Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

4 Ways Project Managers Can Improve Your Next Build-Out and Reduce Costs

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T. Scott Williams explains how using project management services will help your commercial renovation job.

If you are a landlord or tenant looking to complete a build-out for a new commercial space, then you should strongly consider hiring a well-qualified, experienced project manager to supervise the project. Some commercial property pros think that they can smoothly coordinate a complex build-out while still handling their regular everyday jobs, but my years of experience say otherwise. Project managers are problem solvers. The earlier you can bring them into a project, the better the results. Franklin Street’s T. Scott Williams, an award-winning construction management veteran, shares four ways that using project management services will benefit your commercial renovation job.

1. Keep project on schedule. Project managers keep track of contractor bids, building permit requests, architectural drawing approvals and construction site reviews so you don’t have to. As the project leader, he/she will keep track of things like what date a tenant needs to move into the space before they will be forced to pay a holdover fee. A reliable project manager will make sure that a tenant never winds up paying for rent at two different places simultaneously because of a construction delay. On the landlord side, a project management team can serve as a full construction department for the landlord. The team will also confirm that any lease obligations to commence rent are met on time.

2. Prevent cost overruns.  Project managers will work with all parties involved to speed up a timeline if needed when a critical date is approaching. This is key to keeping your project on budget because a holdover fee can run anywhere from 100 to 250 percent of the rent. If you’re a landlord, a project manager will help you obtain the proper permits and construction pricing, which in turn helps you in properly pricing the tenant improvement allowance. For tenants, a project manager can provide the total costs involved based on the location selected, which will be crucial in helping you determine which space works best for you financially.

3. Select the best vendors. Project managers often work with general contractors and architects from national firms, so they can quickly gather a qualified vendor list to choose from. They can also perform due diligence on all potential vendors from anywhere in the country. Choosing the wrong vendor for a project could increase your costs by up to 50 percent. Therefore, it is wise to have an expert who will control the bidding process and ensure you will hire the most qualified firm for the best price possible.

4. Fix problems. Project managers can lower your costs significantly by finding and correcting problems early in the process. During a recent project, our client’s architectural drawings called for the construction crew to core drill concrete in a floor above an open mezzanine.  It was quickly decided that the core drill would not work as originally envisioned. Having a project manager on-site allowed us to quickly find an alternate solution by utilizing a faux column, which helped us avoid submitting a request for information (RFI) to the architect that would have incurred additional costs. These are the kinds of issues that a knowledgeable project manager can often resolve easily to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Bringing more than 15 years of experience in commercial real estate, T. Scott Williams serves as General Manager for Franklin Street, specializing in commercial property operations, client relations, capital improvement project oversight, leasing planning, and project management.  He can be reached at [email protected].

About Franklin Street: Founded in 2006 during one of the toughest real estate climates, Franklin Street focused on delivering value-added solutions to meet the evolving needs of clients. Through a collaborative philosophy of leveraging the resources, expertise and experience of each of its divisions – Investment Sales, Tenant and Landlord Representation, Capital Advisory, Insurance, Property Management and Project Management – Franklin Street offers unmatched value and optimal solutions for clients nationwide. Learn more about Franklin Street at

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