The realization that things are not working out – and that it’s time to cut losses – is never easy and requires difficult decisions.  In the long run, making difficult decisions can be worth it if the project is successfully completed or taxpayer dollars are saved.  

This happened with a project to build a wind turbine drive-train test facility. Bringing a high dollar, high capital asset facility online requires a range of complex and overlapping activities such as designing, permitting, constructing, and commissioning.  To meet the schedule, specialized skills were needed to successfully complete key activities.  However, a few months into the project, it became clear that the sub-recipient lacked the requisite skills to design this particular type of facility.

The primary recipient had two options:  1) keep this sub-recipient in place –  maintaining the schedule, but increasing the project’s overall risk; or 2) replace the sub-recipient, risking a scheduling delay and the potential for increased costs.

The decision was made to follow option 2.  Despite an initial three-month delay and a need to slightly revise the schedule, the new design and build contractor brought more experience to the table, including the recent completion of a similar project. The test facility is now expected to be completed within cost and on schedule – due to the recipient’s willingness to make changes when necessary.