Risk and Large-Scale Projects

Risk is an incontrovertible factor in any project. It only stands to reason that, the larger the project, the more room there is for risk. Risk-causing issues within large-scale projects may occur at any level of the process and (as there are far more people/businesses/trades involved in a large-scale project than a small one) as a result of the actions of any of the entities involved. Let’s explore how issues may arise at the hands of the client, the architect (or designer), the project manager and, of course, external forces.  largescale projects

The client (proprietor – or proprietors – there may be more than one in the scheme of a large-scale project) can unwittingly up the risk factor from the get-go in numerous ways – especially if he is inexperienced and unknowledgeable with respect to what goes into a construction project. The client may have an idea of what he wants, but may lack the insight to fully understand the ramifications of achieving optimal results. In other words, his expectations might not be in line with the reality of the undertaking of the process. Furthermore, it’s not unheard of for a client to change his mind repeatedly throughout the process – what he thought he wanted doesn’t actually measure up to what he sees as things progress. He might be completely disorganized and in turn, cause chaos to ensue on the project site.

An unrealistic timeline is most often a significant risk factor precipitated by the client. It’s therefore crucial that a suitable, realistic timeframe is worked out between the client, the architect (or designer) and the project manager. It is the job of the architect and/or project manager to let their client know what is achievable and what is not. That said, it’s the responsibility of the client to define (to the best of his ability, based on his own research as well as market requirements) the expected performance and quality of the project.

It’s imperative that everyone be on the same page!

Risks relating to the architect or designer are not uncommon. Design variations, inaccurate cost estimates, inadequate scheduling and insufficient site information can all incite unexpected risks. A skilled architect will do his homework – inspect the site to ensure that its conditions are agreeable and talk at length with the client to ensure that all expectations are doable.

Risk-causing factors may also be attributed to the project manager if he underestimates time or cost, or if he fails to hire appropriately capable team members and subcontractors. All it takes is one rogue cog in the wheel for a project to derail. And again, it’s the job of the project manager to ensure that he is fully in tune with his client’s vision and to ensure that his client is fully aware of exactly what part of that vision is in the realm of possibility, given the budget and allotted timeframe.

Lack of coordination between any of the project participants can lead to risk. Continuous communication between highly skilled parties is essential to the success of any project – especially one that is large-scale.

There are also associated risks which are often out of the control of the above-mentioned stakeholders. Excessive government approval procedures and government bureaucracy can be unforeseen but disastrous to a project. It’s therefore in the best interests of the project team members to maintain an ongoing, affable relationship with government officers to increase the likelihood of a friendly environment and therefore more uncomplicated approval procedures and shortened approval timelines.

Risk in any large-scale project is a given. The more you can do to mitigate risk, the better chance you have of completing the project on time and within budget. Risk Management can help you do that. Let us show you how to leverage industry best risk management skills and how to use RiskMP software to facilitate risk management for all of your future projects. To join one of our hands-on workshops, please visit:  https://escomputertraining.com/courses/details/industry/9/course/43


1 Comment

  1. Great article! I’ve been a project manager for fifteen years and we just began taking a more serious approach to risk management last year. We’ve been looking for a solution to streamline this process for a few months now and this blog has provided some very helpful tips. We have been using the software you recommended http://www.riskmp.com/ for a month now and are very impressed with its features and ease of use. Keep up the helpful posts!


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