The path of most resistance

It would be tough to argue with the idea that the capital budgeting, iterative design, value engineering cycle of real estate is flawed. Maybe even broken. Certainly frustrating. I sympathize with building owners who simply build a budget and trust a good designer to keep to it. So often the preconstruction work of a contractor ends in the right place but only after painful cycles of design-price-cut-redesign.

What designers base their fee on designing everything twice? What owner enjoys seeing beautiful features only to have to cut them away for budgetary reasons? And worst of all, the project suffers in the end. Residents or staff or both do without, marketing suffers.

There is a better way - one based on total alignment with the end goals of the project and one that rewards, not hampers, the creative iterations of talented designers. Software designers have this right and we can learn from them. Read the Agile Manifesto sometime. It applies to what we do and makes better projects on the way.