Keeping Projects on Schedule Beat the Clock

Nothing can take the fun out of a design project faster than missed deadlines and cost overruns—and naturally, both problems usually go hand in hand. Even if a project is certain to increase a property’s value and/or curb appeal, the upheaval and disruption to residents’ lives while work is going on can be a big pain.

Any number of problems can contribute to a project dragging on and on for months or bursting its budgetary boundaries, but for the most part, there are a few repeat offenders when it comes to figuring out what went wrong and how it can be avoided in future. Quibbling over design elements, budget problems, lack of organization, and poor communication between involved parties can all contribute to the problem—preventing them can help your next design project go more smoothly and successfully.

Design Changes

“More often than not, it’s a change in the design that causes delays in the process of interior renovation,” says Dalah del Prado, a project architect with Dattner Architects in Manhattan. “We have had experiences where we have already started demolition and then the client changes their mind about design decisions—that holds things up substantially.”

Good planning is crucial, adds Marilyn Sygrove of Manhattan’s Sygrove Associates Design Group Inc. “If, for example, a building is renovating its doorman station, and they have purchased new equipment without providing cut-sheet specifications, that can hold up the process.”

“Once you start, any changes that are made in the design just cause a ripple effect of time consequences,” says Howard L. Zimmerman of Howard L. Zimmerman Architects PC in Manhattan. “If a client says ‘I don’t like this—I want to change it to that,’ there’s probably electric involved, duct work involved, ventilation, maybe plumbing…. so each trade has to be called in again, in a certain sequence, to undo what has already been done and do it again in a different layout.”


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