Justin Palasty, Project Manager for Formacon Building is a project management stalwart now sharing his 17 year experience as a project manager in a new book.
Constructive Ways: a Simple Business and Investor Guide for Building Better Projects, is Palasty’s life work and is a guide for readers who are considering creating an asset in property, building for business or renovating for commercial use how to do so correctly.
Palasty’s Bachelor of Building major in Construction Economics, his membership at the Australian Institute of Project Managers and his experience as a project see the book underpinned by a strong commitment to low maintenance design and client assurance.
Architecture & Design thought it would be nice to catch up with him and elaborate a little on the key message for the book:
As a project manager at Formacon how does what you do influence design?
At Formacon we don’t directly employ designers but we work collaboratively with creatives and we become one team.
As a commercial building contractor we are able to influence design from a build ability point of view, our input is required so that clients understand how designers’ ideas will be realised.
What are the key areas that need to be addressed before building?
Our clients are typically commercial businesses or property developers so we usually hear from them:
1 – How can I save time and money?
2 – How can I do things more efficiently?
3 – How can I improve the overall aesthetics?
4 – How can I make things more profitable?
Questions one and two are related to materials - their use and how well they perform. This will guide the stakeholders’ decisions. This is a key area where we as construction managers work closely with designers. Products must be durable and robust. Our focus is on the long term performance and maintenance of the assets.
Question number three comes down to the creativity and inspiration of the designer, aesthetics is their domain. Designers will be guided by customer requirements, branding and affordability.
Finally, in response to material selection impacting the profitability of a project, the key is demonstrating value in your choices. Again low maintenance and durable selection is paramount.
Industry analysts have suggested that architects and designers need to look at a more integrated construction model. Do you agree?
Integrated models are becoming more common as clients are focused on more efficient and cost effective solutions. This has always been one of the models we offer at Formacon. We enjoy teaming with designers to deliver a creative solution through an integrated model of procurement.
In the end, no matter what the model, it is always about adding value for our clients - giving them something more. This may mean adding services and products to your offering.
Clients are looking at doing more for less. At Formacon we do this by creating partnerships with key stakeholders such as interior designers and architects and client side project managers. Partnerships are an integral element of any business because they enable all parties to work together towards the end goal of the client.
Can you recall a recent project that has adopted this design/construction mantra?
Double Bay Bowling Club is a great example of a successful hospitality renovation. This project was delivered under a design and construct model. We were working with an informed client so we were able to deliver progressive solutions. The main office areas were a key focus - so working together with the project team we were able to create a solution were the client was able to use the space more efficiently and more importantly at a lesser cost.
Working collaboratively with the design team created more ideas and solutions for overcoming project-specific obstacles. The aesthetics and interior integrity could be maintained whilst achieving a practical result that met the client’s needs and budgets. But all stakeholders had a role to play—from the joinery sub-contractor to the lighting consultant.
The advantage is that the client can get better outcomes in a more efficient process instead of following the traditional project model were information can get lost or caught up in processes. Collaboration promotes efficiency which is better value for the client
Finally, any advice you would give to others in the industry?
This is an exciting and dynamic industry. You must plan ahead, be flexible in your approach to client pitches, listen to the project team and most importantly enjoy seeing your hard work come to fruition.
Our portfolio includes bowling clubs through to meditation and medical centres. You need to keep an open mind to clients’ requirements, no matter which industry; it’s usually the ones that you don’t think you will get that you end up being awarded.