CMG’s Clark Davis Writes New Guide To Help Owners & Architects Manage Building Project Uncertainty

Clark Davis, FAIA, LEED AP, worked with the AIA Large Firm Roundtable and other industry sponsors to write a new guide that helps owners anticipate the major causes of uncertainty in building projects and offers best practices to mitigate them. The guide, titled Project Planning Guide for Owners and Project Teams, was just published and draws on the Dodge Data & Analytics 2014 SmartMarket Report Managing Uncertainty and Expectations in Building Design and Construction” to outline the top factors owners need to consider.

Also included in the newly released guide is a Contingency Calculator tool, developed by Clark, which owners can use to plan budget reserves for the entire lifecycle of a project. “Surprisingly, the original study found that most owners have no specific methods for determining budget contingencies,” said Clark. “This tool alone will help owners save money and improve project performance.”

At the 2018 AIA Conference on Architecture in June, Clark introduced the new planning guide in a panel discussion about the risk and uncertainties that threaten the planning process and client relationships for owners, architects, and their project teams. The most important feature of the guide is a clear, direct explanation of the risks involved in construction projects and the best ways to mitigate them.

Another current initiative is a new searchable database of actual project cost experience, now in its pilot development phase. Owners are invited to submit actual cost information, confidentially, to assist other owners, architects, and project teams in planning and budgeting for future projects. The database will become the “knowledge engine” to support use of the Planning Guide and Contingency Calculator.

Clark has led the Managing Uncertainty program since 2012. Industry sponsors include the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, AIA, AGC, COAA, DBIA, LCI, Autodesk, and Graphisoft.

The new guide is available for free download at

The original research report is available at

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