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CONSTRUCTION KNOWLEDGE BLOG

August 23, 2012

Building the Hard Way
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

As a cheerleader for better project management throughout the construction industry, I hate to see big project failures. Earlier this summer, the American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City halted construction. The $170M US project was begun without all the funding in place, with hopes that things would fall together. Tulsa World noted:
The project has benefited from three previous state bond issues totaling $63 million, as well as $14.5 million in federal funding and $4.9 million and 250 acres of land from Oklahoma City. The fourth bond issue proposal (for an additional $40M) ¬†fell one vote short in the state Senate in the Legislature’s final week.

Nathan Hart and Cesar Godinez, senior project engineer, look over the construction site of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near Interstate 40 in 2010. Hart is director of community affairs for the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority. JIM BECKEL

The project (near Interstate 40 and Interstate 35) needs $80 million for completion plus the existing private donors to not bail out. I hope they can make the whole deal work, but it sure sounds challenging.

I don’t know the project specifics and haven’t heard if the project significantly exceeded original budgets, though I’m thinking it had to. I’ve been involved in some iconic projects over the years and it’s challenging to “measure the snake before it’s dead”.

Nevertheless, we all need reminded to try to budget more conservatively at the project onset, even though we always have tremendous pressure to be make aggressive assumptions. The best estimators I knew always fought at the project start not to be the hero for the day and the goat for the rest of the project.