The Lucky Client: When Everything Goes Right
We’ve all heard horror stories about construction projects, but we often don’t hear when things go right. We just heard back from the Planning & Building Department of a city that has a reputation for being a somewhat difficult jurisdiction to get permits. When we submitted the drawings, they said that it would take 4-6 weeks for a response. Not only did they respond in less than two weeks, they gave us the permit, without any comments. (“Comments” are the City Planner’s requests for changes or clarifications on the construction documents.) That is highly unusual and good news indeed, especially for our client, who will be able to move ahead much faster than he expected. Even better, the Plan Checker said that the drawings were very good and that they hope we will bring them more projects in the future! That could indicate that our next project is likely to be reviewed with a favorable attitude and perhaps expedited, which will be great for our future clients. I started thinking about this project, and why it seems like everything is going right for this particular client. The project is ahead of schedule, on budget, and has not encountered any obstacles. Maybe he is lucky, but I think he is creating his own luck by taking all the right steps. Everybody who works with this client is complimentary of him. I talked to the Structural Engineer about him and here is why we think this client is “lucky”: 1. He knows what he wants to accomplish and has budgeted enough time and money to do it properly. 2. He sought out experienced professionals with good reputations to be on his team. 3. He asks thoughtful questions and listens to the advice provided before making decisions. 4. When asked for information or for his opinion on alternatives, he responds promptly. 5. He is pleasant to talk to and has a positive attitude. 6. He pays on time, often faster than expected. Certainly, someone can do all those things and still run into difficulties from time to time, especially on a complex construction project. It is, however, worth thinking about when you are going into a long process involving other people. It can be approached as a battle to be fought with everyone involved, or as a journey taken with a team you trust. I think you will find that the latter approach will generate more “luck”.
— Lorianna Kastrop, Vice President Katrop Group, Inc. Architects