Avoiding roadblocks during pre-opening activities
Franchise construction management is a unique type of production administration. A project manager (PM) needs to wholly understand the intricacies of construction, complexities of design, and manage the difficulties of a schedule. The PM also needs to be able to fully appreciate the level of participation from the client (franchisee and franchisor). The participation of the client is incredibly critical in the pre-opening activities.
Every franchise is different. As such, each one has different levels of sophistication and complexity in their contribution during the construction phase. All of which affects who provides what and when also known as a responsibility matrix. During pre-opening activities, the end of every type of construction project is eerily similar; an overabundance of workers and a mad dash to get to the finish line.
Four key franchise construction management elements that help in avoiding roadblocks during pre-opening activities
In most cases, a national franchise representative will visit the job site just prior to the opening to do an inspection. Not only are they looking for construction deficiencies such as HVAC air balance and levels of drywall finish, but also strict adherence to the design documents and specifications. Ultimately, the national representative is responsible for brand compliance. Brand compliance safeguards continuity in stores and locations throughout corporate and local partnerships. Brand compliance also reinforces franchisees following specific standards.
Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment (FFE)
For most of the construction process, you normally will not see any of the franchisee’s furniture, fixtures, and equipment. This is to safeguard the materials against damage and to streamline delivery costs and the timing of when they are needed for installation. This is more critical during pre-opening activities. It can seem the floodgates have been opened and the space becomes cramped and there is nowhere to move. My advice is to plan the delivery of this equipment to an adjacent space or an outside storage container. Bring in each item as needed. This will free up space for the skilled tradesmen to finish out their work and punch list items.
All the while construction work is being completed in the store, the franchisee needs to commence training their employees. This is a critical process that doesn’t get discussed often enough. The construction work needs to be far enough along to allow the employees to begin learning their job. Because expedited schedules are the norm, the general contractor must obtain, at a minimum, a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) permit that gives the franchisee permission to train. There may be restrictions in the TCO such as not being open to the public or can’t turn on the equipment that generates heat. In any case, there needs to be time and space appropriated to the franchisee for this necessary training. Learn more about drywall finishes.
Don’t jump the gun and schedule a final cleaning. It is best to keep the job site tidy and free of debris during the last few days of a project. Using floor and wall protection as well as temporary corner guards of casework, equipment and doors are highly advised. However, save the final cleaning for the day before the grand opening. It will sparkle and smell fresh for the employees and most importantly the customers.
It is critical to schedule an on-site meeting with all subcontractors, suppliers, construction workers, superintendents, project managers, franchisees,s, and franchisors just prior to the pre-opening work. Establish protocols on who needs to be where and when, so as not to interfere with the work product of another. A detailed day-to-day schedule is necessary for this last push to the end and will improve your chances of success.
About Construction DesignWorks, LLC
Construction DesignWorks uses its hands-on approach and design and construction expertise to create and develop a winning design-build team that is specialized for each customer. Their complete turnkey building solutions align with the unique business needs of various types of real estate.