Five benefits of NOT project managing your own fitout

file0001573465344Should you project manage your own fitout…?

Anthony and I have been working in the commercial fitout industry for nearly 20 years and both of us can safely say we would never project manage a job. It’s a very specialist (and extremely stressful) role.

But isn’t it just a matter of getting the trades to come in at the right time…?

This is definitely one important aspect of the job. And it’s one that I certainly struggle with getting my head around. (So I need the electrician to disconnect before demolition, then pre wire when the framing is up, then again to fit off…? This times 8 or 10 different trades…? Woah…)

No matter how hard we designers cover as many scenarios as possible, things still go awry. Whether it be a fabric that is suddenly discontinued (why do suppliers NEVER warn us this is going to happen…?) or a material is 12 – 14 weeks from Italy (the stock was available when we specified it 4 months ago…) or asbestos is discovered (really…?) or the original construction isn’t up to code (what do you mean the bathroom floor has no foundations…?).

All of these things take time and expertise to overcome.

Recently I took a project co-ordinator role for a cafe franchise. No design, just sorting out all of these components of the first four stores of their new role out…this was all I did – FULL TIME. It’s not difficult, but you need to be so very organised and it is extremely time consuming. I was co-ordinating with the operations manager, the project manager for the building, the project manager for the fitout, the architect, four different franchisees (and often their partners or admin staff), suppliers of lights and furniture, the signage contractor, the building owner or shopping centre management, local councils and the CEO of the franchise. Phew…!

So, we recommend the using a project manager and these are our five reasons why:

1. You have time to do what you do…fitting out can be very distracting for your business without adding extra stresses. And if you’re refurbishing an existing practice, please take a break – you deserve it (but please see point #5).

2. The project will be completed as quickly as possible – a project manager that has complete control of his schedule and his trades is imperative to a successful project.

3. You have the benefit of a cohesive fitout team that understand minimum down time is important. They come in, work quickly and cleanly and get out…perfect…!

4. You can sleep at night knowing that it’s all under control. Why should you pull an all nighter trying to figure out when to get the tiler in again as he’s been held up on another job…?

5. You can even go on holiday (it is possible, as long as you’re available…please don’t disappear in to the ski fields or to a remote island with no internet access).

We’d love to hear your experiences on either using a project manager or managing a refurbishment yourself…!