How to find the right building partner.
By Lee Dellicker
When the Beauport Hospitality Group (BHG) decided to build its very first hotel, Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, Mass., the group knew its expertise around opening and operating a hospitality space would serve it well, but it would only take the company so far. Faced with the daunting prospect of a future filled with permitting, contractor management, design, budgeting and so much more, BHG knew it needed a construction management firm to handle it all and deliver a turnkey design/build project.
Turnkey design/build describes a project in which the owner contracts with a single point of responsibility who manages and oversees the selection and management of all project components related to the operation of the facility and hiring and management of trade partners, such as architects, engineers, interior designers, etc. The approach is particularly well-suited to the hospitality industry as the client has a partner advocating for and overseeing the project from start to finish, allowing them to focus on other priorities such as hiring, training, creating a menu or marketing their new property. In addition, turnkey design/build allows for an efficient, cost-effective, constructible design, a collaborative team approach and enhanced control of schedule and budget – all components equally as important to the hospitality industry.
Through this approach, construction management firms manage all major components, from budget, design, scheduling and the hiring of architectural and interior design teams to procurement, construction and installation of furnishings, fixtures, operating supplies, IT, linens and kitchenware. This results in a completely turnkey facility for the hospitality client.
With each project comes a certain set of standards, tasking a firm to guide and execute the hospitality client’s unique vision from start to finish. Most recently my firm, Windover Construction, worked to execute turnkey design/build projects with Beauport Hotel and Boston’s Rail Stop Restaurant & Bar. Acting as true partner for the owners, we worked in tandem throughout the duration of the process and delivered everything but the guests on opening day.
To ensure a successful partnership with your builder for your next hospitality project, regardless of whether you elect to follow the design/build or a more traditional building approach, here are five tips to guide the process:
1. Pick the right partner design/build or any construction approach is only as strong as the team involved, so choosing the right people is crucial. A balance of the right cultural fit with technical knowledge and experience will ensure you have a trusting, open, and communicative relationship with your builder.
2. Start early It is never too early to start discussing your project with a builder. Many building partners can assist and provide counsel in the beginning stages of project to ensure it stays on track throughout the acquisition and permitting stages. Having a builder on board early who understands your vision can help you navigate the various challenges while ensuring that design, scope, budget and schedule all remain on track.
3. Empower your partner Give your construction management firm the right tools and ample confidence to take equal ownership of the process and the outcome. Remain involved as much as you’d like, but trust your partner to maintain ownership and responsibility for all moving parts of the project. With the right tools and your confidence, your builder will be your advocate from start to finish.
4. Be an open book The only way to make your construction management firm truly understand your goals is to take time to share your vision of the project. Doing this will help the firm fully comprehend your construction requirements so they can focus on what’s most important and properly prepare for any challenges that may arise throughout the project.
5. Trust Being a true partner is not a label, it’s a way of doing business. If you don’t trust in the judgement of your building partner, than they are not the right fit. Construction never goes perfectly, but having a partner who is looking out for your best interests will make the process all the more successful.
Lee Dellicker is the CEO of Windover Construction, a leading full-service construction management firm in New England focused on academic, residential, nonprofit and commercial projects. For more information, call 978-526-9410, visit the website at www.windover.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.