Reducing the Administration Burden of Fit-out and Refurb Projects

Essential tactics to free up time on fit out and refurb projects

The current UK construction boom is good news for an industry hit hard by the global financial crisis. However, for many small construction business owners in the fit out and refurb sector escalating time pressures mean that they are struggling to take advantage of the upturn.
Severe labour shortages in construction
During the recession, it is estimated that around 400,000 people left the construction industry and as a result, the industry is suffering from a serious shortage across all skillsets and competition for skilled labour is set to intensify.
“€¦about 20% more construction managers, surveyors, electricians and other trades will be needed to meet demand, over the next four years, than were needed from 2010-13.”KPMG and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Finding and recruiting suitable skilled labour can be a significant drain on time.
The burden of red tape in fit out and refurb projects
Time pressures on refurb projects are being exacerbated by the increasing administrative demands generated by multiplying legislative guidelines.
84% of business owners reported an increase in time spent complying with legislation. Forum of Private Business research, July 2015
Compounding the problem is the growing amount of paperwork arising from planning and record keeping, such as site waste management plans and the monitoring of waste disposal.
As a result business owners have less time to spend on their ‘primary jobs’ – developing the business and overseeing quality. Yet there are tactics that managers can employ to help alleviate these time pressures on their refurb projects.
Increase efficiency by working collaboratively with suppliers
Working smarter, not harder, is key to freeing up time on refurb projects. Business owners ought to examine whether they are making the most of their existing assets and those of their suppliers. They need to look for opportunities to streamline their activities and pool their resources with a view to increasing efficiency by working more collaboratively. Productivity gains could be made by:

encouraging teamwork and joint problem solving providing value engineering opportunities
exploring a supplier’s full range of services to reduce mobilisation constraints
selecting suppliers by quality, as well as lowest price tendering
developing common processes and tools to avoid duplication and eliminate waste
fostering long-term relationships to save re-tendering packages every time

Seek better value from refurb project suppliers
Refurb business owners should reevaluate their supplier relationships to assess whether they are truly delivering value to the business, particularly in terms of time saved. An effective supplier should actively partner with the business to help solve its everyday problems.
Consider, for example, a waste management supplier. Typically these services are contracted in to simply remove and dispose of waste. Yet that leaves the refurb business with the responsibility and time burden of most of the associated administration, such as the legislative compliance of suppliers used and the monitoring of waste disposal processes, including:

the aggregating of waste data
checking service delivery
accuracy and reporting of recycling rates and landfill diversion back to the end client.

Contrast this with a supplier who offers a complete outsourced waste management service with a strategic partnership approach. This kind of service seeks to keep costs down while delivering a more efficient service and providing in-house expertise on compliance issues.
Such services reduce the burden on time poor refurb project managers by:

eliminating the need to monitor compliance against the latest legislation
operating through a network of pre-qualified local suppliers – guaranteeing consistency and quality of service provision
providing online resources that dynamically track waste collection, disposal, and compliance

These services can cost the same as a standard waste disposal solution, yet offer far better value.

The skills shortage in the UK construction industry is set to worsen
Improve efficiency by working smarter, not harder
Suppliers who can work collaboratively will help save you time
A supplier who can develop a strategic partnership rather than simply fulfil a function offers better value

Identify opportunities to reduce administrative burdens and improve overall productivity by undertaking audits of every site you manage. Download our comprehensive guide: Fit out and refurb: project set-up checklist