New book examines inefficiencies and waste, offering solutions to recreate the building industry.

The design and construction industry is one of the most inefficient on the planet, wasting billions of dollars a year of public and private owners’ money. Architects, engineers, builders, and developers have struggled in this environment for years. Barbara White Bryson and Canan Yetmen examine this issue and offer solutions in their new book, The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry.

The Owner

Architects are commoditized, and contractors struggle with the same risk they have carried for centuries; critical design information is withheld until the submittal process; no practical risk management instrument has been developed; and buildings are still created one brick at a time.

Owners have played their part in this inefficiency. Some continue to believe in the value myth of competitive bidding, sentencing themselves to be eternally locked in inefficient processes.

But it is owners who can impact the industry most deliberately and aggressively. It is owners who can drive innovation on their projects and create profound change in the industry. In fact, it is owners who are uniquely positioned to innovate. By planning the design and delivery process, becoming team leaders, collaborating deeply throughout the industry, and applying key elements documented in “The Owner’s Dilemma,” owners can summon meaningful and lasting change.

The Owner’s Dilemma explores how best to use the power of the owner and how that power can recreate the building industry.

Praise for the Book

“Every manager of facility acquisition as well as the architects, engineers, construction managers, and builders who work for these new leaders should read this insightful book.” -Charles Thomsen

The Owner’s Dilemma should be required reading for anyone involved in the A/E/C industry — owners, architects, and construction managers alike. It offers a clear diagnosis about what’s wrong with the industry and a compelling vision about how to move forward.” -Scott Simpson

“The Owner’s Dilemma asks us to understand that two things are crucial. First, that each of its five elements is considered individually and given equal weight and second, that the five elements are considered collectively and this collective thinking must be maintained throughout the entire project. If the individual keys are managed well, the collective group will clearly be successful.” -Michael Graves

About the Authors

Barbara White Bryson is the associate vice president for facilities engineering and planning at Rice University. During her 10 years at Rice, she has overseen design and construction projects totaling more than $1 billion that have added more than 2 million gross square feet to the campus. Bryson is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a member of the Design Futures Council and the Association of University Architects.

Canan Yetmen is principal of CYMK Group, an Austin, Texas, consulting firm that provides writing services to architecture and design firms around the country. From 1995 to 2001, she was publisher of Texas Architect magazine, where she directed marketing and business management of the magazine as well as the public outreach and communications efforts of the Texas Society of Architects.

Order the Book

The Owner’s Dilemma can be purchased in the DesignIntelligence bookstore.