Transparency: The Key to Success for Every Construction Project

When it comes to tenant improvement, capital improvement, and remodeling construction, tenants and owners alike are concerned about two things: the cost of the project and the time it will take to complete. It’s understandable, since they want the project to be as minimally invasive to their business operations as possible.

The best way to keep projects on time, on budget, and within everyone’s expectations is by making a commitment to transparency from the start. Transparency means clear communication to everyone involved in a project, including clients, tenants, owners, facility managers, vendors, suppliers, contractors, and employees. Challenges will no doubt arise throughout the execution of the project. A commitment to transparency ensures all involved can reconvene and efficiently decide the next course of action.

So when do you think most projects derail? If you guessed the very first day, you’re not far off. Clear and frequent communication will not help if no one is speaking the same language. Below are opportunities to improve transparency at every phase of the construction process.

  • Discovery: Introduction of clients and contractors, understanding needs, gathering estimates. Project kick-off is a perfect time to sit down and layout the phases of construction and what needs to be accomplished in one phase before the group is ready to move onto the next. This sets clear expectations, introduces language everyone can expect to hear, and protects against frustration due to misperceptions.
  • Design: If an architect or designer is involved, they will lead material selection, such as paint colors, flooring, toilets, and faucets. If there is no architect or designer, the tenant or owner will typically create a list of everything they need, then work with the construction services provider to select the final products. For a construction services provider, this is an opportunity to provide informed decision-making tips, for example, the differences in cost, durability, and typical use of cut pile carpet, vinyl tile, and hardwood.
  • Review of Costs: Tenants and/or owners review final estimated costs. Every contractor puts their estimate together differently with its own spin, so it is rare to be able to compare estimates apples to apples. M|TECH Construction likes to give clients every opportunity to see what they are paying for — down to the number of phone data ports and relocation of light switches — along with a brief outline that explains each task. This also is a time for tenants, owners, and facility managers to discuss which parties are responsible for which costs.
  • Pre-construction: Materials are ordered, timelines established, and facilities are prepped for work. Timelines are dependent on the availability of materials, so confirming all shipping and delivery dates is critical to setting a project up to be successful. Tenants, owners, and facility managers will want to start communicating to others in the building with details on what they can expect in terms of a general construction timeline; parking, entryways, and elevators that may be unavailable at times throughout the project; and construction etiquette the team will adhere to.
  • Construction: Once work is under way, it is critical that tenants, owners, and facility managers receive regular updates on progress, are alerted of issues as soon as they arise, and are involved in any decisions that will stray from the agreed upon plan. If product shipments are delayed, for example, there will need to be a decision on whether to reselect or extend the established timeline. Keeping everyone informed helps instill trust and avoid confusion or disagreements.
  • Project Close: Work review and sign off, settling of costs. Building owners, facility managers, and contractors can benefit from taking it a step further to share their thoughts on the process — what went well, what they would have done differently, what they want to make sure they do next time. The more often they work together, the more streamlined the process becomes.

Make a commitment to transparency in your next building remodel and let us know how it turns out!