Project Manager Eric Lakin is a strict task master when it comes to his development
process flow charts.
The chart is color-coded according to
responsibility, assigning different tasks to
the owner, owner’s representative, design
team, and contractor.
In tandem with the flow chart, Lakin
has worked out a detailed timeline with
the architect. They’ve allowed one and a
half months to determine the programming needs of the building; three months
for design development; and another
month and a half to produce construction documents.
“You need to have timelines for ac-
countability. Without timelines, it can be-
come a ‘we’ll just get to’ situation,” Lakin
says. To develop realistic timelines, “we’ll
sit with the partners, we’ll sit with the third
parties and ask whether this is a reason-
able timeline. You can do it the other way,
too. You can say, ‘Oh, we’ve got to be done
by this date,’ and that becomes your time-
line. But that doesn’t work. It’s all about
whether these timelines are reasonable.”
tectural drawings to how they want the
drawings labeled,” Lakin says. It gets
worse: Lakin can’t even submit the HUD
application until the city first signs off on
the plan, a process that can take 30 to 60
days. That’s a big window of uncertainty.
Work in Progress
Diligent as Lakin may be in his efforts
to schedule the progress of work, there
are some things he can’t control. For example, the project is being funded with
loans backed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),
a body whose process is both laborious
“HUD has a book two inches thick
about every step of this process, from
the soils report to the form of the archi-
Words to the Wise
Keep these tips in mind when launching a new project:
n Keep a flow chart. Carlton’s is color coded and includes detailed tasks for everyone from the
owner to the contractor.
n Anticipate and plan for variables. Carlton’s project includes HUD funds, so project manager
Eric Lakin built the schedule around the HUD process.
n consider interior design before construction. Carlton worked with its architect to talk about
the level and quality of finishes from a business—not just aesthetic—standpoint. Affordability
is a major consideration.
n ensure leaders talk early and often. Carlton has engaged all levels of management in the
process to get an end product that meets the broadest possible need.