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Stuck between a rock and a hard place…

I’ve recently come away from a major residential and commercial construction project, throughout which I was in an atypical situation. I was placed within the construction offices alongside the construction teams and suppliers but also within the FM and estate management team in their office.

The construction team, FM team, and Property Developers are all from different companies.

Here’s my observation; their different agendas meant the design of handover and communication were minimal and debatably unfriendly.

On the one hand, you have a huge team within construction who have worked hard to complete an impressive project, working to tight deadlines, under a lot of pressure to achieve a level of perfection which appeared near impossible. Strong relationships had formed within these teams over a number of years working towards this common goal. The culture within the construction site and office was to some extent a more frenzied, male-dominated environment. The priority to complete often meant that the operational side of the build seemed to fall by the wayside, causing the FM and estate management teams frustration, and the construction complaints.

On the other hand, you have a team of FM professionals, some with soft landings experience, some who knew the site prior to the construction and refurbishment, and some who were completely new to the concept and building their experience. This team came together for the first time a couple of months before the practical completion of the first phase of construction, often working in multiple separate offices until the shared office was ready for occupation. The culture of the office was also high pressure, but high pressure to deliver supreme customer service with a product which they had limited exposure to and a brand new team, supply chain and management processes to navigate.

The disconnect and often contempt within these two teams was painful to witness, while I could comprehend why it had occurred there was a huge culture of ‘us and them’.

The question is; how do we get these cultures to work in unison to achieve the ultimate handover?

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