But before the ink has dried on the contract, your phone starts to ring off the hook from every mover, telephone vendor, IT consultant, contract furniture firm, designer, architect, general contractor, copy machine firms, leasing company…..and the list goes on.
I was once that guy who was on the receiving end of those phone calls. I know firsthand what it’s like to be deluged from every vendor looking to sell their services. For the average tenant who has never been involved in a build out, it’s quite an overwhelming experience. Why do you need these services? When should I engage? Who is the most reputable vendor? What is it going to cost? Wasn’t the landlord handling that? Isn’t this in my work letter and TI allowance? Your natural inclination is to shut down and avoid the calls.
Aside from the architects, engineers and design professionals, there are several consultants who can help bring harmony to the chaos and make your planning, design and implementation process much easier than if you were to go it alone. Here’s a quick guide of the most common consultants you should consider who can bring the expertise needed to make your project as smooth and seamless as possible.
1. The Project Manager/Owner’s Rep – First and foremost, the PM is your advocate and point person through which every vendor reports to. I don’t say this simply for selfish reasons because I am a PM and work for the world’s leading project management firm. But rather the buck stops with us. We manage every aspect of the project including timelines, budgets, vendors, consultants and move plans that keep the project on track. This allows the tenant and their staff to focus on their day-to-day job and not become overwhelmed by a construction project they likely have little experience in handling.
2. Technology Consultant – From designing the IT back-end and data centers, assessing heat loads for HVAC, creating rack elevations, implementing cabling plans, security, phone systems, audio/visual needs and conference rooms, the technology consultant plays a vital role in all things technical. They help the tenant’s IT department design the infrastructure, update the architect’s background CAD files for bid sets, interview vendors, negotiate contracts, coordinate with the design and construction team, manage the implementation during construction and see to it that system training is scheduled.
3. Structural Engineer – You might not know it but structural engineers are used for something as innocuous as installing high density file systems. HD systems concentrate a tremendous amount of weight in a relatively small area. You want to ensure the flooring below can support the weight so it doesn’t wind up crashing through to the tenant below.
4. Acoustical Consultant – Privacy is a concern in many legal, healthcare and financial institutions. Your architect’s plans might be reviewed by an acoustical consultant to ensure your sound transmission and desired absorption is achieved. Issues like thickness of walls, density of acoustical material, seals at joints, mitigating sound transmission in HVAC ducts, walls and plenum’s and sound masking options can all be adjusted to achieve an STC rating (sound transmission class) which measures a material’s ability to resist airborne sound transfer necessary for your comfort
5. Furniture Consultant – The furniture consultant can assist in choosing the right style and functionality for your new space. They will help assess your workplace environment and help you choose from the various options such as cubicles, desking/open plan. etc. They also provide the “function over form” reality check that so many designers miss.
5.5. Move Consultant – From purge campaigns, assessing filing space needs, re-purposing furniture and overseeing the physical relocation, the move consultant works with your team to prepare for the move. They coordinate with departments and other consultants to develop the move plan, seating assignments, transferring technology, bidding out to the movers, packing instructions, decommissioning the existing site and acting as traffic cop on Day 1 to ensure any problems and issues are directed to the correct trade for remedy.
If any of these consultants come calling, these are my top 5.5 consultants you should not hang up the phone on.
Richard Neuman is Vice President in JLL’s Northeast region Project and Development Services group. The views expressed in this blog are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer.