Proactive Construction: Partner and Conquer 2

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
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There are many challenges a construction specialist faces, including how to manage scope changes that inevitably impact time, cost and quality.

While this triangle unfortunately will never entirely be eliminated, there are certainly opportunities to combat its effect before it even hits the radar. Engaging early is the key.

When looking to have work done, few companies are completely aware of the complexities of commercial construction. When clients have a construction, refurbishment or new interior fit out need, they require a team of specialists to help define where they want to go. In my experience though, I estimate only 70 per cent of scope certainty is guaranteed during the more traditional pre-construction phase, when they hit the market place for builder tendering.

Conventional engagement models define that the only value a builder can bring during a construction project is throughout the pre-construction or design phase. A construction manager generally joins a program mid-way through the project or asset life cycle, is handed a set of drawings and asked to price and build to the design intent, where there is still uncertainty and often change.

Even when the client is accustomed to the process and has engaged further external traditional consultants such as architects, project managers and quantity surveyors, there are elements of scope certainty that only a construction specialist can bring with valued insight and perspective. Engaging mid-way minimises that impact substantially. Partnering early eliminates it.

Early engagement is a more collaborative alternative which maximises value and reduces uncertainty through the assurance that comes with construction experience. Its worth is initialised in the briefing stage of a project, even before a lease is signed or an asset or site is purchased, and it provides strategic insight into the process ahead. Its benefits are both financial and timely for multi-stakeholders, including in such deals where owner upgrades can be brokered alongside new tenancy requirements, in a mutually favourable way.

This is the fundamental benefit of early engagement; by running parallel with the asset or project life cycle, we can test and ascertain client needs throughout the process to ultimately eliminate costly changes that occur later in a project’s timeline. Therefore, the highest risk is at the beginning, where clarity is needed most. That’s where early engagement has its greatest impact.

This ensures the highest level of risk mitigation, satisfaction and certainty. Buildability and serviceability are accounted for; construction specialists are able to contribute to feasibility studies, provide design input, improve program planning, methodologies, and recommend effective cost management strategies along with product knowledge to aid longevity of an asset.

Becoming part of the decision making process by providing input to educate the decision makers, our expertise across hundreds of challenging projects can be channeled to minimise project impact from technical risk on time, cost, quality and safety.

For any person working in this industry, good client relationships are crucial, and early engagement allows thorough understanding of a client’s needs, creating a more intimate and valued alliance. Early engagement isn’t just about the project itself, but rather a partnership for both tenant and/or owner, to truly contribute and maximise value to an asset or tenancy lifespan. It ensures a more fluid construction process when we arrive at the implementation stage, where project certainty is maximised and projects risks, minimised.

It is really a sum that is greater than its parts. Partner and conquer.

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  1. David Chandler

    Christopher, it would be good to quantify what you think the benefits may be here? Faster – how much? Cheaper – how much? Better quality – how better? Safer construction – how and what metric? Seems to me that partnering has merit but it must offer more than a business as usual outcome on site. Unless there is a measurably better deal for the client why go down this path? No mention of benchmarking of target costing here?
    Construction in the future will need to embrace a new business model. That has yet to be offered by any I have seen. Would be good to nominate examples with independently verified metrics if you are aware of them?

    • Christopher

      Hi David,

      We have actual case studies which can identify relevant cost and time savings for clients and projects, however, we don't like to use a coverall percentage, because every project is unique and has opportunity for scope refinement so that cost and time can be saved. I would be a salesman if I were to tell you I could guarantee a 50% cost and time reduction in all your projects, as like with any partnership, it takes two to tango and agree!

      Would I confidently tell you that we could bring you 99% risk reduction on time and cost blowouts to a project through early consultation and engagement – then the answer is a confident yes!

      If you ever want to discuss particular case studies, we are more than happy to outline these.