Ambiguous, Inconsistent, or Conflicting Project Plans and Specifications – How to Get What You Don’t Want – By Josh Orr
Jun 2, 2011 Editorials
Recently, we provided a price quote for fundamental commissioning for LEED (construction phase only commissioning) on a project based on specifications that were inconsistent and ambiguous. This is definitely not the foundation for a successful project.
Getting what you don’t want in a construction project is easy: just provide plans and specifications that fail to be clear, consistent, correct, concise, or complete. What will you get as a result? At best, you’ll have RFIs and ASIs leading to costly change orders and construction delays. That’s only “best” because the alternative is the contractor following a flawed design which can lead to problems that are even more serious than going over budget and outside of the schedule.
The owner of the building for which we provided the quote would have been well served by engaging in our Holistic Commissioning® approach. The initial step in our Holistic approach involves defining and documenting the goals of the project and the owner. This would have given the specification writer the direction necessary to make clear and consistent documentation. Additionally, our approach includes review of the design documents (including project plans and specifications) and the ambiguities, inconsistencies, and conflicts would have been identified and resolved prior to the project going to bid.
We don’t know what other issues there are in the project’s plans and specifications or how much those issues will ultimately cost this owner. In order to meet the requirements of the RFP/specifications, our price quote was 30% higher than what it would be to meet the requirements that were given verbally, and you can be confident that’s not what the owner wants.