Do It Together Development: Manage Your Project Proactively

May 22, 2020 | DIT Development

In recent articles, we have been laying out what has proven to us to be the most effective way to develop any construction project on time, on budget, or better. It’s a team-based approach that we deploy in every one of our clients’ projects. Whether you’re focused, like we are, on developing places where people live like Multi-family, Hospitality, Student Housing, and Senior Living, or not, “Do it Together”Development is your greatest ally. There are four tenets to DIT Development. We have already discussed the importance of building your team early and leveraging their talents in order to protect your time and, in turn, your money.

Our fourth and final tenet encompasses the other three: Manage your project proactively.

DIT Development is all about being proactive. We preach and practice building your team early and engaging them throughout the process because it proactively saves time and money down the line. For instance, having your entire design team in place at the onset of the project all but eliminates the possibility for “additional considerations” down the line. They will have already worked out and agreed upon all design elements.

We also believe in running processes concurrently, instead of sequentially. So, because your design team has ironed out all of the details at the beginning, you can now order all of your finishing materials during project buyout. Also, we all know that utility providers are notoriously slow processing applications. Submit them before the first shovel breaks ground. Simply put, you don’t want to waste time that your building could be open because you’re waiting for the water to be turned on.

A proactive approach begins with the developer. Too many projects are extended unnecessarily or stall out completely due to poor decision making on the part of the development team or ownership.

Cicero said, “More is lost by indecision than wrong decision. Indecision is the thief of opportunity. It will steal you blind.” Indecisive developers/owners is a major red flag and can be extremely costly to a project. Very often, they will be faced with only bad options to choose from. In this scenario, a strong developer will have to bite down hard and choose the least bad option, then move on. A weak developer will put off making the decision, which will cause delays. And, as we keep saying, delays cost money.

Possibly as damaging to a project as indecision is when a developer is constantly changing their minds. These changes can be operational, cost-based, or even simply aesthetic. Either way, they eat up time and money because work needs to be undone, then redone. Sometimes new materials have to be ordered, which causes additional delays. Again, these are stumbling stones that are removed well in advance with a DIT approach.

The stubbornness or short-sightedness (sometimes for good reason, sometimes not) of some developers/owners can also be very damaging to a project. We were brought onto a project and the owner who was running things decided he wanted to haggle the cost of insulation. All of the sticks were in place and the team was ready to install the insulation and drywall, but everything was being held up by the owner trying to negotiate a lower price.

Now, the negotiation was successful. We ended up saving the owner a couple of thousands of dollars on insulation. However, the process shut the entire project down for two whole weeks, against our advice. So, when you look at the opportunity cost of losing two weeks worth of progress, the owner ultimately lost much more than we saved him due to the stoppage. This is the opposite of being proactive.

All of these pitfalls can be avoided by abiding by the four tenets of DIT Development. A team of specialists brought in at the beginning of a project, engaged and exchanging ideas every step of the way can support the indecisive developer and provide guidance when making a hard decision. They can pool their acumen and all agree on a design months or years before ground is broken to prevent the wishy-washy developer from changing their mind. They can even leverage their network to find the best price on insulation well before construction begins.

Remember, the goal of your development is to open on time, or better, so that you can get to generating revenue quickly. An experienced, team-based approach allows you to have extreme visibility and clarity so that you make the best decisions when it’s the best time to make them. This means leveraging a hand-selected team of experts, early and often. This means protecting your time. This means being proactive. This is what DIT Development is all about and it’s why the most successful developers are using it to consistently open on time, on budget, or better.

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.