Document Detail

Title: RR204-11 - The Owner's Role in Project Success
Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Product Type: Research Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 328
Griffis, Bates, Polytechnic Univ. of New York
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The Construction Industry Institute (CII) established the Owners’ Role in Project Success Research Team (RT204) to identify how the owner contributes to project success – what management approaches work well for which types of projects, delivery systems, and team structures.

The owner’s involvement in the management and delivery of capital construction projects has a direct effect on the project’s outcome. The owner makes key decisions and provides (or fails to provide) positive leadership. The recent trend toward downsizing of owner organizations self-performance of design, engineering, and construction has caused a gap in the leadership from the owner so often seen in the past. In-house personnel are often tasked with managing the contracting of design, engineering, and construction services.

The execution of capital projects depends on the effectiveness of project teams—teams whose members come from diverse backgrounds, have varied goals, and answer to different employers. The relationships between team members, owners, and contractors evolve throughout the life of a project. Just as the process of design and construction calls for the input of different disciplines and trades at various points, often many “owners”—different entities (for example executives, technical personnel, and end users)—within owner organizations participate in the life-cycle of a capital project. With all these players and variables, determining the “correct” level of owner involvement is the key to success.

This research report describes in detail how RT204 developed the survey to assess the value being added by the owner based on recommended roles and responsibilities. The survey yielded 73 projects from 45 different companies. By first defining project success from the perspective of each of the project participants, the team was able to determine the key owner functions and characteristics that contribute to project success. Through the use of descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, several regression models were developed to assist the owner in determining the correct level of involvement on the project. This research report also introduces the implementation tool under development for members of CII.

RT 204 sought to study both successes and failures related to project outcomes. In the final analysis, the most significant principles for the owner to focus on during the execution of a capital facility project can be summarized in the following three statements:

  1. Exercise an appropriate level of “owner involvement” throughout the project.
  2. Focus on safety in every aspect of the project.
  3. Communicate the expected goals and objectives, a sense of urgency, and emphasize safety.