Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets
How to Fix America's Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry
When Boston’s “Big Dig” was estimated to cost $2.8 billion in the mid-1980s, few envisioned that the most expensive highway project in the United States would end up costing nearly $15 billion in taxpayer dollars by 2006. In Chicago, the acclaimed Millennium Park was completed at a cost of $300 million over budget and years late. And it’s not just high-profile projects, either. For those who build hospitals, schools, stadiums, and homes, out-of-control delays and cost overruns are rampant and a plague on our local, state, and federal budgets.
Clearly, the construction industry is in dire need of reform. Barry B. LePatner has been prominently ranked among the nation’s preeminent construction attorneys and has spent the last three decades as a construction lawyer on the inside of the process. From representing some of the nation’s most significant corporations, institutions, and developers to the world’s most eminent architects and engineers, he has seen firsthand how the construction industry wastes over $120 billion annually.
Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets tells the story of the United States’ construction industry—one that consumes $1.23 trillion a year, yet ranks highest among industries on the “waste and inefficiency” scale, and lowest in the amount of money invested annually in technology.
LePatner builds a powerful case for much-needed change to a risk-averse industry plagued with weak management, a shortage of capital, and ineffective supervision. He pinpoints two main issues that underlie the industry’s woes: the lack of a true fixed-price contract and the absence of intermediaries to aggressively represent the interests of all owners of construction projects. Contractors work today in much the same way they have for centuries. By controlling all information related to the cost of a project, contractors operate as monopolists—facing little risk and unchecked by a healthy fear of being easily replaced.
Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets has been written to help you—the potential purchaser of a new office building or home or highway or dam—understand how the industry functions and why it is so inefficient. Armed with the most powerful weapon—valuable business information—you will have a fighting chance to get the building you want, when you want it, for the price you agreed upon.