Last edited 15 May 2014

Top ten tips for building design and construction projects

Top ten tips for the perfect project

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1. Set it up properly right at the beginning. You won't have time later.

2. You can't do it all yourself. Pick the right people to help you and reward them for success.

3. Make sure you know what you want. Changes get more expensive as you go on.

4. Make sure your aspirations are reflected in your budget. You can’t have a world-class building if you don’t have a world-class budget.

5. Know whether you want quality, low cost or speed. If you want a great building and fast; expect to pay for it.

6. Design fees are a bad place to make savings.

During the life of a building:

Item Relative cost

Design fees


Construction cost


Operating costs


Business costs


7. Manage your stakeholders. Focus your attention on the vocal people who can most affect the project and may be against it.

8. Know what the risks are and who is taking them. Only transfer risks to someone else if they can do something about them.

9. Make sure you have a realistic contingency. But don’t tell anyone about it.

10. If it's not working out, make changes, or walk away.


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What about ...

Know your costs from the outset. The only way to make a building cheaper, is to make it smaller. --designing buildings 08:48, 10 July 2012 (BST)

Know what's in your budget and what's not. Equipment may not need to be in the budget, but what about fitting the equipment? --GregorHarvie 08:52, 10 July 2012 (BST)

No planning permission means no project. Get planning permission early, otherwise you could spend a lot of money for nothing.

And be very careful with VAT. is it recoverable or not? Are there some items where it is not recoverable in any event?