I used to work for NAVFAC, the U. S. Navy version of contract management for construction projects. Though there was a lot of bureaucracy involved, the planning and design phase always had plenty of experts to ensure the specifications were above most commercial standards (LEED certifications, military requirements, utmost safety requirements, etc...) Though many aspects of the process used archaic technology (lots of paper forms, area expert controlled word documents as best practices,...), the end result was that most projects ended up being completed on time and on budget (though the start sometimes got shifted so the review could be thorough ... unless October 1 was coming, but that is a different subject - or maybe not, this project had similar time deadlines). A lot of this success was due to savvy construction managers doing appropriate "horse-trading" with contractors to avoid the lengthy change processes (which could delay anywhere from a day to 12 months). When you have (non-technical) contract managers who don't know the reasoning behind the requirements, they have little recourse but to go through the official processes to resolve complex issues... _This_ is where you get your delays. For the most part, a good hour spent in design/planning will yield ~10 in production, but it is important for the project manager to be intimately involved so this wisdom can actually be _useful_. I can attest to my own anecdotal experience and my observation of others, that coming into a project at production phase is more than just a steep learning curve; some things just have weird historical issues. Here are a few that I ran into after another CM was transferred elsewhere:
- endangered species in the area
- abandoned toxic waste in the soil
- this site used to be a WW2 bombing range and guess what?...We found a bunch of unexploded ordinance.
- hurricane damage
- tornado damage