Construction Risks in Building Design and Construction


Design and construction are imperfect processes with a variety of inherent uncertainties. Given that reality, it is extremely important for project teams to identify, anticipate and mitigate the conditions and factors that drive uncertainty, or construction risks. Construction owners must adjust their expectations of project team performance to align with reasonable and achievable metrics that truly benefit the project. The Managing Uncertainty and Expectations in Building Design and Construction SmartMarket Report, produced in partnership with the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, demonstrates key findings with owners, architects and contractors:

  • Owner-related issues, such as accelerated schedule, unclear project requirements, lack of direction and involvement, and program or design changes, are cited as the leading drivers of construction risks
  • While only 7% of owners believe perfect construction documents are possible, design errors and omissions are still considered highly impactful sources of uncertainty
  • Better communication and integration among project team members scores as the most effective approach to reducing the causes and impacts of construction risks

The objective for this initiative is to advance the level of shared understanding among owners, design professionals and construction firms about the mutual challenges they face in building design and construction. This will help to shift the conversation from blame and recovery for unanticipated problems to proactive and collaborative ways to reduce their occurrence and to performance metrics that foster these behaviors.

In addition to the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, Dodge Data & Analytics wishes to thank the other industry leaders who provided support and guidance to this research in order to bring this important study to the market. Those organizations include the premier industry partners of AIA, Autodesk and DBIA; and industry partners AGC, Graphisoft and the Lean Construction Institute.