“Do It Together” Development: A Team-Based Approach

May 1, 2020 | DIT Development

There is an old African proverb that reads: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This might be true in a lot of circumstances, but it’s not true when it comes to development and construction where time is literally money. In this world, the goal is to go far and go fast.

We believe the most successful developers do both, and we call that philosophy “Do it Together Development,” or DIT development.

DIT has been the cornerstone of how Peak Development Partners has approached every project we have ever worked on. It’s great for all types of development projects, especially when you’re developing places where people live like multi-family, hospitality, student housing, and senior living.

We believe in collaboration. It is the reason we turn the lights on every morning.

Of course, a property owner can come to us with plans and just say “build this. I’ll see you in 12 months.” But, not only is that not inspiring to us, it can also be extremely costly in the long run.

There are many facets to any design project, each requiring a great deal of time and attention paid to the most minute details. One person attempting to run an entire project is exponentially more likely to miss one of those details, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

For example, Peak was brought in late to a hospitality project in Pennsylvania. The project was deemed “ready to go,” but only days after we began work, the project was shut down by the Department of Transportation. Evidently, there was a filing that was not completed. This shut the project down for several weeks, while we waited for the permit to be issued. I don’t have to tell you what losing weeks on a project does to your overall cost. And all because of a developer with a “Do it Yourself” development mentality.

DIT development allows us to work with other developers and property owners who share our same appreciation for collaborating. They appreciate the benefits of employing a team of specialists, very early in the process, and working with them to achieve a common goal: to finish a project on time, within budget, and reflective of the standard of quality their organization expects. Or, as we at Peak like to put it: on time, on budget, or better.

So, how do we do it?

By deploying the 4 tenets of DIT Development:

Build your team early
Leverage your team’s talents
Protect your time
Manage your project proactively

This is how you arrive on time, on budget, or better, in every project you develop. Let’s talk about the first tenet of DIT, building your team early.

Build your team early

The first and most important thing we build is the team of professionals who will be working on a given project from inception to opening. This means, first and foremost, pairing owners and operators with designers, engineers, contractors, and suppliers who are not only experts in their field, but that can also contribute in a collaborative environment.

Done right, assembling a team of specialists allows us to leverage not only the talents of each team member, but their time as well. Each member has a lane. If they stay in that lane throughout the project, it ensures 1.) that you are getting the most value from each member of the team, and 2.) that you won’t run into issues down the road that will cost you time and, in turn, money.

It is critical that we assemble this team at the beginning of the project, so that all members can be collaborating. Having several minds and sets of eyes working in tandem means that more questions will be raised early and, ultimately, more solutions will be found. Having them available at the beginning and not bringing each on at different phases means that the project is less likely to hit a time snag down the road because something needed to be changed or fixed.

For example, if you start work on architectural components without having your interior designer on board, you run the risk of having to go back and move and/or rebuild things to accommodate interior design elements (electrical outlet locations, furniture, etc.) once you do have your interior designer on board.

Our teams also typically consist of largely the same personnel. We have contractors that we enjoy working with, and who are familiar with our DIT development style. We know them. They know each other. We have all developed a shorthand when working together that saves time and ensures repeatable results.

Once you have the right people in place, focused and working with the same objective in mind, you can work together to build an efficient and hopefully, short, project schedule. When each specialist understands the objective of the project, and all potential issues have been considered and solutions planned, they can work on their task concurrently with other team members, rather than in stages. This helps to reduce time which, again, reduces cost.

To some, the old adage about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts is a little trite. To us, it is the guiding principle for everything we do. We have used it to build our team here at Peak Development Partners, and we use it on every project we work on. But, it all begins with assembling the right parts early.

It’s the first step in developing a project that opens on time, on budget, or better. And that always begins with you, the developer.

This is the first article in a series on Do It Together Development. Stay tuned as we go deeper into the 3 remaining tenets: Leveraging your team’s talents, protecting your time, and managing your project proactively.

About the author

Lee Crewson

Lee Crewson

Founder & President

Lee has made commercial construction management his life’s work, focusing on building places where people live like multi-family, hospitality, student housing, and senior living for successful developers. He’s also committed to the values of this country and has over twenty five years of service in both the active and reserve forces as a Commissioned Officer in the US military. Lee embraces the power of a committed team that collaborates early and often and is happy to guide any developer who shares the same philosophy for success. Reach him anytime at LeeC@TeamPeak.com.

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