Congratulations! You finally got started on the construction project you had been pondering about for years. You have your contractors, insurance, paperwork is signed, and you are ready to go.

Except that, wait a minute. Once construction starts, you realize that you would much prefer to have the main entrance face a garden instead of a driveway. And how about if you install mullioned windows to give the building a bit of a medieval feel? It can’t be that expensive to do these minor changes, can it?

The Domino Effect of being indecisive

An unspoken “secret” in the construction process is that owners often contribute up to 90% of the delays on a project. Whether it is design changes or delays in answering questions, owners affect a building schedule in more substantial ways than they may believe. As minor as something may seem, one single change can affect at least five other things in the project.

Imagine that you feel a hallway is turning out too dark, so you decide to add a window. Seems like a minor modification in the grand scheme of things: Just cut a square hole and put in some glass, right?

Not really. If that hallway is an egress corridor, it has to have fire ratings for all materials. Glass is not very fire resistant. Fire sprinklers would have to be installed to provide “window washers” in the event of a fire. The already installed lighting may then be in conflict with the sprinkler piping, so they will have to be moved. Those same lights might have been illuminating a piece of artwork, which will also have to be moved and may now require additional lighting.

The artwork may have been located in a niche that now has to be covered up, and a new niche built. And in that new niche, workers will have to install blocking to hold up the artwork… and so on and so forth. That one “small” change would end up costing you more in materials and labor costs. And I promise you, it will drive your team crazy. Do you really want to be that difficult person no one wants to work with? And if you don’t care about that, do you really want to blow your budget and schedule?

Why hiring an Owner’s Representative is worth it

It is ten times more expensive to design something once your workers are out in the field, than it is to design it on paper. In the example above, as an owner, you would avoid additional costs had the window been designed into the system from the beginning. This snowballing is very common when designing in the field. Avoid it at all costs. If you don’t feel like you have the enough knowledge or experience within the construction field to make informed decisions prior to starting the project, you’re not alone. That’s why hiring an Owner’s Representative would be in your best interest. Contact us to talk about your intended project and let’s discuss all of your concerns, so that once construction starts, workers can go full throttle and stay on budget.

Good luck, and keep your hard hat tight.