One of the biggest misperceptions in any given project is the belief that project management (PM) engagement should only happen after the lease is fully executed. In actuality, the design and construction process needs to start as early as possible and run concurrent with the initial activities of the real estate transaction process in order take full advantage of the project manager’s expertise and create the most value for both the broker and the client.
For example, once the client has shortlisted their building selection down to two or three locations, the broker can ask the PM team to conduct a building evaluation or existing conditions cost analysis to identify potential reusable elements in the space such as drywall, ceiling grid and tile, glass, HVAC, doors/frames/hardware, finishes, etc. Extensive reuse of existing materials can yield as much $20.00 per foot in overall savings.
In addition, the PM team can conduct an assessment of the overall layout to evaluate inefficiencies, code issues, building rules and regulations, loading dock concerns, electrical capacity, HVAC charges during construction and afterhours, elevator usage, preferred vendor lists, and other items that may fall into the landlord’s obligations. A couple other key areas to where the PM team adds value for the broker and client early in the process is during the test fit stage and work letter review. A PM can first determine whether engaging a landlord-provided architect will suffice, or whether the client requires more detail and attention, thereby needing “full design services” or an architect that works exclusively on corporate interior build outs. A PM can take an initial test fit including a schedule and preliminary budget that highlights the key milestones, long lead items and identifies higher-end or more costly design elements. Once the LOI is in place, a PM can assist the broker with the overall lease review and negotiations, focusing attention on the work letter, which clearly defines both the tenant and landlord’s overall obligations. This is where the PM team can really assist the client in terms of giving maximum control to the tenant, minimizing their exposure or risk and further reducing their costs.
As you can see, early integration between the PM team, the client and the broker is truly a win-win all the way around and sets the tone for a successful project, as well as a productive, long term relationship.
Christy Lowell is the Team Lead for Business Transition and Move Management in CBRE’s Atlanta office. Lowell is responsible for the overall direction and strategy of Atlanta’s move management efforts; in particular, the planning & managing of complex business transitions and relocation projects for corporate and industrial clients. She can be reached at Christy.Lowell@cbre.com.
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