Are construction and relocation consultants problem solvers, troubleshooters, or specialty service providers?

The primary business of our clients may be in the field of education, medical, broadcast facilities or non-profitsis.  But the in and outs of construction and relocation is not their expertise. That is where the consultant comes in. But most owners and tenants have a hard time differentiating construction consultants from construction managers, since a lot of them specialize in a link of the pre-construction or construction chain. This was topic of discussion in a recent LinkedIn group.

Consultants are all – problem solvers, troubleshooters, and specialty services providers.  They have expertise in their particular field and furnish advice, information, judgment and knowledge over and above with respect to a defined issue. Construction managers are the leaders of the on-site construction project with a role to ensure that all manners of work and teh trades are carried out efficiently and with the utmost skill that is critical and essential to a successful project. Services provided by a consultant usually expand outside the scope as it pertains to a particular area, issue or problem.

It is beneficial to include a consultant early in the development process with periodic checks as the project progresses. This type of preventative consulting assistance is far less expensive than last minute crisis mode intervention. Of course, many clients only engage a consultant when a crisis has developed.

How do you differentiate the value? In other words, is there an ROI for intangibles? The added value is many:

• The prevention of adversarial relations and contractual conflict.

• Cost of inspection tools, equipment, and other materials required to perform tasks. (this alone could easily blow the budget)

• The lack of time, experience, or training of in-house people.

• The proper and effective enforcement of issues related to project.

• The enforcement and enhancement of the quality control.

How do you quantify the value created by a consultant’s actions against the cost of  their services?  ROI is often not just easily assessed at the initial stage of construction. There are many factors affecting it like the change of design, additional works, delay due to force majeure, inexperienced engineers, subcontractors and the list goes on.

The cost of a consultant is usually a very small portion of a project and will not only increase the profitability, it will deliver both short term and a long-term return on investment.

While is important to have a selling point when offering services to a potential client, it’s virtually impossible to establish a monetary value to the consulting service. Consultants should be honest and simply cite history in what they may have saved a client in the past and define the situation.

Working with the owners to come up with the best contractors, increasing energy efficiency during the design phase, implementing a phased relocation plan that minimizes disruption and generally being there to advise on any problem issues gives the client real value of the intangible…peace of mind..  What is that worth? You can’t quantify emotions. Peace of mind comes from trust. And trust comes from behavior displayed over time with someone or third-party reputation collateral.

1 Comment on Are construction and relocation consultants problem solvers, troubleshooters, or specialty service providers?

  1. Caroline Smillie // August 27, 2012 at 7:49 am // Reply

    I think the role of a consultant, a relocation/move manager consultant for the sake of this conversation, is always underestimated. I have worked on a number of relocation projects from very large organisations of 3000 plus people and helipads to one man and his dog. Usually the very large organisation who uses consultants regularly know the value of getting them in early to alleviate the stress and utilise their experience, but the smaller companies, I think always feels it will be a lot of money and they can probably manage in-house what they would pay for externally however, in my experience in house departments are good at what they do and have the time to do their job but not for organising a large relocation that requires all their time and energy and then some. A relocation consultant alleviates a lot of stress for the end user and ensures that all divisions that are required to get the job done, do actually work together not just for their own end. An external consultant also managed to hear and see what an internal contact wouldn’t and as a fresh pair of eyes with plenty of experience a consultant is able to lead them away from disaster and get the end user on board and excited to be part of the project.

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