ducks in a row

The big 5:

  1. Pending Design decisions
  2. Payment and payment review
  3. Schedule monitoring
  4. Supply of “owner-provided” items
  5. Communication
A popular misconception that owner’s have is that a construction project somehow is on autopilot and their involvement is not really required.
Reality check: the typical time an owner is involved during the design and construction project averages between 3-5 hours per week.
Because there are numerous time-sensitive decisions that affect many people,  those 3-5 hours are seldom the  “when- we- can- get- to- it” variety.  If the decisions are not made in a timely manner, delays and poor (default) choices are often the result.
We urge owners to keep at least 3-4 folders (digital or manila) to help keep their project in order: financial, design related, contractual. This will save you lots of headaches.
Keep to a regular scheduled meeting, cancel when needed. Weekly and biweekly are most common.  For most projects 15-30 minutes via screenshare, zoom or telephone should be adequate. Take notes or meeting minutes -distribute or post them promptly.


  1. Pending Design decisions– i.e. When the architect or contractor is asking you for which stain color you want on the wood floor, review the options, ask pertinent questions and decide. Decide Promptly!
  2. Payment and payment review-i.e. most construction projects have prorated billing which means that one (owner or architect) has to evaluate the work completed vs the work being billed. It is important not to overpay in case some work needs to be re-done. Pay promptly!
  3. Schedule monitoring– Since the completion of the project typically affects on owner’s ability to use the new building or home , there is always pressure to complete the work and move back in (or stop paying additional rent) or have the store be open in time for holiday sales. Some projects have penalties and bonuses tied into completion dates. Address schedule deviations promptly!
  4. Supply of “owner-provided” items: Saavy owners know that they can save money by supplying items to be installed by the contractor (hence avoiding their markup) but this also means getting the right materials there on site in a timely manner. Coordinate with your contractor to determine when they will need the i.e. floor tile, appliances, decorative light fixtures. Provide the “owner-supplied” items promptly!
  5. Communication– ask appropriate questions with a deadline to answer, this will keep things moving smoothly. Ask questions and provide answers promptly!

Article by Steven Secon