The core of Real Projectives® (RPL) centers around providing professional management services to plan, control, and execute real estate renovation and construction projects.
So, what’s a project? A project is an organized effort for a limited period of time to accomplish a set of defined goals. In real estate that usually means either a renovation to an existing facility or development of a new building. There is, generally, a business plan of expected scope, schedule and budget/proforma to measure results against.
The industry often intermixes the terms construction manager, project manager, and development manager. In our vernacular a construction manager focuses on the construction phase of a project and can either act as a general contractor or third-party agent. We do not hold contracts with trades so always act as a fiduciary agent of the owner or investor. And for us a project manager is an agent of the owner that is often involved in managing the design and construction or renovation phases of a project. A development manager plays more of a business role negotiating and shepherding deals from concept through occupancy.
RPL does much more than a construction manager—we deliver comprehensive project management services. We ask tough questions, think ahead, and get things done as expected.
Project management is a proven approach to initiating, planning, controlling, executing, and closing (phases endorsed by the Project Management Institute or PMI®). It demands organizing and coordinating a team of experts to design, procure, and build real improvements.
Program management applies management techniques across a group of related projects to best leverage shared resources to better achieve common objectives.
Both project and program managers have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to adeptly lead and proactively manage one or more project teams to success while managing a myriad of complex risks.
As project and program manager, our roles usually involve representing one of these common real estate actors:
- Owner Representative – support, advise, and lead initiatives for owners and developers of real estate including buildings, complexes, and entire portfolios.
- Financier Representative – support, advise, oversee, and manage projects for investors and financiers of all types of income-producing real estate and developments.
- Tenant (Occupant) Representative – support, advise, and lead projects and programs on behalf of tenants, occupiers, franchisees, and users of real estate spaces and buildings.
Whether managing a single project or entire program, we tackle the following types of projects:
- Tenant Improvements (TI) – interior spaces and suites build-outs, fit-outs, restacking, renovations, and improvements of all kinds.
- Capital Renovations and Enhancements (CapEx) – building systems replacements, common areas and amenities upgrades, exterior improvements, etc.
- Expanding Facilities (Scaling) – starting new concepts, expanding operations, maturing franchise locations, for several types of businesses.
Occupants (tenants) that lease space from real estate owners (landlords) must build out their space (suite) for initial use and then occasional refresh or renovate for a variety of reasons over their period of occupancy and use. This work can be called tenant improvements (TI), build-outs, or interior renovations. Commonly they include commercial office, professional office, medical office, retail store, shop, personal care facilities, restaurants, bars, clubs, entertainment venues, and many other uses.
For both small businesses with one location and large corporations with multiple facilities, they rely on experienced project managers to coordinate and manage the process of design, construction, furniture and equipment installation, and preparations for opening. Sometimes the project managers are provided by landlord teams under turnkey arrangements and other times a tenant may be provided an allowance and have the responsibility of managing those processes on their own—and that’s when RPL shines.
Landlords are incentivized to fill all of their spaces to maximize the value of their property. Depending on market conditions, a landlord will often offer a tenant (TI) allowance—an amount of money that the occupant can use to help pay for the costs of building out the leased premises such as design, remodeling, construction, storefront, and systems (there are sometimes restrictions on the money being used more for “hard” installed work vs “soft” services). If you are planning to renovate your new space, securing a TI allowance can be an important topic when negotiating a lease. However, think of that allowance as similar to a loan embedded within the lease since payback of the amount is usually factored into the monthly rental rates (no allowance usually means lower rental payments). In addition to managing the actual work, somebody must also compile costs and submit a request to the landlord for direct payment or reimbursement of the TI allowance funds as permitted.
Advantages of Hiring a Project or Program Manager for Tenant Improvements
Open Sooner. Focus on Your Business. Reduce Surprises and Headaches.
Because many businesses don’t handle TI projects very often, outsourced project managers that have been through a high number of TI deals can walk either side through the most beneficial deal and organizational approach for the long-term advantage of the project and business operations.
Design and Permitting Oversight.
Sometimes a client won’t know how to translate their project goals, ideas, and wants into deliverables. Hiring a tenant improvement project manager takes your needs, ideas, constraints and concerns and turns them into a working project plan of action. They help you find the best architects, engineers, contractors, and other vendors. They request proposals and negotiate appropriate contracts then coordinate the team for organized performance against a schedule and budget.
Project managers facilitate meetings and strong communications helping you make timely decisions to keep things moving in a positive direction. Usually the clock is ticking, and time is money, so they drive results and minimize unpleasant surprises. During construction they observe progress and address any quality and time concerns. They help you negotiate any changes and process invoices so vendors stay motivated. During the end of construction, they integrate furniture, equipment and logistics to help you move in on time and ready for business.
Renovations to common systems and spaces within a building or complex may be called capital renovations, capital improvements, or capital expense (CapEx) projects. They are usually done to restore or enhance the aesthetics, performance, and value of an existing property.
CapEx projects may include, but not be limited to:
- Renovating main and elevator lobbies
- Adding amenities such as fitness centers, cafes, and lounges
- Upgrading fire and life safety systems
- Replacing roofing and waterproofing
- Restoring exterior windows and façade components
- Repairing surface parking lots and structural parking garages
- Retrofitting mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems
Advantages of Hiring a Project or Program Manager for Capital Renovations
Smarter Solutions. Less Impact. Increased Value.
Real Projectives® understands that building renovations are not just technically challenging but demand great attention to logistical implementation. We dig deep to understand root causes and parameters to evaluate alternative solutions and advise on smartly selecting the best one. Then we bring all stakeholders together to discuss logistics of implementation to minimize negative impacts to ongoing uses. This ongoing alignment and communication restores functionality and increases value for our clients.
It is paramount to first understand the existing conditions. Assumptions are necessary but should be made with best information available. Even the simple repair and replacement projects hold potential cost and schedule risks. Engaging the right set of experts to investigate, outline alternatives, and make recommendations for repair vs replacement is essential. We challenge and evaluate thoroughly while keeping the team from falling into analysis paralysis.
Organize the Work.
Documenting the selected approaches and solutions into narratives, diagrams, and drawings must be done with care. Then we discuss options for procuring the work—all under one contractor or divided up among separate specialty trades. Upon soliciting proposals, we advise clients on most qualified and best value vendors to perform the work. We negotiate and coordinate contracts and pricing with each and get them set up to start on schedule.
Most capital renovations are not just about doing the technical work but require proactive coordination, attention to safety, and strong communications, especially with occupants and public when the building continues to function while work is done. Then as the work is completed, the existing maintenance and operations staff must be informed of how to use and take care of any new systems and materials as well as be provided records of what was done.
We are ready to improve your property—whether giving a second opinion to solve a specific problem, managing an urgent replacement, or setting up a programmatic structure to effect related changes across multiple properties.
Expanding Locations (Scaling)
Somewhat a combination of tenant improvements and capital renovations, growing businesses have additional challenges of not just completing a single project but having to develop scalable processes and teams to implement dozens to hundreds of similar facilities throughout the United States. We advise franchises, corporations, and real estate investment trusts on how to structure and staff for a pipeline of projects under one or more programs. Examples of use types include:
- Retail stores and outlets
- Restaurants and kitchens
- Shipping and logistics
- Cannabis cultivation and processing
Advantages of Hiring a Program Manager for Expansions
Higher Throughput. Lower Costs. Greater Reputation.
RPL applies our expertise in business, program management and relationships around the country, to develop a platform for our scaling clients to open facilities faster, reduce costs, and deliver a better reputation among their investors and customers.
First, we ask many questions to really understand the goals, parameters, and concerns of intended growth. From that baseline, we review alternative approaches to organizing and procuring the necessary resources with a focus on those most limited or proprietary.
Upon agreement on the scaling plan, we may identify, evaluate, and negotiate arrangements with consultants and vendors. We also put in place the systems and metrics to be used in tracking performance. Standard procedures and tools are memorialized with training provided as necessary.
Completing projects to open new facilities is what it’s all about. We can directly manage projects or oversee the efforts of internal staff or other project managers. Tracking and reporting on progress and issues and monitoring to improve processes and systems is important to an effective scaling program.