Major projects with GCM

Major projects – still attracting criticism

Major construction projects in Germany – especially public-sector projects – have been a source of embarrassment for years. Even people outside Germany are shaking their heads in disbelief at the project delays and astronomical cost blowouts that are damaging Germany’s reputation as a technology leader.  

Some of the projects affected are major infrastructure projects, such as the BER International Airport in Berlin or the renovation of well-known cultural institutions such as the Staatstheater Stuttgart. And this is happening despite the fact that the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure published a ‘Guideline for Major Projects’ in 2018, based on the findings of a panel of experts from industry, the business and scientific communities, and relevant industry associations. The aim of the guideline is to ensure that the managers of major projects plan and realize large-scale projects in a way that meets budget, schedule and quality requirements.  

The reasons for the failure of major projects have long been known. User processes, client organization and responsibilities are often unclear, and planning specifications incomplete. The forecast costs are often wishful thinking, neither based on reliable projections nor making adequate provision for the risks involved. Planning and construction processes during execution are ineffective. Major projects run too long. Protracted approval processes lead to project interruptions and delays. And finally, those responsible fail to ensure sufficient transparency and misjudge the public’s perception of the project.   

Generally, just one of these problems is enough to cause a complex project to falter. And when several issues coincide, they often reinforce each other. But this could all be avoided: Identified problems can be solved if all parties put the common interest ahead of their self-interest. 

Drees & Sommer’s practical management experience allows large-scale projects to be executed on schedule, within budget and to the specified quality. This is clearly demonstrated by numerous examples, including Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Center, and the complex renovation of Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt. But an optimal process can only be achieved if the client is willing to define their goals precisely, adhere to them, organize themselves professionally, and make quick and clear decisions after appropriate preparation.