Start-up and completion are the phases most in need of improvement in the typical construction project, according to a recent survey of project owners by the Construction Management Association of America and FMI Corp. The annual survey collects information from more than 100 owners in both private and public sectors.

Incomplete drawings and poor pre-planning were cited as the most significant causes of cost overruns on projects, according to survey respondents.

Owners also reported dissatisfaction with project commissioning, the final stage of a project when a facility is delivered to the owner for occupancy and use. Among the high-risk areas identified were HVAC, fire protection and life safety systems, elevators and roofs and envelopes. Improved communication, collaboration and coordination could help resolve these issues.

The survey also revealed:

  • More than 50% of owners expect their construction manager to provide leadership in managing projects from beginning to end, including design, funding, scheduling and construction.

  • Nearly 80% of owners said project collaboration software can help avoid disputes and miscommunications, but about 65% still do not mandate its use on their projects.

  • More than 40% said “green” building design was becoming increasingly important.