One of the most often asked questions is how long does a project take to complete. There are many variables that determine the schedule. Here are some to consider.
When Does the Client Want it Done
We just got a request to produce a Bluefin Tuna photo-op model and they needed it installed in New Orleans within 30 days. This is no problem. We can do it. However, we would need to charge more than if we had more time. We are already booked and therefore would have to produce it with over time pay. A rushed project often costs more.
Generally, any project’s schedule can be negotiated to be mutually agreeable.
The Size of The Project
Obviously, a million dollar project takes more resources than a $1,000 project. The larger the project the more time.
How Fast Can The Client get Their Part Done
Client involvement starts right away with getting the contract signed. A few weeks ago we met with a client on a Tuesday and we had a contract signed by Friday. It was a rush project. Design, build and install a donor wall in 60 days. In order to move fast a client must move fast too. Most clients take 30 to 90 days to sign a contract once a project is awarded. This can delay the start of a project.
Often clients underestimate the amount of time they will spend on a project. Clients have to approve many things from design progress, copy, photographs, budgets and fabrication progress. Often clients have committees. Imagine having eight people approve a 200 page design booklet. Most clients commit to a two week review period, yet often struggle to meet these dates. Clients also have to provide details on their resources like their artifacts, collections, building specifications and visitor demographics. If these are not provided on their due dates it can cause large delays in the project. You might consider your own staffing and resources when considering how quickly you would like to produce a project.
If payments, building construction or renovation is behind schedule this can also delay the project.
Most of our projects have these kinds of delays.
What Type of Project
Planning and design generally take longer than fabrication. More decisions and involvement of people takes time. If details are completed in the design phase then production can go quickly. A workshop can be done quickly.
General Project Time Frames
A planning/design/build/install project of $250,000 or more takes an average of 18 months to complete.
A fabrication project of $250,000 or more takes an average of six months to complete.
A planning project takes an average of eight months to complete.
Everything is negotiable, these are some generalizations you can consider.
Price, Quality, Speed – pick two
This is an old saying. It isn’t quite relevant these days as companies can meet all three. However, there is logic in considering these variables and how they are combined.