What are the ways to eliminate downtime on fit-out projects?

March, 2022

 

Ideas to eliminate downtime on fit-out projects

 
Any commercial interior design project that requires collaboration between several groups of people is likely to experience some roadblocks along the way. No project plan is foolproof, but there are some steps that can be taken to ensure minimal problems.

We have complied a few best practice tips but also tried to give them additional insights.
 

Draft and discuss a plan

 
The best way to prepare for inevitable issues is to establish a detailed plan early on. This should encompass every aspect of the fit-out process, including the date for commercial flooring installation to the payment schedule for the entire project. Getting everything down in writing works doubly to give concrete form to your plans while functioning as a record and reference. Combing through the project timeline also helps to spot potential roadblocks before they occur, allowing for early contingency planning. It also sets out expectations and reduces the chances of client changes without an extra cost being realised. Sitting down to draw out this plan will also offer further chances for interfacing between the contractor, designer, and client, helping smooth over communication in the long run.

It isn’t just about what should go right….

Our insight here is around leaning from past mistakes. It is important to foster a culture that says it is OK to make mistakes as long as you own them and work with everyone to address them. An open and honest dialogue at this stage, discussing what can regularly go wrong, and how it has been previously addressed can help all parties share issues as they arrive, and know what to do in advance in many cases.
 

Ensure open communication

 
We just referenced it and perhaps the most pertinent consideration in any fit-out project is constant and effective communication between all parties involved. Good communication ensures a better working relationship over the course of the fit-out.

Furthermore, should there be any last-minute changes or inevitable issues arising, negotiations will be much easier to navigate with a pre-existing rapport between all involved parties. These conversations may also reveal further ways to cut costs and improve the efficiency of the fit-out process by deferring to the respective professionals in the conversation. Duraflor is happy to advise flooring contractors and designers on floor preparation issues as well as selecting the best products for the job. That can extend to providing product quantities and assisting with site measuring and various testing.

Expect conflict and be prepared to deal with it…..

Regardless of all the steps taken to prevent issues, there will inevitably be hiccups. In the event of an actual clashing or untenable change of plans, one skill that is invaluable is conflict management. There are several ways to mitigate conflict, such as using the Imago technique of mirroring, empathising with and validating the other party’s perspective before presenting your own viewpoint and inviting them to do the same for you. With open communication and by approaching the conflict firmly but kindly, there is usually a compromise to be found.
 

Make Downtime Productive

 
“Downtime” is a word that no designer wants to hear. It typically signals a problem with the fit-out process and can result in costly delays.

If circumstances out of your control result in unexpected downtime, it may however present an opportunity to look at areas that could be improved, see if a positive can come out of an issue.

Perhaps some of the inspection processes or activities that normally fall at the end of a project can be implemented earlier, to claw back some project time. Additional environmental and cost issues might be addressed.

The pace of some projects often means that company staff or sub-contractors are not as engaged with projects as they could be. Downtime could be productively used in working with the company to engage staff around the changes. Minimizing downtime is all about making a workforce feel empowered to speak up be heard, and to be a part of the solutions that make their office environment a great place to work. If the project hits a glitch, involving staff has additional bonuses and is likely to reap rewards for the client, and make the job of navigating the delay easier.
 

Our Mantra

 
As part of the Langford Group, we are on a mission to eliminate downtime, our distribution arm SASGO has a reputation for keeping projects moving through unrivalled service. At Duraflor’s premises we hold popular floorcoverings in stock (in the UK) and make everything easy for you, with regards pricing, expert advice, and delivery. We make sure that we are part of your solution to eradicate downtime. Contact us to discuss your project and how we can help.

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