My firm was recently hired by a media company for a build-to-suit project. This is nothing out of the ordinary for us. However, what does stand out is the fast track timeline: We were asked to complete the design and construction documents in just six weeks, approximately half the time we typically allot for the process. Here we go again.
This mirrors a trend I’ve been noticing lately: the rise of the “faster track” fast track project. While we certainly have the ability to handle such requests (one might even say we have it down to a science), they can still be stressful, particularly without the right parameters in place. Since the trend is not likely to disappear anytime soon, I thought I’d share a few strategies for successfully working within a compressed time frame.
Assemble Your Team Sooner: Brokers, let us help you! This is not a self-serving plea; it’s an offer. Once the relationship has been cemented between you and your tenant, it’s time to start making calls. Reach out to your architect the following morning. Follow that up with a call to an engineer and, if possible, a construction manager too. Get the team in place as soon as possible!
If these parties are going to be part of carrying out your plan, they should all be in on the conversation. A fast track project means that several phases of the project will overlap, so you’ll need to embrace the quicker timeline appropriately. Having consultants and a support team on staff early will save weeks of unneeded stress and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Talk Dollars and Sense: If there’s ever a time to be honest about your budget, it’s now. The numbers should be determined before any lease is signed and should be vetted, established and agreed upon by all parties beforehand. An honest assessment of the financials will allow the architectural firm you’re working with to think about design options that will meet your requirements and time frame. Good quality design is absolutely possible, even with a strict budget, but the more time there is to talk about it and weigh options, the better.
Make Up Your Mind: If a speedy turnaround is what your clients have in mind, they should be prepared to make decisions just as rapidly. Someone should be available, on the tenant or landlord side, and authorized to make those decisions so the process is not held up. No matter how quick the members of your team working on the design and construction are, they are only capable of moving things along as fast as the parties giving them qualified, prompt feedback.
One last word of advice: A “faster track” fast track project can be a necessity in today’s ever-changing business world, particularly for certain types of end users. And that’s fine, as long as you slow down long enough to think about what you need to make it a reality.