According to a study by PWC, only 2.5% of construction projects are completed 100% successfully in terms of originally agreed costs, timeline and quality. The majority of projects either fail to meet deadlines, adhere to set budgets or meet quality expectations as originally devised. Although project recoveries are common, an efficient project manager plays a crucial role in eradicating the causes of troubled projects. Surajit Biswas, Head of Project and Building Consultancy at Land Sterling, speaks about the nature of his current project, the possible threats to an ongoing project and strategic solutions to curb any arising threats. He has over 20 years of international experience across the built environment including commercial property management, project management and construction technology. He has managed iconic landmark developments such as the Dubai World Trade Centre, amongst other mixed-use assets, retail malls, high rise towers and large infrastructure projects.
How do you manage your client’s specific goals?
We create a partnership environment right from the start between key stakeholders and work hard to establish complete transparency throughout the delivery process so that any critical items are identified and acted upon before it can cause significant impact to the project. It is a collaborative effort where we come together as a team, share risks in an equitable manner and come up with the best project results.
Which project methodology have you adopted for your current project? The current project we are working on is a fast-track project with project recovery strategies in place as per the project requirement. The key methodology being used is to view project delivery in two distinct phases – substantial completion which allows soft opening to be achieved and final completion where balance works could be carried out which do not impact a soft opening.
Which project recovery strategies have you employed for your current project?
As we took over the project midway, our aim was to quickly identify any design, construction and procurement related issues and address them in the best possible manner in line with the target completion dates. A combination of structured change management vetted against criticality, alternative solutions to construction issues, implementation of a robust monitoring and communication mechanism helped in producing effective project recovery results. What kind of challenges do you face during an ongoing project and how do you confront these challenges? The most critical challenge we as project managers often face is avoiding variations. Any variation due to a shortfall or conflict of design, construction or coordination is disruptive to the project environment. Early detection of variation requirements helps in avoiding delays to the project and keeps costs under control. However, due to the complexities involved in a project, variations sometimes become inevitable and hence, it is important for project managers to be sensitive on how such variations are dealt with and what recommendations are being made to the client in terms of its management. For a project to run smoothly, communication escalation protocol is an essential tool so that, when challenges arise we work alongside all stakeholders to come up with solutions which best suits the project requirement.
How do you ensure an excellent client relationship?
Structured and clear communication with the client from the beginning and maintaining it throughout the project helps form and further nurture the client relationship. We also ensure the client receives regular updates at all times and in the event of a problem, we provide our strategic recommendations and professional feedback in a timely manner based on facts and in the best interest of the project.