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Planning for the win

 

“Plan your work and work your plan” (P1)

Let’s face it, planning your work and working your plan has always been a challenge. Some people tend to dismiss delays as laziness or incompetence.  In construction, delays in planning usually cost both the client and the contractor. Poor communication and lack of planning leads to rushing a project in the latter stages, resulting in faulty workmanship and inferior finishings.

We decided to look into a subsector within construction where such delays are a norm; Interior Design. Having met with Access Projects, a leading Interior and Exterior contracting company we were advised  to look at a typical project lifecycle and its challenges.

 

 
A group meeting over coffee

Discuss vision and challenges (P2)

Project lifecycle and Challenges

1) Pre-design phase

In this phase, the designer gets a brief from the client. This includes pictures of the space available and the design elements the client wants to recreate.The designer then interprets  the client’s vision  into a mood board, also known as a pre-design.  This will show the client how these design elements can be incorporated into the space available.
The more details this pre-design includes, the better the client will understand  how his vision for the project will work.

2) Design phase

Once the client approves the mood board, the designer begins work on the final drawings. During this stage, depending on the scope of the project, the relevant consultants for mechanical, electrical and plumbing works  need to get involved. A good design should contain details down to the types of materials and finishings used.

3) Tender stage

In this stage the client calls for quotations from different contractors, providing them the scope of work as identified in the above design stage. Based on the information available, the contractors provide a cost  estimation and timeline for the work to be completed. The less information provided by the client, the more these cost estimations are subject to change.

4) Site Installation

In this stage,  the contractor needs to ensure that the right materials, equipment and labour are on site when needed. It is common for clients to appoint a project manager (PM) to keep track of the above details and ensure the contractor follows through in larger projects. However, it is important to remember that the ability of the PM or contractor to carry this out is restricted if parts of the project are unidentified. To find out more about the challenges you may face on site and tips on how to overcome them click here.

 

 
Planning

Good planning leads to better execution (P3)

Overcoming these challenges

1) Communication

Proper Communication is essential. The client must understand the possibilities and limitations  of the chosen design  for the available space. As these limitations may not be  obvious, the plan must be discussed in detail with the relevant consultants.

2) Plan in Detail

During the planning stage all work activities should be properly understood, and planned in detail.  This will help optimize the allocation of resources and reduce the impact of potential contingencies.  And will be critical to the setting of milestones, allocation of resources, and the determining of cash flow requirements.

The selecting of finishings, and the final cosmetics of the building generally takes longer as the client tries to find what looks best for the space. Having a clearer idea from the start, with what should be done with the available space, can reduce reworks and delays.

3) Time management

Time management involves the mapping out  of each task in the scope of work based on their dependencies to determine the time needed to complete the project. It is essential to identify bottlenecks before they arise. Project members who master this are able to successfully meet the scheduled targets, stay within the budget, and achieve profitability.

The more precise the planning, the easier it will be to achieve this.

 

   
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