Our clients receive interior architecture, interior design, and project management from us as a team. Irene and her team handle interior architecture and interior designing, while Ian and his team are available on-site and mostly by phone as part of our in-house project management group.
One of the most common questions that we receive from our clients in the early stages is whether or not there is a real need for a dedicated project manger and what the value of such a manager is.
We share with you why it is so important to have a project manger on any large-scale renovation or refurbishment project. Also, why working closely with the project manager and design team will make the project more profitable.
What is project management?
Project management, in general, refers to the overall process of managing a project, including the budget, execution, and all team members necessary for completing a construction project.
The luxury residential sector has a project manager who is responsible for making sure that each element of the project is properly planned, costed, communicated with all stakeholders, reviewed and approved, and delivered on time and within budget. Project managers in luxury residential and hospitality markets also need to have a healthy dose design flair and creativity to make sure that the clients’ unique, creative and innovative ideas are delivered seamlessly.
Successful project management teams always think at least five steps ahead. This applies to everything from planning permissions, financial checks and consultant appointments to budgeting and sourcing craftsmen, as well as all paperwork, insurance and health regulations.
What is the importance of project management?
Great project management can make all the difference in a project. A project’s architecture, interior design, and overall design can all be stunning, but if key milestones and deadlines are missed, budgets spiral outof control, and small details are not taken into consideration, it can quickly become overwhelming and overrun. A homeowner who has invested significant amounts in the renovation or construction of their home can find that a finished product is not perfect. This can seriously impact the enjoyment of the space.
Clients often consider that their main contractor, architect, designer or even them can assume the role of project manager for no extra cost. This approach can be done by a seasoned client who has worked on a few projects and has a great team. However, it is not something we recommend to the novice or faint-hearted.
Project management is often a full-time job in high-end residential developments. The project management team will have access to a wide network of trusted contractors, suppliers, manufacturers, and have a set of project checklists and programmes. They will also bring a wealth experience in contract management and cost planning.
A ‘white-box’ finish on a house built from scratch could be achieved with five trades, but the average project will have well over 20 trades working on the fixed elements. It is easy to correct mistakes with a white-box finish and it is very cost-friendly. However, this is not the case for luxury interiors. It is possible to make costly errors due to ineffective communication, poor programming approvals, ineffective design approvals, or ineffective programming. It can be very frustrating to have to ruin wall finishes due to a minor electrical or mechanical element not being tested properly. Even worse, a custom-made centerpiece staircase delivered one centimeter too short because of missed communications. It is also quite distressing when stone floors are damaged because of an incorrect order. There are hundreds of elements to approve and review, so mistakes can be costly and easy to make.
Project management is often more about anticipating problems than solving them. The project manager works closely with the architect and designer to understand the requirements of the building and ensure that the site execution follows them. The project management team has years of experience, which makes it much easier.
Let’s talk money
Budgets are something that many architects and designers avoid until the tender phase of a project. It is not due to a lack in knowledge. Budgets are second-fiddle to the design work. This is where you need to have a good relationship with your designer and your project manager.
Clients have a budget or want to know how much money they can spend on projects that are’money-isno-object’. A large portion of luxury interiors will be spent on the finishing touches. This will vary depending on the project.
The project managers can give clients an early estimate of the budget and help them to create a budget guide.
A project manager can support and provide checks and balances to the design team by suggesting value engineering areas, proposing alternate finishes or materials, and managing the effects of key design elements on construction programmes. Sometimes a small change to the design can save you weeks of work and reduce costs.
How do I know if my project manager is doing a good job?
We believe that the best indicator of project management effectiveness is when you ask yourself why you paid for it in the first place. It all seems like a lot of effort for little reward.
Project managers are often only given the spotlight when things go wrong. It is possible to have a good day, but it does not always happen by chance. Behind the scenes, there are many emails, calls, and meetings. There is also a lot of paperwork that keeps the project moving along smoothly. Your project manager deserves credit if you feel that the move-in process was enjoyable and smooth.
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