Design and construction projects have long faced recurring challenges relative to cost overruns and schedule delays. There are potentially many reasons for this situation, but the industry lacks concrete data to determine the root causes and identify solutions. Now, a Ryerson University research team is looking for architects to participate in a new study to help understand the causes and impacts of these challenges.
The researchers are exploring the relationship between project owners’ upfront investment in the pre-project stage and the quality of design documents, along with key performance indicators (e.g. efficiency of bidding, number and extent of change orders, cost overruns, and schedule delays) in the whole project lifecycle. The results are expected to provide an objective framework for a change in the project delivery policies in public infrastructure.
From a neutral, third-party perspective, the study also provides an opportunity for the design and construction industry to improve communication and awareness, and build further trust among all project stakeholders.
The study includes:
- conducting a nation-wide online survey to collect data and opinions on the current level of upfront investments and their impacts on the quality of design documents and project delivery efficiency;
- collecting factual project data from sample projects to quantify the impacts; and
- conducting in-person interviews to obtain best practices and lessons learned from the sample projects.
A pilot study consisting of three sample projects has been completed. More quantitative project data collection and interviews will continue after the easing of self-isolation and physical distancing measures relative to COVID-19. In the meantime, the online questionnaire is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9JYXLFL.
Unlike many similar studies that sought general opinions, this questionnaire focuses on objective project data. It asks participants to provide their feedback based on their experience on the most recently completed project in which they participated. Data that reflect the level of upfront investment by project owners, the quality of design documents, bidding efficiency, and construction project efficiency will be collected. To capture a holistic picture, architects, as well as engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, and professionals representing project clients, are invited to participate.
This study is co-funded by Mitacs, a national fund that supports applied research and industry-academia collaboration and a number of associations in the design and construction industry across Canada, including the OAA. A Project Steering Committee comprising prominent experts from the design and construction industry was established to guide the direction and implementation of the study.