Huh! Being cynical about it many of them, after they’ve spent ages deciding what they want from construction, want the job handing over to them the day after they’ve placed the contract! To be fair to them, though, actually getting the decisions finalised as to what they require building, constructing, fitting out, or whatever, can be a real headache for many of them. This is particularly the case for commercial construction clients who usually have several vested-interest groups arguing over design and who has desks and windows where!
So one of the first things clients need from construction is explanations about what is going to happen once we have started on site. What they don’t seem to immediately twig is that, in today’s world, they are also going to have a concurrent I.T. project associated with the construction work. Then as the construction work starts coming to the end and hand-over begins to loom up, they also have a Change Management project to deal with!
For some obscure reason many construction clients appoint one of their own staff as their client-side Project Manager. These people usually have no knowledge whatsoever about the construction process; they may have qualities and experience within their organisation, but construction is different. To us it is just routine stuff we do all the time. To the rest of the world what we do is highly technical! We just confuse them even more if we communicate in Grunt!
The craziest appointment of a client-side P.M. I ever came across was a lady Solicitor from New Zealand. She was appointed under contract to a global Oil Company in France; didn’t speak French and had never had any experience of construction. We became very close because I both educated her and gave her my shoulder to cry on. Giving all credit to her if I told her their Consultants were being a bit slow with information requested she didn’t half give ‘em hell and get answers for me! The Change Management side of it she did cope with pretty well. Let me add, though, that I’ve also had other ladies supposedly running the Change Management borrowing my shoulder!
One of the other things that construction clients require from us is the paper-trail. This they need for various reasons including their cash flow and tax returns. Usually their own P.M. is pretty good at recording and storing. The part of their job could, however, be saved if they used LetsBuild which would also give their own Bosses oversight of the construction project. Who knows, at some time in the future LetsBuild may perhaps even be expanded to cover the I.T. and Change Management projects, too!
Now for the IT project side of it all. Techies may be good at what they do and may be good, helpful people, but they don’t have the same sense of urgency that we construction personnel do. They are definitely helpful, though; whenever I’ve had a problem with a computer they have quickly fixed it for me. However, left to their own devices they would never get finished on time!
It has been my own experience, on more than the odd occasion, that the client’s Main Board Director with the ultimate responsibility for the construction project has sidled up to me on the quiet. I got requested to take charge of, not only the construction, but also their I.T. and Change Management projects. Can’t actually understand why I ever agreed because I never got offered any more cash for doing that!
So I’ve rambled on a bit to discover that construction clients’ requirements are not only that the construction project runs okay, but that their I.T. project and Change Management project do, too. If all three are run properly all their employees can move and carry on working almost without any interruptions!
Sticking to just the “construction client requirements”, they have three main things they want from us:-
To complete on time, to budget and to standards.
If we do that (getting all academic about it) we leave behind “delighted clients”, defined as ones who will automatically come back to us the next time they have a construction project to place an order for!