Embrace The Uncertainty

A lesson my wife didn’t like and neither will you!

Yesterday my wife came home, burst through the door and shouted to come down urgently

She had just been to pick our daughter up from school with our son who is 2

“Look what he has done to my phone”

She held up her cracked phone (the second in 6 months) furiously

“Its not his fault” was my candid reply

I got that look!

“I passed it to him and he knocked it out of my hand!” she continued

Again I repeated my first message and continued

“If you had a case on it, like I said after the last phone that broke, this wouldn’t have happened”


“Why were you passing him your phone in the first place”

I didn’t get a response, just that look again.

You will be doing the same on your projects

“That architect has messed these drawings up”

“That price is too high”

“The builder is taking the piss out of me”

“That isn’t what I wanted”

If you have said any of these phrases then im sorry to tell you but the real problem is staring back at you in the mirror.

Accept some responsibility. I will warn you though, it isn’t easy.


How Many Contractors Do You Get Quotes From?

How many contractors do you usually approach to price your projects for you?

Well if its any more than 3 or 4 you are doing something wrong.

You may have heard the expression, “if you throw enough shit then some of it is bound to stick”

Well that’s true put why would you want to throw shit around?

Its much more efficient to do some due diligence, pre-qualify your supply chain and get two or three fully compliant tenders than sending out 8 hopefuls and getting 1 partially compliant and one non-compliant tender back

You will also prevent “supply chain fatigue” which is a polite way of saying you won’t piss your local supply chain off

I remember sitting in a property training course once where one of the mentors was regaling us with a story about how he had sent out 17 tenders for a £110k refurbishment project and got two tenders back.

Like it was some sort of badge of honour!

And that builders are all bastards who will do anything to screw you over, his tender story being a case in point.

This is all absolute nonsense. On my projects I usually go to two maybe a maximum of three pre-qualified contractors who I know can deliver exactly what the project needs.

I mean why would you want to waste your time doing anything else?

Traditional Procurement

As a property developer, most projects you will be involved in will follow a traditional procurement method.

By that I mean your project will follow a process similar to this:

  1. Get an architect to design your project
  2. Go out to tender once the design is “finalised”
  3. Get way less quotes back than number of contractors your approached
  4. Find they are all over budget, so you appoint the lowest price contractor to minimise damage
  5. Maybe use a JCT Minor or Intermediate Form of Contract
  6. Sit and wait for the variations to start rolling in

This maybe the way you are told to deliver your project because that’s the way everyone does it, and have done for years, so do you really want to be a trail blazer and dip your toes into a more creative way of delivering your projects?

Well if you want to deliver your project as cost effectively as possible, or you want to de-risk the construction as you might have some unknown ground conditions, or you need to execute the project as quickly as you can.

Then this procurement route won’t work for you

And I will bet my bottom dollar that the professionals you usually employ won’t actually even bother their arse to find out what

YOU REALLY WANT to achieve in your project, never mind suggest a more creative way to deliver your project.

How Much Is A Good Consultant Worth?

How much would you be willing to pay a good consultant?

You can baulk at the fees being charged, but that is where the error begins.

Any good consultant should be measured in value, not in cost.

Think about the problems you had on your last project…

Did it go overbudget?

Did it take longer than you planned?

Did the relationship with the contractor go a bit sour?

Did you actually get what you wanted at the end?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then how are you going to prevent that happening on your next project?

And how much would solving those problems be worth?

£50k to prevent a £100k overspend?

I would even go as far as saying £100k to prevent a £100k overspend.

Especially if that means the project being delivered on time, the relationship with the contractor is maintained and you get the end result you planned for.

Imagine that, stress free project delivery for you. No more taking that stress home to your significant other and kids. No more lying awake at night worrying about your projects.

Maybe you like that stress and moaning to everyone about how bad your project is going and how much of an arse hole your contractor is.

Actionable Intelligence

Actionable Intelligence. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?

Well don’t worry, it’s just a fancy way of saying “using reliable data to make decisions”.

This is fundamental in project delivery.

As projects are a series of decisions.

Each one you make has a direct and lasting impact on the overall project.

That’s why it’s critical you have the most reliable and up to date information around which to make a decision.

Otherwise, you can make the wrong decision which can ruin your project.

You can see this right now in the Government, deciding to lock the UK down again based on a model which doesn’t reflect reality.

This is slightly different to a project though as usually optimism reigns supreme rather than pessimism.

I am not saying this is right or wrong but surely big decisions should be made using reliable data…

Anyway, the point is, every day, week and month that passes on your project you are making decisions.

Some of them will be based on data but some of them will be made by the seat of your pants.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could make critical decisions based on what the data is telling you?

Like how much of the schedule you have completed against what you had planned


How much money you have spent against the amount of work you have done onsite

cIt’s definitely better than guessing (and it will prevent those fuck ups that haunt you)