So, your organisation is about to launch into a Corporate Real Estate (CRE) project. Perhaps new office premises?
What a fantastic opportunity to ensure your new premises provide maximum benefit to the stakeholders of your organisation. Your new premises should be an enabler to your people, a project led by your organisation under the guidance of the right specialists and delivered on time and budget.
From Feasibility Studies through to Development Management, we are involved in our clients’ CRE projects in many ways. Whoever the client and whatever role we play, we commonly observe fundamental elements which, had the client had done differently, unnecessary cost and lapsed time overruns could be avoided.
To minimise cost and lapsed time overruns, before your project progresses from the initiating to the planning phase, we strongly recommend you ensure that you can answer ‘YES’ to the following three questions:
- Do you have your housekeeping in order?
- Is your decision making process timely and sufficiently robust without being a roadblock to progress?
- Does your procurement methodology ensure you will engage specialists that are right for your project and your organisation?
Housekeeping in order?
In this context, ‘housekeeping’ means ensuring your organisation’s CRE project is sponsored from the top down, and is supported horizontally across management and team leaders.
Opinions and areas of focus among leaders are likely to vary depending on their role and organisational key drivers. If there are leaders who are split on fundamental project principles, ‘naysayers’, or internal bickering, the project will struggle to progress appropriately. We advocate healthy debate in the project’s infancy – replace perceptions with facts from early research and due diligence, park any biases and bring the greater good of the organisation to the fore. Develop a united team that will bring all project stakeholders on the journey together in an ordered and efficient manner.
Timely and robust decision making?
The right time for making and locking in decisions on your CRE project is when the project is still ‘on paper’. In CRE, this is prior to components being frozen in design which is well before the commencement of physical works. Changes after the design has been finalised, and/or when physical works have commenced can be costly and create delays to the project’s programme.
A project’s success is measured by how well its objectives have been realised. Significant decisions should be based on well researched facts which have been accurately collated, sufficiently tested, challenged and peer reviewed. The greater the impact of the decision, the more robust it must be.
The fear of decision making can create roadblocks to progress and create time delays. Equally, rushed or insufficiently informed and considered decisions can be costly, or become lifelong headaches for your organisation.
Timely and robust decision making is possible when your project team consists of a cross section of appropriately skilled, driven and united personnel from within your organisation.
Engaging the right specialists?
CRE projects for an organisation where property is not its core business can be daunting. Specialists need to be brought in early to assist, and to travel the project’s journey with your organisation.
It is necessary to sufficiently do your homework on specialists before you engage them. What is their relative experience, do they ‘fit’ with your organisation’s culture, will they sufficiently challenge your thinking but not be obstacles to progress, or push personal agendas which are not aligned with your organisational needs or philosophy? Do they understand your objectives and what risks are acceptable/unacceptable to your organisation? Do they really buy into ‘one size does not fit all’, or do they just say they do? Do they listen, or will they simply go through the motions and then provide outputs based on their ‘template’? How much do they really care? Do they care because their input will impact on your organisation for many years to come, or do they only care for so long as their fee is at risk? Undertake due diligence on specialists before you bring them into your CRE project team.
An organisation that has its housekeeping in order, a united team, clear project objectives, and timely and robust decision making processes should be well positioned to appoint the right specialists for its CRE project.
Early on in your project, position your organisation to answer ‘YES’ to these three vital questions. Do it once, do it right!