For many Owners, undertaking a capital improvement project is not something they do all the time. What is often viewed as Owners getting in their own way of a construction project is really the owner continuing to learn about the design and construction process while it is underway.
Here are some helpful tips from several Owner’s Reps that commented on the subject in a LinkedIn discussion group:
1. Encumbrance stems from Owner’s thinking maintenance staff intuitively understands the Design and Construction process, but by no fault of their own they don’t. They just have not been properly trained. Include maintenance folks from the project’s beginning. Instilling ownership and confidence are the key ingredients in winning over the maintenance staff. They may know their equipment backwards and forwards, but they unfortunately do not have the training needed to read drawings and specifications. Take the time and make the effort to help them do just that. Listen to understand their needs and skill levels.
2. Avoid making changes in program/objectives during construction.
3. Reconcile conflict between budget and program objectives before pricing is received.
4. Avoid cumbersome, multi-layered decision-making process.
5. Identify and involve from the start all stake-holders within the ownership.
6. Avoid paralysis by analysis – constantly stopping or slowing the design process to have consultants study cost/benefit of different solutions.
7. Invest the time with key personnel such as administration, maintenance, and perhaps most importantly the user groups during the schematic design phase. A couple of listening sessions, along with individual plan review sessions, can help protect the integrity of the bid documents, and reduce the costly modifications that may occur during construction.
8. Coordinate owner supplied equipment/FF&E with MEP design team.
9. Avoid “I’ve got a guy”. Some subcontractors and vendors have direct ties to a client’s board of directors or senior staff. By trying to be a good corporate citizen sometimes allows unqualified subs/vendors to participate in a project.
10. Don’t Fast Track. Keep the inspecting agencies (permit issuers and to some extent insurers) up to date with revisions. Having a final inspection for an occupancy permit occur where the stamped set differs so much from the current “for construction” set is embarrassing and could piss off the inspector so much they say “NO … re-submit it all”.