halls120 wrote:What do you attribute these failures to?
Politicians love big projects. They love the thought of erecting a monument to themselves.
But we are neck-high in debt, so spending billions on prestigious projects is nothing you can sell to the electorate.
So politicians and construction companies, both set on the goal of being allowed to spend tax payer money for a grand project, are looking for ways to plan the project in a way that makes it look like it would not cost that much money after all. If that project plan works is secondary. At this point, you don't need a plan that works, you need a plan that the electorate will buy.
Now you tender the project. We have all sort of red tape, originating both from Brussels and Berlin, and sometimes even the state capital, so you have to be very careful how to do it. You may not be able to select just one company to handle the entire project (which might increase the chances for the project to succeed, as more companies will cause internal friction, lack of coordination, and, in the end, failure). Instead, you may have to award different parts of the project to different companies.
In the end, one or more companies will be awarded the contracts. Based on a plan that cannot work, and on a funding that won't even cover a fragment of the actual costs.
And so the project begins. The next target is to reach V1 as quickly as possible. The mere existence of a V1 in a construction project is exclusive to tax-payer funded projects. Every businessman knows the principle of sunk costs, and that it does not make sense to throw good money after bad money. If a business venture goes wrong, the entrepreneur will pull the plug.
In a public project, the politician will look for ways to convince the electorate that there is no alternative to increasing the budget (i.e.: spending more taxpayer money).
The project companies will assist him in that mission. After all, they will get that additional money.
Construction and project companies know this. And they consider it from day one. They have experts who, during the tender, do nothing else than scanning the tender documents for weaknesses (and, considering that it was politicians who created the docs, will find plenty of them), and calculate at which point they will be able to increase the budget by how much.
So for the project companies, this is part of the initial planning already. And it is essential for them, because if the project would go exactly as it was tendered in the first draft, it would ruin the project companies. Keep in mind, they had to keep the figures low, so that the politician could sell the plan to the electorate.
So the question is: did the BER project really fail? Did the Hamburg Opera and the other projects really fail?
Or aren't things in fact going according to plan, and it's just that the plan was never really introduced to the people who pay the bills, as those who made the plan, and benefit from it, knew they could not sell it to the people who funded the project?
Tin-foil hat theory? Maybe. But I know a thing or two about project business, and that is often how it works. When I am bidding for a (private) project, I will often bid on basis of my buying costs. Sometimes even below. I know that I won't get the project if I added a profit. But I know that, in a larger project, things will not always go according to plan. And when the plan stops working for reasons beyond my responsibility, I usually start earning money. And quite often, I will know in the tender stage already when and where things will go wrong later on.
In private business, this isn't even a problem. The client plays his trump cards in the tender phase, when service providers are battling for the business. And as a service provider, I play my trump cards in the project phase, whenever problems occur due to a lack of planning on the client's side, and the client essentially has no other choice than to pay whatever I am asking for solving his problems. I won't overdo it, though. After all, I still want to do business with the client later on.
And there is another difference in public projects. The service providers care rats ass for the client, as the client is a) a politician whom they will never have to deal with again, and b) the taxpayer who doesn't even begin to understand what's going on. So the providers can rip off their clients big time. Which is exactly what they are doing.
What could be done to prevent this?
Start with a realistic planning. Have the initial planning and tender documents reviewed by at least 1, better 2 independent consulting agencies. After they give thumbs-up to the budget, increase it by another 40%. Then tender the project.
But of course, that would mean that the politicians would have to tell the electorate from the getgo how much the shiny new airport, shiny new opera house, shiny new railway station etc. would cost.
Amd then the electorate might come to the (correct) conclusion that we cannot afford the project, and that the cost-benefit-ratio makes it unreasonable to build it anyway.
And then the project would not be built.
And then the politician would not have a monument, and the project company wouldn't have their pockets full of taxpayer money.
And that's why it won't happen.
Tl;dr: we're screwed. Again.
Yes, the new EU copyright directive is that stupid.