Lead times are very tight in most fitout projects so when (not if) the going gets tough, every client and design team needs a fitout contractor that can step up to the mark.
Here are Knottown Joinery’s top 6 tips on how to deliver exceptional quality in a tight programme.
- Understanding the project’s vision is a key success factor in delivering a quality product, quickly. This can only be done if you work proactively and closely with the design team to make sure all the standards are met and that the client’s vision is achieved. If all you do is price for the work on a drawing then in all likelihood when the project goes to site, your relationship with the design team will become tested. You should visit other work that your client, architect or interior designer has completed. Whilst the brief may differ on this project, you will get a good feeling for the type of quality required. Building a trusting relationship is key.
- Being proactive in fitout is also essential. This involves consultation and open dialogue at every step of the way whether that be through regular meetings or not. Having said that Design teams should not be bombarded with requests that are not prioritised and essential. Sometimes you have to show leadership and assist the team with devising solutions to the challenges faced by fitout projects. Waiting for others to arrive with solutions is a sure fire way of falling behind in these projects, so arrive at the table with solutions not problems. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it too. Remember the project is what’s important here.
- Meticulous attention to detail is required at every step of the project. Some companies have this attention to detail and some simply underestimate how important this is but as fitout projects are extremely challenging, every challenge must be planned for, even at pre-construction stage. You must also understand the pressure the client is under, whether that be to reopen because of a function or to accept a new tenant or for some other reason entirely. Understanding the challenges of those around you also helps you to better plan for your element of the work. Try and build a small buffer into the schedule for yourself because there will always be client changes and little emergencies. Checking your actual work done against the schedule is also of great benefit. If your craftsmen are taking too long on certain jobs then you can proactively step it up or even employ more craftsmen to ensure the project is delivered. Welcome to the world of fitout.
- Keeping momentum on a fast paced project is extremely important so programming is critical. You simply won’t have all the answers you want, when you want them so the answer is not to loose motivation and become disheartened. You need to get to that finish line so make sure you have a schedule of work with milestones. If your earlier milestones come under pressure then you are better placed to react quickly and ensure the project is brought back on track. By far the biggest issue in fitout is delays to materials arriving. This is usually the result of materials not being ordered on time or suppliers over-promising and under-delivering. Managing this is key to success.
- Never underprice or overcommit on a project no matter how badly you want it. Sure some companies adopt a strategy of going in keen to add on extras later but this simply doesn’t work in fitout. When a fitout project hits site, it needs to be a well oiled machine so one company trying to cut corners or debate tender prices puts the whole project delivery under threat. If you planned badly and you’re up against a tight deadline, do whatever it takes to meet it. That means staying up late and working long hours if possible. The project is all the matters.
- On site, we must work together as a team to achieve the one overall vision. Integration and coordination with the rest of the construction team, particularly mechanical and electrical, is extremely important to achieve the quality that’s required. Working as an individual simply won’t help the clients achieve the results. This requires a certain “flexibility” and “mindset” that only comes with those who want to build long term and sustainable relationships with the client.
For your next Joinery project, we would be delighted if you would reach out to us at Knottown Joinery. We would love to work with you and deliver craftsmanship you can admire.