First on the list of responsibilities for the owner is to define what is needed, what is wanted, and what is affordable. In order to better define the project, professional help may be needed; securing professional assistance will be an early task. Matching needs and wants to the available resources is always of major importance in construction. As part of the discussions with the various partners in the project, there must be an understanding about the meaning of quality. Without general agreement initially about what is acceptable in materials, safety, inspection, construction practices, time schedules, clean-up, disruption of services, and differing site conditions, there is potential for major disagreement. Just as you would monitor a home construction project, you should monitor a utility construction project to see that your interests are being met and that your money is being spent wisely. All of this owner involvement may take a significant amount of time, effort and expense, but it will be well worth the investment.
There are two general questions that can be used to guide this process:
- Are we doing the right project?
- Are we doing the project right?