Book Reviews, Press & Endorsements

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Owner's Toolbox

Owner's Toolbox
November 8, 2010

Design-Build Best at Controlling Costs
November 8, 2010
By Lee Poechmann

“I recently completed Barry LePatner’s book, Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets (BBBB), and if I were a copy editor with a hook to write it would be: ‘LePatner Book Endorses Design-Build’. Considering BBBB is a book focused on why buildings cost so much and how to solve that, I would say the above headline as a thesis is news.”



Business Bookshelf

"Getting Hammered," By James R. Hagerty, December 5, 2007; p D9

"Every now and then, a major construction project is completed on time and on budget. Everyone is amazed.

"Barry LePatner, a New York lawyer specializing in construction cases, thinks this exception should become the rule. Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets outlines his proposals for making that possible.

"Mr. LePatner's swift kick to the construction industry comes when it is already down. Commercial construction is slowing, and house building is in a severe slump, partly caused by a glut of new homes erected by overly optimistic builders even before the subprime crisis made it harder to find qualified buyers. The downturn will apply the wrecking ball to many of the weaker construction companies. But that won't be enough, according to Mr. LePatner. He argues that the industry will become efficient only when its customers become savvier and more demanding.

"Mr. LePatner isn't alone in deploring the often hidebound ways of the construction business. Ara Hovnanian, chief executive of home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., likes to describe the methods commonly used by his industry as '200 years of tradition unhampered by progress'...."


****************************** "Picks of the Month," March 2008

"The collapse last year of the Minneapolis bridge came as a shock to Americans who assume their bridges and other major infrastructure is safe. It isn�t! Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets tells the real story....This is one of those important books that tend to get overlooked. Don�t! This is a true national priority."


Contract, November 2007 issue: Book Review

For architects sick of being relegated to the sidelines of the construction process, Barry B. LePatner, Esq., a New York-based construction attorney and founder of the law firm LePatner & Associates, has some good news. Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America's Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry reveals how the construction industry needs reform, and how architects can fill an important role in launching the process. The book identifies the direction the industry should take, and offers advice on how architects can improve their value by more fully dedicating themselves to the owner's project business objectives.

LePatner builds a case for change to a risk-averse construction industry plagued with bad management, a shortage of capital investment, and ineffective supervision. He pinpoints two main issues perpetuating the industry's problems: The lack of true, fixed-price construction contracts and the absence of intermediaries who aggressively represent owner interests. It is here, by stepping back into the intermediary role, that architects can reclaim power in the construction process.

"Architects with the guts to assume added responsibility and the foresight to change their focusand help change an industry will thrive," states LePatner. "Shaping a new construction paradigm will be a challenge, for owner, architect, and contractor alike. The architect who meets this challenge head on will reap the rewards of increased status, fees, and value to its clients."


See the review from the Changing Construction blog, November 15, 2007.


Endorsements and praise from construction industry leaders for Broken Buildings:

"As an architect I am aware of the positive impact that quality design and construction have on the built environment and its influence on all our lives. As construction costs rise, many times due to the inefficiency of the construction industry, owners are forced to make last minute compromises to the design including changes of materials all lowering the quality of the project and increasing maintenance costs etc. It's so refreshing to see someone finally taking a serious look at the problems and the solution. 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."
A. Eugene Kohn, FAIA
Chairman, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

"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 Buildings 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."
Daniel Gross, columnist for the New York Times and Slate, and author of Pop! Why Bubbles are Great for the Economy

"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."
Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA
Author, Writing for Design Professionals and Building Type Basics for Performing Arts Facilities

"For those of us in the industry for 30 plus years, so many of today's projects simply don't progress as smoothly as they once did because parties today are focused on pushing the risk to the other team member. Barry LePatner is certainly 'bold' in expressing this comprehensive view of historical industry data and solutions to make things better. It will certainly ruffle some feathers, but his recommended solutions for industry improvement should not be discounted but rather discussed."
D. Clark Pile, P.E., Senior Vice President
Hill International

"Not since The Business Roundtable raised the red flag over 25 years ago on the in-effective use of construction dollars and its impact on the global economy has a treatise provided in-depth reasoning on the culprits. Broken Buildings 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."
Mark A. Smith, Managing Director
Ernst & Young LLP

"LePatner has been addressing and serving architects and owners for many years about how to avoid falling prey to the cost and schedule complexities of a construction project. In this book, he pulls together historical facts, motivations, and realities of the construction industry with real insight. LePatner sounds the clarion call that changes must be made to fix the many problems besetting the design and construction process for the benefit of all involved with or affected by construction - whether architect, owner, contractor or taxpayer."
R. Randall Vosbeck, FAIA,
Former President of the American Institute of Architects

"As an Honorary AIA member, Barry LePatner has been a valued friend to the architectural community for over thirty years. This book is yet another reason why the profession owes him thanks. LePatner draws in detail the declining role of the architect in the construction process, yet finds shining examples of those who are leading the profession into the future. Broken Building details an important story that has national implications for cost savings to all Americans."
Harold L. Adams, FAIA
Former Chairman of RTKL, current Chairman of the Design Build Institute

"Out of control construction costs have a real potential to damage the economy. They have certainly led many times 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 cost overrun. Broken Buildings identifies the sources of, and proposes solutions for, construction cost overruns."
Ramon Gilsanz, P.E., Principal
Gilsanz Murray Steficek 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 on how to work collaboratively with contractors and other project stakeholders to ensure budget and schedule success."
Leonard Koven, P.E., Principal
Atkinson Koven Feinberg Engineers LLP

"I just ordered two copies of your new book. One for me and one for one of the leading general contractors in the ...area who knows how to organize and who I believe would work towards a change in the current system....I take my hat off to you for undertaking a task like this, and look for you to get the industry and government agencies and private owners then the financial world to realize the potential."
Frank W. Munzer, FAIA

"Embarrassingly accurate critique. I hope not one of my customers reads your book. :-) "
Fernando Pagés Ruiz: Brighton Construction Company

"Owners should be mad as Hell and not take it any more! That is the theme of Barry LePatner's book. This book is a must read for any owner contemplating or currently involved in the construction of a building."
Critical Path Mechanics

  ©2007 Barry B. LePatner. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.