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Six Keys to Effective CapEx Project Management – LODGING

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Capital expenditures (CapEx) are expected to hit record levels in 2015 and 2016. Hospitality experts discussed the benefits of good planning, the issues of bad budgets, and more during a panel at the HD Expo in Las Vegas in May. Here are a few things to consider before starting your next project.

Align yourself with the right designers. \”The designer can be detrimental or can create incredible value,\” explains Shai Zelering, managing director of asset management and operations for Thayer Lodging. To make an informed decision and determine the right fit, Thayer typically approaches two to three designers per project. \”We see how they balance art and commerce,\” he says. \”There are some creative ideas, but if it doesn\’t translate in ROI, it doesn\’t work for us.\”

Assemble a well-rounded team. Make sure all parties involved are team players who understand the scope and budget of the project and the desired end result. \”If you select the right designer, the right procurement team, and the right project manager, they will get you to the promised land, as long as you as an owner are ready to make decisions between what\’s nice and necessary,\” Zelering says.

Overcommunicate. Comprehensive project kickoff meetings can help streamline the design process, especially on a tight schedule, explains Helen Jorgenson, VP of design and procurement at Host Hotels and Resorts. \”Get everyone in the room at the same time, from property to procurement agent to design firm, and go over the entire project, the schedule, and get down to the nitty-gritty to mitigate any risks,\” she suggests.

Establish a clear budget. Project managers should communicate the budget so designers spend money smartly and identify areas where they can save. \”It\’s difficult for designers to design to the budget if they don\’t know what budget is,\” Jorgenson says.

Allocate sufficient time for all aspects of the project. To avoid throwing off the schedule, build in time for creating prototypes and mockups or signing shop drawings and approving finishes. When it comes to procurement, involve vendors early on, adds Warren Feldman, CEO of Jonathan Nehmer + Associates. \”We\’re trying to go over comments and shop drawings and get things resolved on the phone or through video conferencing to make sure there is better communication of what the designer wants, what\’s on the project scope, and what the vendor is trying to make.\”

Have enough bandwidth. Be selective about who you partner with or what projects you take on. \”Don\’t over-commit,\” Zelering says. \”When you\’re thinking about your next job, and you didn\’t do a good job on the current one, things get sideways.\”

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