Construction Projects Succeed When They See the Future

I’ve been in the construction business for more than two decades, and in that time, I’ve seen many projects that have succeeded, but also many that—even if they were deemed victories when they first opened—did not reach their potential because of a lack of attention to the long-term vision and execution for building management.

From the beginning of any construction project, from build-outs to the largest ground-up endeavor, companies often make decisions with short-term rather than long-term costs in mind, valuing design and initial expenses over lifetime function and maintenance. As with any large project, many of these factors come back to cost, but what companies often ignore is that the construction and materials choices they make today will impact them for the next 25 years.

Common mistakes include selecting materials that wear out too quickly (from door hinges to countertops), undervaluing energy efficient design choices, and not taking into account the labor related cost of maintenance and repairs when making long-term calculations.

For example, looking at fluorescent vs. LED lights, you may have a price difference of $150 per unit. When calculating the potential lifetime cost savings from LEDs, many organizations look at the price difference, but leave out the cost in time and labor to change the bulbs. Often, this should also include the cost to purchase expensive equipment such as lifts to reach high ceilings. When we add up the numbers this way, it gives us a much clearer picture of whether it makes sense to spend a bit more up front to save over the long term.

With this approach, it’s not a guessing game. It is easy to calculate whether a more durable or energy efficient choice will be a fit for the project based on its time horizon—and to ensure that your construction project will still be worth the investment five, ten or 25 years down the road.

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