Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America's Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2008 - Architecture - 229 pages
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Across the nation, construction projects large and small—from hospitals to schools to simple home improvements—are spiraling out of control. Delays and cost overruns have come to seem “normal,” even as they drain our wallets and send our blood pressure skyrocketing. In Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets, prominent construction attorney Barry B. LePatner builds a powerful case for change in America’s sole remaining “mom and pop” industry—an industry that consumes $1.23 trillion and wastes at least $120 billion each year.

With three decades of experience representing clients that include eminent architects and engineers, as well as corporations, institutions, and developers, LePatner has firsthand knowledge of the bad management, ineffective supervision, and insufficient investment in technology that plagues the risk-averse construction industry. In an engaging and direct style, he here pinpoints the issues that underlie the industry’s woes while providing practical tips for anyone in the business of building, including advice on the precise language owners should use during contract negotiations.

Armed with Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets, everyone involved in the purchase or renovation of a building or any structure—from homeowners seeking to remodel to civic developers embarking on large-scale projects—has the information they need to change this antiquated industry, one project at a time.

“LePatner describes what is wrong with the current system and suggests ways that architects can help—by retaking their rightful place as master builders.”—Fred A. Bernstein, Architect Magazine “Every now and then, a major construction project is completed on time and on budget. Everyone is amazed. . . . Barry LePatner thinks this exception should become the rule. . . . A swift kick to the construction industry.”—James R. Hagerty, Wall Street Journal

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User Review  - DavidGerstel - LibraryThing

I am a little surprised at the low rating Broken Buildings gets here. Perhaps I am so favorably disposed to it because LePatner cites my own work about 50 times (that is flattering). I do agree that ... Read full review


ONE Overbudget and Overdue
TWO The Economic Context of Construction
A History of the Industry
The Big Barrier to Change
Unions Workers and Government
Consolidation Intermediaries and Innovation
SEVEN Practical Advice to Owners for Getting Started Now

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About the author (2008)

Barry B. LePatner is recognized as one of the nation's leading construction lawyers. He is founder of one of the first boutique law firms primarily representing corporations, institutions, and real estate developers on major construction projects and coauthor of Structural and Foundation Failures.

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