The 'Iron Triangle' you should embrace

As an architectural practice we are perpetual optimists. Every new project we undertake is a fresh start, a chance to do things quicker, cheaper, better. 

There’s something that every student architect is taught at university and that’s the Time Quality Cost Triangle, otherwise known as the ‘Triple Constraint’, the ‘Project Triangle’ or the ‘Iron Triangle’.

“You can’t have it all – and believe me we’ve tried!”

There are many iterations of this, depending on what you’re using it for, but what it essentially means is that you can have any two side of the triangle at one time.  For the purposes of home construction projects we think the term ‘Quality’ can also be interchanged with ‘Complexity’. 

If you want your project quickly and to a high quality… it’s going to take money.  If you want it cheap but complicated… it’s going to take time. And, yes… you got it, if you want it cheap and fast, you’ll need to keep things simple. 

We’ve spent the last ten years trying to break the triangle, but it turns out it’s called ‘Iron’ for a reason! It’s so reliable that it feels like an old friend. Essentially what it is saying is that you can’t have it all – and believe me we’ve tried!

This shouldn’t be seen as a dampener on your ambitions, but a tool to allow you to analyse and prioritise what is most important for you and most critical for your project. You can then gleefully forge ahead with trying to achieve all three but with an understanding of which will have to give when push comes to shove.

Analysing your ambitions in terms of Time Quality Cost, and what that means for your project, is something we cover in our Getting Started Course.  For more information about the Getting Started Course, click here >>

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