BRM is frequently asked by clients how to do more with less – and we love these questions.
Project managers justify their fees when clients need strong advice to deliver challenging projects.
We're not convinced project managers genuinely add value guiding a project that has the budget of a developing nation’s GDP and timeline of a space-shuttle launch.
Here are our TOP 10 suggestions to maximise impact on your next project.
Many projects are started late and then rush the property selection and negotiations, in a frantic attempt to recapture lost time for the design and fitout. Accelerating the search stage compromises landlord negotiations and has no allowance for stalls and false starts. Start early, review your existing lease for vacation timing and build contingency into each project stage.
2. FIND A QUALITY EXISTING FITOUT
The current property market offers a myriad of options from fully refurbished open plan tenancies, partial fitouts through to fitted walk-up starts. When taking a refurbished empty space ensure the landlord’s incentive and your remaining budget will cover the required works, otherwise we recommend looking for a high quality fitted workspace. The trick is selecting a space that suits your needs and layout, so you are not shoe-horned into another organisation’s setup. Tweaks and upgrades to the potential fitout are recommended but steer clear of tired, old fitouts which are black holes for time and money – pay particular attention to the engineering services.
3. NEGOTIATE FOR TERMS TO MARKET
Prospective tenants should know the local and general property market, current incentives and recent deals as well as understanding the levers to use when negotiating with landlords. Rushing to accept an option too early or squeezing the life out of a deal by focusing on the minutia will result in a sub-optimal outcome. Don’t be shy asking for a better deal, know what is a realistic request and look for the signals when it becomes time to back off or walk away.
4. SOURCE QUALITY ADVICE
Knowledge is power. Find consultants that match your project scope, can add value and will ensure your project is well informed through every stage - particularly in the early stages when setting up the budget, timeline, project goals and selecting the space.
5. APPOINT THE RIGHT DESIGNER
Appointing a designer with a skill-set and service offering far above or below your project requirements is volunteering for a world of pain. Plan your project budget, timeline, goals and scope and then assess prospective designers based on their experience, recent client feedback and capabilities.
6. USE THE FITOUT BUDGET STRATEGICALLY
For tight budgets, focus the design on the areas of high priority. Maximise impact using hi-lights and strategic emphasis. Decide on the areas of focus for your organisation, which may be front of house and client areas, the back of house staff work zones or the functional areas such as IT, filing and storage. Re-use existing and source second hand furniture from quality providers for the areas of lower priority.
7. ENSURE THE DESIGN HAS LONGEVITY
In a rapidly changing business world, flexibility is paramount. Fitouts that can’t grow or shrink with your organisation’s changes cost money in the medium and long term. Build projections and flexibility into your project and select workspaces, systems and products capable of evolving with your business.
8. MINIMISE THE DOWNTIME
If time is money, then downtime is truckloads of the stuff. Plan the physical relocation with military precision so that impact is minimised. Staff, consultants and providers must all know their role and deliverables leading up to and on the day of the move. Supervision at both premises for the whole move is recommended, be prepared for decision-making on the day and consider the unpack and post-relocation requirements before the move.
9. DELIVER THE I.T. SEAMLESSLY
Companies can’t function without IT, and your provider will be crucial during the fitout and relocation. Whether in-house or outsourced, the IT contact should be reliable, experienced, plan their components and be kept informed throughout the project. The lead time for service connections must be factored into the programme and contingency solutions are essential.
10. REMEMBER THE MAKE GOOD
The existing space make good and handover are often last minute realisations, which then costs time and money when rushed. If a partial or full make good is required it should be scoped, tendered and delivered before the handover date. Any potential disputes with the outgoing landlord should be identified early and clarified. Clear out contents and dispose of old furniture without committing any environmental crimes.