Now that your project is constructed, the contractor has moved off-site, asbuilts have been filed, and the public is finally enjoying the long-awaited recreation development. While the process may have seemed like it took forever it's really just the beginning of being a proud owner of the recreation facility. You may ask yourself, “Is it functioning as designed?” Typically a new facility will function without a glitch. However, I’d suggest that conducting a post project assessment is a great way to identify problem areas and allow for adjustments to your maintenance practices before they cause you frustrations. The key is identifying problems early. A post project assessment can save you time, energy and money.
Typically, it takes a year or two to appreciate the level of maintenance the facility needs and how the systems are functioning. Especially now that the public is using it and the project has withstood a year or two of weather. Well, this is the perfect time to conduct a post-project assessment of your project. You may ask yourself, “What is a post-project assessment and why do I need that?” Good question, let me explain the benefits for you and the designer of your recreation facility.
A post-project assessment is an analysis of your recreation facility where the consultant and owner walk the site to inspect and evaluate each program or system and score or rank how they are working. As an example, one might do an evaluation of the stormwater treatment on site. Is all the stormwater being collected, treated and detained/released per state law? How are the stormwater swales functioning? Are the plants thriving, weeds are controlled, and the irrigation system working as designed? The assessment can be focused on a singular system but we would suggest a holistic look at the entire facility. Questions you might have are, “Why would we do this? How does this benefit me? What does it cost?” What we have found is that in doing the post-project assessment the owner can identify potential problem areas and figure out solutions with the designer. In most cases, minor issues are found, but every once in a while we find situations due to wear or usage that need to be addressed. Conducting an assessment early will allow you to look at your facility holistically and gain a better appreciation of how the system functions, how the public is using it, and identify what future improvements you might want to consider in the future.
The benefits to you as the owner by conducting a post-project assessment ranges based on the type and size of the facility. In general, we found that conducting the assessment early on will save on long term maintenance costs, reduces potential liability, and ensures public safety. As important, it is a learning opportunity for both the owner and the designer. By assessing each system on a site you gain an appreciation for the design intent and a clear understanding of how the facility is actually functioning. The built environment and public use create unanticipated and detrimental impacts. Left unaddressed these become problematic, create liability issues, and are just plain eye sores.
Costs for a post-project assessment vary based on the size and complexity of the facility. Typically it is a day of your time, then the development of a summary report, and recommendations. However, we would suggest doing an assessment as you’ll benefit from this process; save on long term maintenance costs, potentially reduce your risk from a lawsuit or fines, or increased revenue due to increased public use. As important, for the design team and the owner, it is also an educational experience. The lessons learned from conducting the post-project assessment can be used on your next project or recreation improvement. We have also found that this evaluation will guide the design approach and material selection saving time and money during the design phase.
In the end, what you will find is that the process is painless and you’ll appreciate your project even more after the assessment. It will provide you with a better understanding of how the facility is supposed to function, what was successful, and what to avoid in the future. So whether it is including budget and scope for a post-project assessment at the beginning of a project or conducting the assessment a year or two after completion you’ll benefit from the process both as a learning opportunity or reduce your long term maintenance costs and liability.
Have you participated in a Post Project Assessment? Let's discuss - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org