Capital Improvement Graphic

You Need to Deliver a Capital Improvement. Now What?

First, picture this:

You’re standing in front of a crowd.

You're holding one end of a giant yellow ribbon. Next to you, a bigwig or two is holding an oversized scissors.

Behind you is a new facility you just delivered.

Someone’s speaking about how it was completed three weeks ahead of time, how it was delivered under budget, how it’s going to be there decades from now.

A *snip* of the scissors.

Cameras flash and the crowd claps. Your team is there among them. A few smiles and handshakes, maybe some cake, then you go home.

Done. Finito. Everyone’s happy. A much-needed capital improvement project is complete.

That’s how it ends. But how did you get there?

In other words, what does a great project beginning look like?

Every capital improvement begins somewhere.

Maybe you just got off a long conference call or stepped out of a meeting in a dim office somewhere. You’ve got some difficult choices ahead, options to consider and some work to do.

How it goes from here is up to you.

First things first.

Success starts with getting the right team on the right foot.

The good thing is, you have a competent staff dedicated to the operations and maintenance of your facility. But, do you have the team you need to deliver your project unhindered? You’re going to want to ask yourself a few important questions, including:

1. How much time does your staff have?
Regardless of the project—whether office build out, new data center, wastewater treatment facility—managing the design and construction process, shepherding it from beginning to end, involves a significant amount of time and effort.
In some cases your staff will be able to juggle these duties. But as we know some are better jugglers than others. And, as with anything, when we do more than one thing at a time, there are compromises.

2. What critical skillsets does your team have? Are you missing any?
In the construction industry, what we don’t know can hurt us.

Big time.

These days, project management is executed by specialists in budgeting, scheduling, procurement, permitting and building codes. Do you have any gaps in these specialties?

If your team has limited experience with these area or only part-time engagement with the project, then you risk:

• Spending too much.
• Taking too long.
• Not ending up with the project you set out to build.

All bad things.

In this case, you may want to consider supplementing your staff by adding a key role to your team. This role can go by many names. But whether you call him or her an owner’s advocate or design/construction process management professional, the benefits are the same.

You will have:

An advocate. Someone who works for, and is concerned with, the best interests of the owner throughout the project.

Daily leadership. Plan reviews and regular progress meetings drive resolution to issues and changes that impact each member’s part of the project.

An entire team moving forward together. Architects, engineers, contractors, owners. All smart people. But keeping them moving forward takes strong, experienced, expert leadership.

Quality assurance. The design/construction process professional insures the quality of the project. And they are always looking for opportunities to save time and money by working closely with the team members.

Great teams build great projects.

How we step forward together is important. It’s my humble opinion that almost any project can be better delivered by team that includes a design and construction management professional (or owner’s advocate) from the beginning. When that person is embedded in the engineering process, the chances for a successful outcome are enhanced even further.

Now let’s get moving. I see a ribbon-cutting on the horizon…