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As MIH come to the close of another external works project and find to our delight that yet again, the project has come in on time, (well early in fact) and is under budget, we find ourselves thinking about what the key to achieving this is?
You may be surprised to read that despite my long tenure in the industry I still find this miraculous as in my experience major works projects are the unknown and the one thing guaranteed to cause friction between the Directors of a management company, their shareholders and their property manager.
In order to ensure that any future projects will run as smoothly, MIH has carried out a review of what worked well and frankly what didn’t and in this blog, we propose to share the secret of our success with you.
In the first instance and perhaps the most important (and obvious) stage in a major works project is ensuring that you have the right team in place. In the case of both projects that MIH has been involved within our first year, we were lucky enough to have the right surveyor on the projects.
By ensuring that your surveyor is well versed in the Landlord and Tenant Act, understands the requirements of Section 20, and more importantly understands the nature of residential owners who generally are happy that the works go ahead but are often unaware of access requirements and how this will affect them helps to make the whole process a lot easier.
The second stage is to build up a rapport with the contractor and the surveyor. You are all working towards the same goal, a satisfied client who feels that the works have been completed to a high standard and at the right price.
For MIH it is ensuring that you understand the client’s requirements and make the surveyor/contractor aware of the same. You also need to regularly attend site meetings and be in contact with all parties to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. If you are all on the same side then you need to work together. Sometimes despite MIH not being the contract administrator for the works or working for the contractor, there are times when you need to intervene regarding access and make sure that the job gets done.
Finally, and perhaps the most important stage for a major works project and perhaps the most essential part of any property manager’s job whether it be regarding day-to-day management of a site or part of a major works project is COMMUNICATION.
Although it is our general practice to ensure that we always respond to any correspondence be it a letter, email or telephone within 24 hours, when we are working on a major works project, we are at pains to be in touch with our lessees even more.
In addition to sending out an initial letter advising them of how we will be involved with the project and who they should contact we regularly update our owners on the works that will be carried out throughout the project. We also let them know when to expect to give access (notice of access requirements is often given before the works are even started) and how the project is progressing in terms of both budget and efficiency.
We always make ourselves available to deal with any queries they raise and often raise these with the contractors and surveyors. This coupled with the regular attendance at site meetings means we always have a good handle on the works.
Obviously, other works go on behind the scenes and we at MIH are not only known for Making it Happen but adopt the scout’s motto and make sure that we “be prepared”.
It seems from our experience so far that this approach works and we will continue to do the same for our new managements going forward, having already discussed the process with the surveyor for a major works project to commence in February of 2018.
Should you be looking to carry out a major works project and would like us to discuss handling this on your behalf or are looking for a Managing Agent with a new approach please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this further.