Proactive project management the solution to a seamless office refit

Sarene Nel, Head of Project Management at Tétris, talks to the value of fit-out project management in extensive redevelopment projects

July 04, 2018

With the considerable number of global companies with regional offices in South Africa, Tétris has become accustomed to briefs that seek to bring the company’s international flair and global standards to our shores.  A recent project, involving the regeneration of a new local headquarters in Sandton for an international firm, comprised the dramatic reconfiguration of a dated space to create a lighter, modern environment.

With a commitment to sustainability and a drive to futureproof all its headquarters around the world, an important part of the client’s brief was to incorporate the latest technology solutions in the refit. This included improved room acoustics and audio-visual requirements, as well as flexibility, efficiency, and collaboration concepts in the new workspaces. A sophisticated reception area with a sense of arrival was a focal point of the design scheme, as were new meeting rooms, together with new joinery and custom-made furniture throughout.

Early involvement is key

The success of the contract had much to do with the early involvement of the project team in the pre-construction phase. This was especially important considering the high specification nature of the refurbishment project. It’s a mistake to review a space on face value, so a detailed site survey is essential before the design process starts.

As a result, the due diligence process has a significant impact on the outcome. It supports accurate planning which can reduce site damage and vulnerable finishes. With complex projects, a thorough survey of the existing building can influence lead times and budget parameters.

In this instance, the planning took six months before a single wall was built. The intensive pre-construction phase integrated commercial requirements with design development to align with budget and time requirements.

With insight into both the design language of the project and its technical challenges, the project management team was able to come up with solutions that answered construction concerns without compromising the integrity of the interior design. For instance, the existing space had full access flooring that was an important consideration in the specification of floor finishes and wall acoustic requirements.  The co-ordination of services was also essential to achieve the required ceiling height and detailing, especially the recessed timber bulkhead with specialised lighting in the boardroom passage.

A long passage became visually intriguing with the inclusion of an interesting ceiling and bookshelves with ottomans to create a library atmosphere. A tricky triangular floor plan made way for a striking reception area, with clever use of lighting creating an intriguing effect as clients enter the new offices.

With a Project Manager as the single point of contact on the project, all elements of the build were integrated – from start to finish.  This complete ownership promoted a proactive approach and an excellent client relationship – imperative to a successful end product.