Project preparation: what should be provided at the start

Author: Zarif Nassimov

Rubrics: Project development

The necessity to move to a new office does not arise unexpectedly but as a rule comes to respond new circumstances. Any company experiences change of business processes, the headcount and the terms of cooperation with the landlord. All of that sooner or later gets into certain discordance with the ordinary way of business and impacts productivity. Where to move to, and how to do that best so as to get a balanced, thought through result? These questions and a set of other issues are resolved by virtue of preparation for a project.

What is project preparation essential for?

«To prepare for the project», – will be the answer of many. Not always. In essence, this stage is quite indirectly associated with the project as such if we mean the search and selection, negotiation of the lease terms and conditions and the fit-out of the new office. The major objectives of this stage are slightly different from the above listed tasks and are focused on protecting the client from possible financial failures.

Our approach is not like the “salesman” approach which is based on provision of exactly whatever the client is asking for notwithstanding the details behind the request, we are committed to consultative approach. Our task is to help our client to thoughtfully figure out the real essence of the requirement initially formulated. What’s the relocation reason? What expectations are there with respect to the new office? What criteria should the new office match? What is the affordable cost of the new lease and fit-out? How well does the budget match the market realities? What will the consequences of terminating the existing lease agreement be? These are the questions which need to be given a good thought and thoroughly reviewed at the very beginning, i.e. in course of pre-project preparation stage. Whatever the decision is it is crucial that it is the right and a financially sound decision – and that is exactly what we are focused on.

4 stages of Pre-feasibility consulting

  • Client requirements determination.

This is when we communicate with the client to figure out the objective and subjective prerequisites of the requirements. At times the requirement to move to new office arises in connection with increasing headcount, expansion of the existing business or development of new lines of business. But sometimes the reason for such requirement is associated with numerous complaints about poor ventilation or malfunction of other utility systems. The approach would have to be different in each case.

Let’s review an example in association with each stage. Let’s assume a new department of 10-15 employees is organized in a certain company. At the same time the leased office space remains unchanged. The space allocated per each person shrinks, which naturally leads to worsening of the office climate which in turn subsequently causes certain discomfort and complaints about the lack of air. The manager decides to look for a new office with a view to simultaneously resolving the issue of getting to a location closer to metro for the employees to get to work faster.

  • Requirements actualization.

At times, articulation of the requirements versus anticipated financial implications which may be reflected in hundreds of thousands in monetary terms, motivates the client to reconsider some of the expectations. Some of the problems appear to be much less critical and the client tends to realize that there may be a number of more attainable solutions as opposed to the initial idea. This is when the initial idea gets reasonably reviewed and revised.

At the stage when the requirement is actualized we can figure out whether or not the actual cause of it can be resolved only by virtue of moving to a new office. Whether or not the existing office space can be adapted to new requirements with less cost implications.

  • Selection of possible solutions in line with the agreed strategy.

Basically, all options are clustered in two possible strategies: change of the office or optimization of the existing one.

Let’s assume, in course of our search of a new office we discovered that a next door office lessee plans to move out very soon. This means the existing office space can be expanded without too much trouble for most of the client’s departments and with minimum cost implications. Obviously the office microclimate will improve and the cost of a corporate shuttle-bus delivering the employees form a farther metro station is incomparably lower than the cost of a new office fit-out and relocation.

  • • Support in negotiations with the existing landlord (if required).

In the event a decision is made to stay at the existing office we can take an active part in negotiations with the existing landlord. Normally, this is a tough negotiation situation and finding a compromise is quite a bit of a challenge, especially if a long-lasting office lease relationships are concerned. However, due to the fact that we very well know the market, we can find substantial reasons which help achieve the set goals i.e. a decrease of the lease fees, sharing cost of repairs with the landlord etc.

If required, we can prepare for and initiate detailed negotiations with the landlord so as to agree upon a revised set of terms and conditions which result in most beneficial results in favor of the client. Using our awareness of the current lease offering alternatives and the office lease market in general we competently manage to handle objections and come to an agreement.

Консультанты помогают клиенту взглянуть на ситуацию с другой стороны

The pre-project preparation is essential for evaluation of the situation from a number of standpoints in an objective manner.

Thus, due to our consulting support our clients get to realize:

  • Whether it is really necessary to move to a new office in order to satisfy all of the actual requirements or if it is possible to find the right solutions at the premises currently leased.
  • Whether or not it is possible to find the right solutions using the approved budget.

The scope of this service

Pre-feasibility consulting is nowhere near the standard telephone conversations or anonymous fragmented answers to general queries. The service presumes in-depth involvement into the client’s project and constant communication with an aim to comprehensive determination of objectives for best result.

Обязательные составляющие

Is pre-feasibility consulting needed if a short-list is already available?

Many clients prefer to independently go through the initial stages, including the initial market analysis, search of the office premise options and short-listing of such options. The latter is normally formed of 2-3 options out of about ten which become subject to further detailed analysis and considerations. Even if such initial work is performed well, the pre-feasibility consulting can be of much use.

We will analyze the short-listed premises and run a comparison between the selected options and the existing office premises as per a number of parameters including the fees, the fit-out, the microclimate, location, but all of that will just precede the detailed analysis. This analysis is not a solely standing exercise but is performed with a fine projection of the client’s requirements upon all options under review. As the result the client gets a reasonable and comprehensive opinion as to whether or not it is worth moving into one of the selected offices.

Who is this service designed for?

In an ideal world the pre-feasibility consulting is a logical solution for those who just started thinking of changing an office.

  • First group – are the entrepreneurs who have not yet reviewed the market, made no efforts to search for any options and decided to engage professionals in the very beginning.
  • The second group – are the businesses which have already undertaken certain steps but haven’t had the chance to document any obligations with respect to any third parties (no office lease agreement/letter of intent is executed).

The consulting support is a possibility at any stage of the project, however it can generate the best results in the event it is sought for at the above mentioned stages of the project in terms of the financial results. In the event there are documented obligations with respect to third parties the service is adjusted accordingly, i.e. our specialists will immediately focus on the main project objectives with an aim to achieve the most beneficial implementation of the agreed terms and conditions.