The Cost Quality Time Triangle

Previously we’ve explored the basics of project management and who you can hire as your project manager. In the first of those posts, we stated that the main challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project’s goals within any given constraints. Now we want to help you overcome that challenge by explaining the cost quality time triangle.

The Cost Quality Time Triangle

Three factors constrain every project:

  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Time

It isn’t possible to have the highest quality build completed in a very short timescale on a limited budget.

A better understanding of this cost quality time triangle will help you set realistic expectations from the outset, in terms of your priorities. In this final post about project management, we share some tips for managing each of these three constraints.

If your priority is cost:
  • Remember that changing your mind on site costs more than on the page before construction work has begun.
  • Ensure you make as many decisions as possible prior to agreeing contractor’s costs in a contract – invest in construction level design (don’t just ask your designer to help you achieve compliance with Planning and Building Control).
  • Ensure your project manager values the work as it happens and keeps a tight rein on variations, ensuring:
    • changes are priced before they occur, and
    • their impact on the budget is monitored.
If your priority is quality:
  • Ensure you have detailed drawings and specifications that explain precisely the level of finish you require and the quality of materials you want to use.
  • Ensure there are regular inspections of the works on site against the drawings and specifications.

If your priority is time:
  • Make as many decisions as possible before work starts on site – the more time and money you invest in getting to a construction level package, the easier, quicker and more cost effective site works will be.
  • Be prompt in feeding back to your contractor – waiting on the client to make a decision often causes delays on site.

When it comes to the cost quality time triangle, there’s a common theme across all three constraints / priorities: investing in more detailed design (beyond the drawings needed for Planning / Building Control approval). It is an additional cost, but a full construction package reduces the unknowns and enables you to have confidence in your budget before work starts on site. Cityzen can provide your project manager with the construction package they need to effectively manage the project.

Our final tip? We recommend using a quantity surveyor as your project manager, as they have the costing knowledge that so many of our clients value.

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