New building developments bring in their share of challenges and issues. Whether you are planning to build a single-family home or a housing complex, there are many pros and cons that need to be weighed. To help you determine if the project is a viable one, you may want to consider doing a SWOT analysis. This method of analysis is similar to drawing up a pros and cons list, but focuses specifically on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your building project.
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A good contractor will possess the following strengths: advanced project management skills, good knowledge and relationships with subcontractors and material providers, use of modern technology and machinery, and skilled employees. On the other side, a strong investor will have established relationships with contractors and subcontractors and have taken care of building permits and project documentation. The investor will understand the market demand in relation to the building project and have the financial capital needed for the project. If both major parties for a building project display the listed strengths, the chances of success of the project are better.
On the other hand, some weaknesses may offset the strengths. Typical weaknesses of contractors include resistance to new methods, lack of coordination and organisation, inexperienced staff and weak relationships with subcontractors and material providers. In a building project, the contractor is not the only person to have possible weaknesses. An investor who does not have prospective buyers, who doesn't have the protection or support of a supervisory board, who does not want to use the allocated resources and who has hired an inflexible contractor is as likely to make a project fail. However, it is not because a building project's SWOT analysis shows weaknesses that the project is doomed to fail. It is simply an indicator of areas of concern that will need extra attention once the project is begun.
A successful building project will give the contractors and the investors a range of opportunities for future contracts because they will have understood how to work together and developed a well-coordinated project team. Building projects also prove to offer opportunities to citizens by creating jobs, improving municipal services and encouraging economic development, as well as promoting housing and community development.
Finally, threats are challenges that can sometimes be overcome or avoided, but at other times they will seriously impact the building project. From a contractor's point of view, examples of threats include poor geographical location for the building, inadequate space for material storage and constant change of direction from the investor or project manager. An investor may find scheduling delay and reduced construction materials quality as serious threats to completion of the projects. Citizens may also be threatened by a new building project due to the disturbance created by construction and the possible loss of green spaces.
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- American Society of Civil Engineers; Practical Application of SWOT Analysis in the Management of a Construction Project; Igor N. Milosevic; March 15, 2010
- University of Illinois; East St. Louis Action Research Project -- SWOT Analysis; Amanda Burkybile, Michelle Eley; May 5, 2001