Cloth $28.00 ISBN: 9780226472676 Published October 2007
Paper $17.00 ISBN: 9780226472690 Published September 2008
E-book $7.00 to $17.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226472706 Published September 2008

Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets

How to Fix America's Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry

Barry B. LePatner with Robert E. Wright and Timothy C. Jacobson

Barry B. LePatner with Robert E. Wright and Timothy C. Jacobson

With Robert E. Wright and Timothy C. Jacobson
240 pages | 7 line drawings | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2007
Cloth $28.00 ISBN: 9780226472676 Published October 2007
Paper $17.00 ISBN: 9780226472690 Published September 2008
E-book $7.00 to $17.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226472706 Published September 2008
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  
Daniel Gross, “Moneybox” columnist for Slate.com
“Construction, a $1 trillion industry, is a bedrock of the mighty U.S. economy. But as Barry LePatner shows, it operates with an efficiency more characteristic of the old Soviet Union. Broken BuildingsBusted Budgets proves that waste, overspending, and economic irrationality pervade the industry, burdening consumers, taxpayers, and shareholders with enormous costs. As important, it lays out a blueprint for reform.”
A. Eugene Kohn, Chairman, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
“Everyone in construction, from owners to contractors, from architects to construction workers, should read this book. Those who do will surely join Mr. LePatner in his crusade to fix an industry so vitally important to the way we live.”
Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA
“As a leading construction industry attorney, Barry LePatner knows the industry as well as anyone—warts and all. Here he sends a strong warning to owners, agencies, and institutions charged with constructing or renovating the built environment to get their act together and radically rethink their business practices. He not only zeroes in on the industry’s shortcomings but also offers up cures.”
Mark A. Smith, Ernst & Young LLP
“Not since The Business Roundtable raised the red flag over 25 years ago on the ineffective use of construction dollars and its impact on the global economy has a treatise provided in-depth reasoning on the culprits. Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets provides deep insight as to why the construction industry has not corrected faults to mitigate such excessive construction cost overruns and has even begin to accept these everyday occurrences as the norm. Barry LePatner describes how the U.S. government and even our nation’s most respected corporations fall prey to the inefficient practices of all parties involved in a major construction project—contractors, designers, workers, unions and suppliers.  From his insights it is clear that we need to instigate a critical examination on improving this critical sector of our economy.”
Leonard Koven, P.E. Partner, AKF Engineers LLP
“Sadly, the lack of significant advances and adoption of construction technology improvements has greatly contributed to the broken building environment in which we now operate. It is imperative for architectural and engineering schools to educate their students to work collaboratively with contractors and other project stakeholders to ensure more assured budget and schedule success. Barry LePatner’s insightful words are right on target.”
Ramon Gilsanz, P.E. Partner, Gilsanz, Murray, Steficek LLP
“Out-of-control construction costs have a real potential to damage the economy. They have certainly led to a disruptive relationship between design professionals who draft construction documents, the contractors who build from them and the clients who usually end up paying for the resulting cost overrun. Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets identifies the sources of and proposes solutions for mitigating construction cost overruns.”
Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution
“I found it definitely a worthwhile and stimulating read. A must for anyone interested in the economics of construction.” –Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
James R. Hagerty | Wall Street Journal
“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.”
Charles Euchner | CommonWealth
"LePatner does policymakers a great service by directing our attention inside the balck box of the construction industry. As he shows, the housing crisis and other problems in the construction industry stem not just from a lack of public investment . . . but the very structure of the industry."
Contents
List of Figures
Acknowledgements
Introduction

ONE
Overbudget and Overdue

TWO
The Economic Context of Construction

THREE
False Starts and Frustrated Beginnings: A History of the Industry

FOUR
Asymmetric Information: The Big Barrier to Change

FIVE
Minor Blemishes: Unions, Workers, and Government

SIX
Fixing the Construction Industry: Consolidation, Intermediaries, and Innovation

SEVEN
Practical Advice to Owners for Getting Started Now

Notes
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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