Overcoming project challenges

Ian Morrow, committed jazz fan, marginal gains advocate and lover of good wine joined BW in 2016 to head up one of our teams. His 35 years’ experience in construction management brings extensive knowledge and an open and honest approach to managing and exceeding client’s expectations in his role of Operations Director.

There’s an array of challenges which go hand-in-hand with projects, particularly in occupied buildings. Ian has developed his own skill set to overcome these; we picked his brain so we could share them with you.

Tell us about your greatest career challenge so far and how did you overcome it?

I have been faced with a number of challenges over the last 35 years. The number one rule I would always say to overcome project challenges is to make sure you develop effective site delivery teams. As a manager you need to show good leadership, set clear goals and objectives and establish checks and balances to ensure the objectives are being met.

What are the systematic problems in the industry that need to be resolved?

The development of the new generation of project managers to take the fit out industry forward. The industry is currently faced with an ageing workforce and the only way to overcome this is through training, investment, mentoring and the integration of new technologies and systems such as BIM.

How can you minimise the pain of working with base build contractors?

Make sure there’s early level engagement with the contractor to ensure that the base build meets the expectations of the design team and the end user client. Often we are faced with situations where client’s designs are compromised by deficiencies in base build construction. There needs to be a greater level of collaboration between base build and fit out contractors.

How can we support major occupiers when a project ends?

We need to understand that the work is not finished at completion. The legacy we leave is how we support clients working in new environments, with new technologies and who are adopting new ways of working. We need to provide a seamless transition between the fit out of the building and the ongoing operation and management of the space. In order to achieve this, key project team members need to remain on site to ensure the knowledge about our client’s new space is passed on to the client using the building the person responsible for maintaining the building.

What are your 3 tips for successfully delivering large-scale projects?

1) Breakdown the project into manageable sections with clear deliverables for each and make sure you understand the dependencies of each work stream.

2) Put together the very best team of industry-leading construction staff. Empower the team to ensure they take responsibility and are accountable for the project.

3) Clearly define the quality of expectations from the outset and ensure they are monitored and maintained throughout. The quality aspect of any project doesn’t happen in the last six weeks, it happens throughout the project. In BW this process is underpinned by our DF@PC mantra.

If you have any further questions for Ian or would like help on a current project, please get in touch.