Countdown to construction completion: Jo Chivers

Countdown to construction completion: Jo Chivers
Countdown to construction completion: Jo Chivers

Christmas always puts a deadline on things. For Property Bloom this year it's completing four development projects before the big man with the white beard arrives.

Of course our builder and all their tradies are under the pump at this time of year and our job as project managers really comes into play.

Our goal is not only to have the dwellings completed with Occupation Certificates (OCs) issued, but also tenanted before Christmas. And I've found a way to achieve this.

It's called supporting your site manager.

Rather than micro manage our site managers which just drives people crazy, we try to help them by giving them a hand. They feel supported and at the end of the day, we are all on the same team striving for the same result: Happy clients.

Here's an example. I'm doing two Practical Completion (PC) inspections this week and I have a tool I'm going to take along that should help. It's a bottle of Spray and Wipe.

Because we are pushing the process, we'll often get asked to move the PC date so they can be completely ready. But I don't want to give our builder another few days. Because right now, we literally don't have them.

We want tenants settled in before Christmas, we need the properties to look their best because on the same day we do our PC inspection, our appointed property manager will be taking photos and uploading the properties onto the Internet. This way we can advertise for tenants during the PC and Handover period.

The Handover period is the time after PC when the builder has seven days to complete any outstanding items we've picked up and before the bank pays the builder's final drawdown. Once the builder receives their payment, they release the keys to the owner and the dwellings come off construction key. That is literally the Handover date and of course a tenant can't move in before Handover.

Once asked to pay the final invoice, the bank typically take about a week, sometimes longer to send their valuer to check construction has been completed then transfer the money to the builder.  Before they release the final payment, they will have conditions such as receiving a copy of the OCs, and a copy of a building insurance policy in the name of the owners. 

This week or two is valuable and we use it to show potential tenants and hold open homes. We can do this because we have a great relationship with out builder and they will allow access BEFORE Handover. That's pretty unusual for a builder. But it means tenants are lined up as keys are handed over, which results in zero vacancy time for our clients.

So back to the PC inspection. My theory is that we set a date for PC and we do all we can to get the project to that stage. By having a deadline, more action is taken. I've found that there ends up being only minor items to attend to if any at all, because the site manager has done all he could to meet the deadline.

Short of bringing a pair of white gloves, I am fussy at these inspections. But some things just need a bit of elbow grease. So the bottle of Spray and Wipe comes out and we can clean the spots as we go through the property. It's so much easier than adding it to a list and having to wait for cleaners to come back. Of course I do draw the line at mopping floors, but small marks can easily be removed along with the fine layer of dust that always seems to settle on the kitchen benches a day after the construction clean is done.

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year but there's still a bit of work to be finished before the champagne is poured and prawns are peeled. 

Jo Chivers is chief executive officer of property development project managers Property Bloom.

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers is director of Property Bloom, which manages property development.

Tags: 
Construction Property market

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