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straight answers to curly questions

straight answers to curly questions

lack of experience is never a good look

What are the benefits of 25+ years in commercial office fit outs? Pt 1

 

Rosemary de Lambert, general manager

 

Why is following instructions so difficult sometimes?  If you’ve ever had to follow a recipe, assemble a flat-packed pandora’s box from Ikea or carry out maintenance on any kind of vehicle named “Old Faithful”, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  It’s annoying because the step by step instructions are right there in front of you, numbered with parts and or ingredients labelled.  What’s the problem?  Well, maybe you thought it would be easy and got a little overconfident.  Maybe you thought you’d try something new.  Whichever it is, the fact remains – you probably didn’t have enough experience.

Tell tale signs you’re experiencing the frustration of inexperience

Okay, the thought of weekends lost trying to use that Allen key, transforming those egg whites into something edible or keeping an old car on the road can cause trepidation and frustration.  But at the end of the day, we’re just talking about bookshelves, pastries and cars.  What about a fit out that can cost your company hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars?  Tensions can escalate dramatically for both clients and fit out companies when inexperience rears its ugly head.  In this case you’ll find that: a lot more questions should have been asked early in the process instead of receiving blithe assurances; you’ll ask, why some of the stickier issues weren’t raised sooner; referees and testimonials were few and far between; and nagging doubts never really went away.

Let me be clear, as the client, inexperience in the world of commercial office fit outs should not stand in the way of your company calling a workplace you love, your home away from home.  Your expertise may lay in finance, primary production, marketing, pharmaceuticals, it shouldn’t matter.  If your fit out team’s processes and protocols are built on the rock-solid foundation of experience, your inexperience in this field shouldn’t matter.

5 important characteristics to experience with your chosen team

Unfortunately, it will matter if signs of inexperience are evident.  To avoid shackling yourself to a team that may make things a lot more difficult on your aspirations, your budget and your stress levels, look for a team that:

1. Asks open, leading and closed questions – when you speak with an experienced and successful team, you’ll get the sense that they want to know everything about what your organisation does, how and why.  It won’t be a set list of well-worn questions that steer you down a path towards a templated or simplistic solution.  Look for a team that wants to create a brand fit solution for your business.

2. Sets realistic, if surprising time frames – The most common misconception about office fit outs is that, just like home renovation transformations on commercial television shows, these things can be built in a couple of weeks.  Experience tells us that nothing could be further from the truth.  Due diligence and proper planning demand attention to detail, patience, persistence and time.  Anyone that tells you different is in for a bigger surprise than you are when everyone from private certifiers to landlords start asking in depth questions that require equally well-documented answers.

3. Raises issues that you would never have thought of before saying yes – there’s a comfortable level of concern that should give you some comfort when talking with your chosen fit out company.  Why?  Because there are always issues, tricks and traps that need to be negotiated, overcome or circumnavigated.  Always!  If something seems a little too easy, it probably is.It sounds like a cliché but clichés are clichés for a reason, there’s always a kernel of truth in them.  Compliance, egress, additional air-conditioning.  Just some of the basic terms and conditions that are cause for pause during the discovery and planning phase.It becomes more interesting from there.  Happily, none of this is your problem.  An experienced team will quickly recognise and understand these challenges, will be noting and assessing the issues and thinking through solutions developed over time.  That’s just one of the benefits of experience – 25 years of it.

4. Have worked with people and brands you know – there’s nothing like a personal recommendation from someone you know.  But let’s face it, you may not have friends, colleagues or acquaintances that have had to lead an office fit out project before.  Next best is working with people who have successfully worked on recognised brands, businesses, companies and have produced work, of which both parties are justifiably proud.

5.Fill you with confidence – this one is critical.  Have you ever felt dread, stress or at the very least, a nagging feeling that this (whatever project you might be thinking of) might just end in tears?  Lots and lots of them?  Imagine feeling that for 6-10 months.  When you speak with a team that ticks the previous 4 boxes, you should feel assured that whatever comes, even if you didn’t expect it, will be taken care of by an experienced team of experts.  It’s a simple as that.  Understand that the previous 4 points are real and identify a team that fills you with confidence.

A final point, numbers like 25 and 1000 are nice, round numbers that are easy to remember.  But what I’d like you to remember is that our company has been successfully ticking those 5 boxes for over 25 years and we’ve completed over 1000 wonderful projects in that time.  We’re very proud of that, it makes us feel good and we’re keen to share the experience – with you.