Project Collaboration - Lundy Blog #1

We're excited to announce the launch of our new website!  Over the coming months I will be sharing my views on our company, what we're doing and where we're going.  Undertaking the full scale redesign and update of our website has been a collaborative process between our management team, our web designers at Industrial Media and myself.  This lead me to thinking that this site; while a relatively small project; was a project nonetheless.  One that presented its own challenges and constraints, but ultimately has achieved the vision that we had intended.

This site was not unlike any new project that Lundy undertakes for our own clients.  It's successful outcome required vision, an integrated team and a focus on open collaboration.  These parallels dovetailed nicely into our review of a recent new build...

Collaboration is the key...

I recently did a “home stretch” walkthrough of a building with my client. The project was a construction management contract to build a training facility, primarily targeted at hockey players. It was about 97% complete. The place looked amazing. The ice pad was icy, paint was drying, and the gym area equipment was mostly ready to receive athletes and start inflicting serious pain and the corresponding gain.

Building new facilities or renovating for clients is like having a front row seat to a business being launched or reborn. I’ll always feel grateful for this privilege. There is so much at stake: Hopes, dreams, and financial risk to name a few. I relish that opportunity to shadow a client and “see” the building, through their eyes, as a walkthrough happens. This was no exception. As we talked about the future of the building, the client’s vision for the place was palpable – and he knew he was on the cusp of finally achieving his vision that had been only in his mind for years.  

Eventually, our conversation came around to the subject of how my client experienced the construction process. This kind of feedback is critical to me so I can understand how Lundy needs to evolve over time. This was, like most projects, a process that had some City, trade and weather issues – perfection in construction is very rare. My client had been very “hands on” and played an active role in seeing the details of the job through. We’d both felt some of the bumps along the way. What I have come to realise is that it’s all about how you handle the bumps.

“What really stuck with me”, he commented, “was that we put our heads together as a team when issues came up. We figured out a way forward together.” This was music to my ears.

Establishing a collaborative team effort on a construction project is often sold as a simple proposition. In reality, it is often much more challenging. I’ve spent a great deal of time channeling the efforts of my team towards this goal. In the process, I’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t. I’d like to share some of these ideas.

Identify and communicate project goals

On our construction management projects, we press for a design charrette, a high level review of the project concept, right at the beginning. This offers the chance for the team to hear, first-hand, from the customer what the goals and objectives are in detail – while establishing a team dynamic centered on brainstorming ideas and solutions for the good of the project.

Build trust through transparency

Creating a sense of trust and confidence is the foundation to a successful collaborative team effort. One of the most efficient paths to this goal is though pure and unrestricted transparency. Transparency on cost, logistical concerns, scheduling issues, and past lessons learned. Being transparent with a customer is like being honest to an important friend. It feels good to us.  

Client Advocacy

The construction process is a series of trade-off decisions for the Client. Our role as construction managers is to provide the expert guidance to the client and design team to ensure the project contains the right balance of cost, speed of delivery, and quality. The Lundy difference is that we go several steps further in order to proactively address an Owner’s risk on the project. Some examples are:

·        Design reviews to suss out problems that could lead to change orders 

·        Robust subcontract negotiations to ensure best pricing from qualified trades

·        Careful review of trade change order pricing

 

Delivering projects with a clients best interests at heart is the foundation of successful construction management. As I'll suggest in future blogs, giving a client Value with a capital V means matching our efforts with client priorities - not the other way around. As Lundy continues to grow, we are taking proven CM strategies to new heights.  I look forward to sharing these with you in the future.

~ Sean Lundy

Next Time: How we eliminate  80% of site issues before we even break ground.