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Although it is not always realised or recognised, renovation projects all too often fail because the project management aspect thereof fails. The official and generally-accepted definition of a project is that it is a temporary endeavour which is undertaken to create a unique product or service. “Temporary” means that every project has a definite start and finish. “Unique” means that the product or service is different in some distinguishing way from all similar products or services. This means that clearly by definition, all work done in and around the property to improve, alter or convert, falls in this category.

Renovation, therefore, always constitutes projects. But projects always have to be managed as such. Project Management is a highly specialised management discipline, vastly different from operational and other types of management. According to its official definition, Project Management is the “application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet stakeholders’ needs and expectations…” Project Management entails the following areas amongst others:

·         Scope management – the “scope” is the extent of the work that must be done to achieve the product and service with the specified requirements

·         Time management – each project has an end date based on a duration calculation. Each activity or group of activities has to be planned and managed to achieve this end date

·         Cost management – each project needs to have a budget which needs to be managed

·         Quality management – quality management is the process to ensure that the product or service conforms to the set requirements

·         Risk management – each project has risks, which are uncertain events or condition that may have an effect on a project’s objectives

Management of all the above areas is done through initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing phases. Although at Smarten Renovate we don’t believe all major stakeholders in the renovation sector should be experts on project management, we subscribe to the notion that each project should be managed within the parameters of the project management discipline. Therefore, we believe that at least one of the major stakeholders in a property renovation project should at least have a working knowledge of project management. Here are some reasons why:

1.       35% of all renovation projects fail because the requirements of the project and finished product have not been stipulated correctly and thoroughly enough before work starts. A project essentially fails when it goes over time, when it exceeds its budget, and when the requirements (scope) are not met. Someone with project management experience knows how to quantify and document the needs, wants and expectations of the stakeholders.

2.       If the timing aspect of a project is neglected or dealt with haphazardly, it is bound to fail. Someone has to plan and execute the timeous delivery of material to the site, for example. Someone has to understand and manage activity dependencies and sequences, the allocation of resources to activities, and the management of a schedule.

3.       As mentioned before, the scope of the project is the extent of the work to be done to achieve the project objectives. Scope management is the process of defining what work is required and then making sure all of that work – and only that work – is done. Someone needs to help plan, document and manage the scope, so that “scope creep” (when additional scope items are added without considering the effects on time, costs and resources and without due process) etc. is avoided and managed.

The earlier in the project lifecycle one takes control in terms of managing the project, the better. At Smarten Renovate all projects are allocated a project manager, who in most cases is a different person than the site manager. This person is responsible for the smooth management of the project within the constraints of time, cost and scope. He or she does the project plans, communicates with all stakeholders, manages constraints, does the procurement with the site manager, manages all the various resources, and is generally accountable for the success of the project. This daily management of the project is effective, minimises risk and leads to higher percentages of successful projects.