Risks and Opportunities – Project Lifecycle 7

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In any industry, for a project to be a success, a defined project strategy is critical – Construction is no different.

So, what’s the strategy on your project? How are you interacting with your client? Are there Value Engineering opportunities and key risks you need to focus on? Are there specific design risks in Subcontract procurement?

… What is your approach?

Building a strategy gives the entire team focus. An early (and collective) analysis, from the entire project team, delivers great results.

I always create a Risks and Opportunities (R & O) Register. This is a list of potential issues on the project together with a percentage probability of them occurring and a cost estimate for each item.

The document should accumulate into a collective monetary amount of the potential R & O. By creating this, you can identify and assess issues early, allowing the team to apply intellect to avoid risks and stimulate opportunity – thus, creating a strategy.

Why use a register?

Identifying, sharing and disclosing risks in a transparent manner means the team collaboratively manage, mitigate and eliminate risk.

Equally, the identification of opportunity brings many benefits. Often, teams are so focused on risks that consideration to opportunities is not properly given. But, opportunities can offset risks and even create a pool of money to improve profits. Having an actively managed R & O Register encourages teams to identify opportunities to enhance a project in ways that typically go unnoticed.

What goes on a R & O Register?

Project to project, the R & O register will vary in its content but here’s some ideas for what is typically included:

  • Key Subcontract packages
  • Under/over estimates from tender stages
  • Risks in the installation process
  • Potential Variations
  • Potential Delays
  • Discrepancies in the Contract

Three Steps to managing the R & O

  1. Integrate the Register Early – Create the document early and as a team: this way everyone will feel they own it. Incorporate it into your meetings as early as possible – too often risks aren’t identified until they’re already problems. For example, if there is a 5% risk that a Subcontractor will be six months late, flag the risk so the appropriate team members can begin thinking about potential solutions or alternatives.
  2. Brainstorm for Opportunities – Teams are often not used to thinking rigorously about opportunity and instead focus only on risk. It requires practice for it to become a routine part of thinking but involve all the key team members and encourage all to contribute. It could be that a QS has a Value Engineering opportunity, or a Site Manager sees an upcoming potential variation – the key point is, everyone can add value to the conversation.
  3. Be Disciplined – Discipline is required to manage the register. This includes updating the list before meetings and agreeing on what items should be acted upon, by what time and by whom. In the early stages of the project, longer meetings with the team may be needed to discuss the register.

If you’d like a copy of a Risks and Opportunities Register, we have a template available – just get in touch via email.


About Paul Heming

Paul was a Quantity Surveyor who gained 10 years experience of managing £200 million worth of flagship UK projects, including 20 Fenchurch Street and Battersea Power Station. In 2015, Paul founded C-Link with the intention of sharing his expertise of managing major projects with the SME market.

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