What happened

The total floor area was 27000m2. Only 11000m2 was used for offices, the remainder being storage rooms, basement, halls, corridors, staircases, and the like (Fig. 6.2). A renovation plan was made including a calculation of the costs involved. A decision for execution was, however, postponed for years. First, a new wing had to be built. This extension was very urgent, for the Ministry had rapidly grown in its number of employees.

When the new wing was completed in 1985, the whole building was reviewed in the light of the user's requirements and general norms for offices at that time. It was established that it would be possible - according to generally accepted user norms and floor space calculation rules - for the building to accommodate 1 550 people (in the new wing and old building) on a functionally usable area of 21 230 m2, at an average of 13.70 m2 per person. Naturally, the new wing already satisfied these modern norms. The old building, as could be expected, came nowhere near.

A preliminary budget was reserved in 1985: on the basis of experience with similar buildings a budget of € 6.81 million was considered appropriate for both renovation and achieving an efficient layout. In 1988, a project team started with the assignment to make a renovation plan related to both technical maintenance and modernisation of the interior. The new layout had to accommodate 1100 people in the old building. The first plans and calculations

Figure 6.1 Former KLM head office, Plesmanweg, The Hague (Binnekamp, 1995, p. 1)

Figure 6.2 Floorplan of former klm head office

indicated that an investment of about € 13.18 million would be required. After some negotiation, the preliminary budget of € 6.81 million was increased to € 10.22 million. The cost of the complete renovation had to be kept below this ceiling.

The project team proceeded and made a second plan within the limits of the budget. A detailed architectural design was made for one wing and immediately implemented. At the same time, the renovation of the next wing was prepared. It then emerged that another layout was preferred as a result of an internal reorganisation.

This revised layout was actually implemented. In the preparation for the third wing the ideas changed again and these changes were also incorporated. The renovation was completed in 1992. € 14.54 million had been spent to accommodate only 853 people. The renovation process extended over a number of years. Plans had been revised after each completed phase. As a result, decisions on different parts of the building lacked interconnection. The effects of decisions on the functioning of the building as a whole, was lost out of sight, which made cost control extremely difficult. Cost savings through appropriate combination between new desirable office layouts, alternative allocations of budgets, and specific distributions of workplaces across the building could not be achieved. Such combinations were not even considered by the project team, because - in line with the prevailing PI project management approach concerning goal setting (Aspect 1) - the project team was not allowed to redefine goals and objectives during the process. These were set at the start.

This gave rise to a design process in which initially agreed design solutions could not be changed. Consequently, standardisation was dominant, well-known solutions for office layouts were chosen (Aspect 10). New solutions and new combinations of these solutions were not considered, as they would have made the project more complicated. Conflict resolution was simplified by using the hierarchic power structure to resolve stale mate situations. In other words, when there is a renovation problem, just spent more money to solve it instead of aiming at synthesis based on valid information (Aspect 3).

In retrospect, it is understandable that the project was negatively evaluated. The owner had to pay twice the budget for only three quarters of the initially agreed functional output.

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