Decide to Plan, Plan to Decide

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I have heard it once quoted that to build a new house or renovate a property; over 4000 decisions need to be made to get the job done. Whether it is the location of the kitchen, what colour paint, or where should the light switch go- literally thousands of decisions are required to get the job done.

Now, if you have trouble deciding what TV show to watch, or what to have for breakfast in the morning or maybe you do always agree with your better half on “certain issues”, taking on a construction project can be a difficult and arduous task.

The inability to make decisions in a timely and appropriate fashion may be the number one driver of cost overruns in your project. Time is money and if decisions are delayed or made out of the appropriate sequence, projects can go awry. Most have heard of the notion “ whatever the builder tells you, add 50%” or “ there will never be a greater strain on your marriage” when you under take a renovation or build a project”. I would suggest the “why” can be traced back to poor, mistimed or avoided decisions.

The number one mismanaged decision is the one of budget.  The issue in this regard is the timing of the decision.  Most enter the project with an assessment of resource capability and then under go a process of selecting and designing their home independent of core drivers of costs.

A true budget can only be established once the project design has been well defined. 

Many decide to start the project with many decisions are left unanswered as they embark on the start of construction. Budgets must be firm before the shovel hits the ground.

It is at this time the “yah but” syndrome takes effect without the discipline of a rigorous budgeting process . “Yah but, I like those windows better” or “ yah but those tiles are nicer” which can lead to an “out pouring of cash” from your pockets that was clearly unintended.

A quality budget can only be made once specific and material decisions are made. Understand that trade offs are always required when put under the microscope of fiscal scrutiny.

Plan first, create realistic options that allow for reasonable and appropriate decisions, and then decide to start the build. Making the right decision is a lot easier when you do not have the pressure of time over your head.

4000 decisions in an activity that is largely unfamiliar can be daunting, stressful and expensive. Have a decision-making strategy that is based on sound planning and a high level of organization.  Find a builder who is a partner not an adversary and can help you make decisions that you can trust in a timely way.

Decide to plan and plan to decide. You will have more fun.

Marty RudmanComment