PSMJ Knowledge

Cutting Design Fees Raises Construction Costs

In the last issue of Project Management, I wrote an article about Paul Tilley’s research in Australia that showed that design fees had dropped about 25% over a 15­‐year period, and that documentation quality suffered as a result. This article provides an overview of the second focus…

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Documentation Quality Consequences of Fee Cutting

Very little research has been done anywhere on the important relationship between design fees and document quality. One notable exception is CSIRO, which is the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Paul Tilley and Stephen McFallan of CSIRO conducted a survey program in the…

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Managing the Design Interface: Design Coordination & Integration

There are more than 50 distinct building design specialties. Many medium-to-large projects have two dozen or more separate design-stage consultants and sub-consultants. Some of the more common of these are indicated in the diagram on the next page. For many reasons, the coordination and integration…

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Managing Design Scope

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA – 10.2013 “Scope creep” is an endemic disease in design practices. The scope of your projects keeps increasing, but your fees do not. Scope creep destroys profitability and causes schedule blowout. Although scope creep is managed (or not) on a day-to-day…

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Inter-Team Coordination: The Basics

There is a popular idea that by giving one consulting firm a number of disciplines, they will do better internal coordination, and create fewer problems for the lead consultant and the client. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t work. Despite statements in websites extolling the virtues of…

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Project Team Communication

Unless you are a “one-man band” that can do everything your project needs (which probably means it is a house addition) you will have a Project Team to coordinate. A failure to do that well throws the doors wide open to a whole array of risk issues….

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The Original CHECKIT checklists

Below are links to PDF versions of all 26 original CHECKIT! checklists (Australian English version). Download by clicking on the link, to open the checklist, then save or print. CHECKIT A: Preagreement: Checkit A.au CHECKIT B: Programme Development: Checkit B.au CHECKIT C: Surveys and Planning Approvals: Checkit C.au…

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CHECKIT Description

What is CHECKIT? CHECKIT! is the combination of a checklist system for all in-office aspects of architectural design, documentation and project administration, and a simple, easy-to-use progress reporting system based on the checklists. CHECKIT! is intended to be customised on a project-by-project basis. This customising…

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Five Tactics for Using Risk as Your Friend, not Your Enemy

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA – 02.2014 Most design professionals treat risk as a 4-letter word, to be avoided whenever possible. Yet, most projects have more risks lurking in the corners than a flophouse has cockroaches – studiously ignored by your competitors. What a great opportunity!…

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Bridging Method for Project Delivery

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA – 02.2015 Just as they are in Australia, U.S. architects and their colleagues in the building industry are struggling to develop new and better systems of project delivery. It is no secret that Australian clients have, in significant numbers, abandoned the…

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AIA Consent Decree

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA One of the milestone events in this gradual erosion of relevance was the 1972 “consent decree” between the American Institute of Architects and the US Justice Department, which spelled the end of proscribed fee schedules. Industry-wide fee schedules were deemed to…

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The Elements of Trust

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA – 12.2013 Today I came across something especially compelling in a very compelling book, Jason Jenning’s The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change. It was in a chapter on leadership (p 118 if you want to find it). What…

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The Client Comfort Zone: Find it, and keep your project within it

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA – 10.2013 We know, but tend to forget, that a new project is one of the biggest investments a private client will ever make. We know, but tend to forget, that a public new project involves a range of political issues…

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The Business Case for Gender Equity

Michael Smith, RAIA – The Red and Black Architect, 03.2015 For those working within the Australian architecture profession there is ongoing discontent about how poorly an architect’s input is valued and remunerated. When compared with engineers, construction managers and other professionals within the building industry,…

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The Best Partner Ever

By James Cramer, 2002 The professional partnership can be rewarding but it’s also a tough proposition. Surviving and prospering in a partnership is a subject that we get into discussions about often. I recently moderated a workshop where we looked more closely at the question:…

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The dangers, risks and costs of ambiguity in construction contract documents

There’s been a war going on, for longer than the oldest of us are alive, between project Owners and Contractors. The endless skirmishes are mostly about project scope, and to a much lesser degree, about project time. These skirmishes – a global phenomena – have…

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