always about the details of scope. Most PMs leave scope up to the design professionals, where budget and schedule pressures create gaps where these essential scope interfaces should connect, but don’t.
    2. Understanding the intricate structure of BRIDGES interfaces requires a comprehensive background in one of the core design disciplines: architecture, structural engineering or MEP engineering. Most independent PMs do not come from those disciplines.
  2. How much does it cost to add BRIDGES Consulting to the design team?


    Question 2 answer:

    The cost will vary depending on a number of factors:

    1. Complexity of the project
    2. Number of different design disciplines involved
    3. Whether or not all design disciplines share the same experiential culture (including whether some of the documentation is produced ‘off-shore’)
    4. How ‘tight’ the schedule is (interface gaps are more critical in tightly scheduled and fast-tracked projects)
    5. The depth and maturity of experience in main design and construction team participants (greater experience lowers interface gap risk)

    The best way to determine the cost is to implement a BRIDGES analysis at project start, that will assess the above factors, and can then convert to a fixed fee for service provision. BRIDGES services cannot be estimated on the basis of a % of construction cost.

    A better way to assess the cost of BRIDGES is to think about the high risk of no BRIDGES; what the cost in time and money would be if a failure to implement BRIDGES resulted in just one major ‘screw-up’, requiring massive rework. Then consider that a robust BRIDGES program would prevent hundreds of potential screw-ups.

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