How to get the most out of your relationship with an Owner’s Representative

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Managing a commercial construction project is always a big undertaking, no matter the size.

As an owner, you’re responsible for securing the property, doing due diligence, estimating full project costs, setting the schedule, communicating with stakeholders, overseeing construction and regulation adherence, and so much more. With so many moving parts, it can be hard for one person to take on the role of managing the entire job. Your name and your resources are on the line, and you want to ensure the most successful outcome on your project. That’s where hiring a strong Owner’s Representative becomes so important. As your advocate we work as an extension of your staff, running the entire project from start to finish, keeping your interests in mind.

And when it comes to building in Kansas City, using an owner’s rep who is intimately familiar with the market, stakeholders, partners, local officials, etc. can save you a lot of time, hassle and money. Copaken Brooks has represented ownership groups on projects ranging from $250,000 to more than $250 million in developments in Kansas, Missouri and throughout the United States. We’re also owners and realtors ourselves, so we fully empathize and understand what’s at stake.

With more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, I’m proud to represent clients from all industries to make their plans come to life all across the city. To get the most out of your relationship with an Owner’s Representative like myself, here are three tips you should keep in mind:

1. Keep your vision and what it’ll cost top of mind.

Think of your construction process as running a race. You can’t successfully finish (or win) a race if you don’t know where the finish line is. You should have a clear vision for what you want out of the project from the start. Whether it’s a “built-to-suit” business complex or a mixed-use development, you want to maximize impact and value. It’s vital to bring in an Owner’s Representative at the very beginning of the project – even before you buy into the property or land site.

While we act as project managers, our focus as the Owner’s Representative is also to act as the main coordinator and facilitator for all facets of the project from pre-design to post-occupancy. If we are in sync with your vision from the onset, we can manage the process holistically, which not only helps you to see potential challenges before they happen – but also helps with your bottom line. Are you aiming for this to be a one-time project, or do you plan on expanding later, for instance? If you’re clear, then the execution will be clear.

2.Stay organized throughout the process.

To complete any type of project, organization is key. It’s essential to have everything lined up and a process established to mitigate any risk and align all stakeholders toward the common goal. Often, we find that owners begin the process without strong project control methods for their builds. I have a broad background in project management, preconstruction, estimating, project controls, contract negotiations and construction technologies, and can help you navigate the entire process. Going back to our race analogy, we track how many miles you’ve already run and have a plan in place to get you to the end of the race.

As the Owner’s Representative, we can either adapt our work to the owner’s project controls or we can use our own set processes to achieve an on-time project delivery. Again, the key is to have a common framework in place from the onset, so the rest of the project can run smoothly.

3.Identify what success looks like in the partnership.

Ultimately, what does success look like to you? A completed project that’s on time and on budget is great. What else?

Working together as a team, the project is greater than the sum of its parts. To us, a successful project is one where everyone wins. The owner wins, as do the designers, the engineers and contractors – each stakeholder who had a hand in the project.

Success is also the maximizing of value for the project. You as the owner need to get the full value for what you invested. That includes gauging overall cost. We want you to be successful – based on how you define success – now and in five years.

As the owner of a project, you put a lot of trust into those who work with you to complete the project. As Owner’s Representatives, we are your voice and advocate at all stages. If you win the race, so do we.

Our team of Owner’s Reps will work closely with you from start to finish and make sure the process runs smoothly.  If you are interested in commercial development in Kansas City and are looking for owner representation, give us a call.

Chris Tschirhart is Vice President of Development and Construction at Copaken Brooks, a full-service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Kansas City and serving the Midwest. The company’s full suite of services includes: owner’s representationleasing (office, medical, retail and industrial), investment acquisition and salestenant representation and HQ relocations, condo managementproperty managementasset management, and development. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or on Twitter @CopakenBrooks.

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Kansas City skyline, featuring Union Station