Written by Kyle Griffith, Vice President, Project & Development Services
The DFW design and construction market is on a roll, and has been for some time. This means that architects, contractors, material suppliers and vendors are busier than ever. For occupiers of real estate, this often means they struggle to maximize their buying power in a market with such headwinds. Some leverage inhibitors can even be self-imposed – from what I’ve observed, commercial real estate project schedules seem to be increasingly compressed these days. Projects with such accelerated schedules can struggle to gain a sturdy foothold in the contractor and material supplier market.
Over the past few years, our Project & Development Services group has seen “normal” schedules become “accelerated” and “accelerated” schedules become “hair-on-fire” schedules. It seems a new normal is being established. In such a busy market, this rapid pace often grates against market conditions and does not yield the highest quality results for the client. Think about it – when labor is at a shortage and material lead times are unreliable, trying to build out more real estate at an even faster rate, must have some sort of impact. Fortunately, at Cushman & Wakefield we are living in this new normal, and have been able to help clients overcome these hurdles with much success.
- Start Early – There is no substitute for time. Clients should be encouraged to start the process early. Allowing for more time than thought to be necessary often ends being perfect as many things can change throughout a real estate effort. Having more time in a project schedule can lead to better thoroughness of design and engineering, more legitimate competition in all facets of the bid process, better attention from the market and avoiding cost premiums for accelerated work and expedited materials.
- Look to the “Blue Chip” Providers – Architects, contractors and vendors with large teams and extensive experience will be more capable of serving clients in a busy market. Firms who need to “hire up” to their workload will result in the learning curve and acclimation period of those team members occurring on your project. Firms with larger capacity to administer projects with their current experienced teams will be better positioned to work quickly with little impact.
- Hire a Project Manager – Yes, this is a little self-serving. In a distracted construction market, a project manager and their leverage in tow can be a great asset. If a client were to do a real estate project in DFW every 10 years, and a project management firm were to do 25 projects in DFW every 1 year, imagine the extended buying power that project manager can bring to that client. In busy times, the market will pay the most attention to those groups that they work with the most. Additionally, project managers who are familiar with the process can be especially adept at finding creative solutions. Slight degrees of directional change early in a project can yield big returns for a client.
We are blessed with a very productive market in DFW right now. However, this blessing introduces challenges for the occupiers of real estate. Allowing adequate time in the process can help neutralize these challenges and give occupiers more advantageous positioning in the marketplace. The old saying still reigns quite true, time is money.
As a Vice President of Project Development Services, Kyle Griffith provides comprehensive development and project management services for owners and tenants. Griffith has over eight years of construction management and project management experience and has provided exceptional service for a variety of industries such as corporate office, retail, mission critical, healthcare and industrial.