Smart businesses seek innovative strategies to minimise their cost-base. Practices akin to just-in-time delivery are filtering into service industries globally. Why ‘stock’ people on a payroll if they can be hired and released to suit workload. The age of remote, on-demand, human resources is here and it is giving business the option to lessen the burden and inflexibility of employing staff. Freelance human resources are, more and more, an effective way for business to match supply with demand.
In property development, it makes sense for all project-related costs, including the management of the project, to begin and end relative to the project start and finish.
Seven Child is a cost-effective, professional, experienced, competent, insured alternative to the full-time employment of a Development Manager or Project Manager.
Jamie Featherstone entered the industry as a trade apprentice in 1985 becoming an accomplished craftsman. Subsequently working through the roles in a commercial construction office, he entered senior management in the mid 90s spending seven years as MD of his family’s business employing 70 staff. From 2003 Jamie became immersed in residential construction and has managed all phases of the development process. Jamie has been employed in senior positions for two well-know Australian brands – Glenvill Homes and Australia’s biggest residential builder, Metricon. Capitalising on an opportunity presented to him in 2013 to manage multiple industrial developments in Victoria under a consultancy arrangement, Jamie established Seven Child offering a broad spectrum of project management services. Jamie is a Registered Building Practitioner, has an MBA, is Project Management Professional accredited and has a host of construction and technology-related qualifications to his name. Over the past decade he has successfully managed more than $400 million of residential and commercial property development for himself, JV partners, private individuals, employers and customers of his employers including ASX-listed companies such as Stockland and Lend Lease.
COLLABORATION CLOUD* ... Atlassian Trello is used to track projects. Trello gives clients and project actors 24 hour-7 day access, from any device, in real time, to the status of all current project tasks, related communications and all current documentation.
CONSTRUCTION PHASE MANAGEMENT ... 7c can 'sit' between the client and the contractor as the client's agent acting as a 'fence' and negotiation bridge between the two parties.
DESIGN MANAGEMENT* ... 7c manages the inputs and outputs to and from architect, engineers, drafters, surveyors and others. This is essential to ensure no conflict in inter-dependent elements and reduces the potential for non-compliance, rework during construction and ensuing delay costs.
DEVELOPER ADVOCACY ... 7c's service is very personal and professional with cast-iron integrity, acting in best interest of the client in all matters delegated to 7c
DOCUMENTATION CLOUD* ... 7c integrates Trello with Dropbox to provide project actors with 24-7 access to all project documentation and from any device. In fact, all current project documents and current status can even be accessed with a single click from any email issued by 7c.
DOCUMENTATION CONTROL* ... any project needs a gatekeeper that seeks, secures and promulgates documentation, then manages its currency.
FINANCIAL FEASIBILITY ... 7c does not give financial advice. It is for the client to establish the feasibility of developments. However, 7c has the tools to assist the client's analysis before and after land purchase.
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - property developers need more than a 'CPA Accountant'. More important is a deep understanding of development costs and the inter-dependency of development tasks. Competence with industry tools for scheduling and financial feasibility is a must. This facilitates accurate reporting and reliable forecasting of P&L and cash flow.
FORMAL CONTRACT DRAFTING & APPOINTMENT ... 7c can work with or without the client's lawyer to draft standard forms of contract for engaging the contractor.
FUNDING APPLICATION DOCUMENTATION - banks, lenders and equity providers require stringent financial analysis of developments before considering their involvement. 7c has the experience to assist the client with the submission of high quality supporting documentation.
PERMITS - 7c can manage submissions to controlling authorities and liaise with Council officers to secure planning approval.
PROCUREMENT OF CONSULTANTS & CONTRACTORS ... 7c has working relationships with a network of connections in Victoria, established over near on 10 years, giving clients access to many reputable and trustworthy firms.
SCHEDULE CREATION & MANAGEMENT ... knowing your way around Microsoft Project is one thing but it takes years' of experience, and a knowledge across multiple disciplines and development phases, to both assemble a credible development schedule and maintain it. 7c has this experience.
TECHNICAL ADVICE & SUPPORT ... whether it is ad hoc advice or a shadow PM arrangement 7c can provide reliable and cost-effective support.
TEAM MANAGEMENT* - sitting at the hub of a network channeling communications and managing progress, 7c acts with professionalism and respect for the skill and experience of the team involved in any property development. Testimonials underline the positive approach 7c uses and completed developments underline the results achieved.
*Only when 7c is engaged to provide Full Project Management.
Does 7c manage commercial developments, residential developments, or both?
Both. But 7c does not manage medium-rise or high-rise apartment developments.
What does it cost to retain 7c?
It depends on the scope. The demand on management time varies with the stage of the development process and the scope of the desired role. A written fee proposal is offered to accommodate client requirements.
Does 7c charge by the hour or a fixed price?
Both. The most economical way to engage 7c is by the hour. 7c charges by the minute, unlike many professionals who tend to round-up their time to the nearest quarter hour. Integrity is the most important aspect of my business so, if an email or phone call takes 3 minutes, a client is charged 3 minutes not 15. Certain functions can be offered on a fixed cost, examples being construction tender, formal contract negotiation and construction phase management.
You'll be much more expensive than employing a Project Manager or Development Manager on the payroll...right?
Wrong; at least not for someone of equivalent competence and experience. I benchmark fees against Hays Recruitment's annual industry-wide salary survey and report. Taking into account all the costs associated with employing a manager (office costs, equipment, transport, paid leave, payroll tax, insurance, benefits, redundancy, etc.), 7c's hourly rate will be comparable, possibly even cheaper, BUT clients only pay for time actually spent on the development, not for downtime or periods where the manager is at less than 100% of his capacity.
Can you advise on the feasibility of a development at land purchase?
7c cannot give financial advice. However, 7c has the tools to conduct financial analysis that adopt assumptions proposed by its clients. Using these tools, development profit and cash flow can be forecast for internal review, or for submission to lenders or equity investors for appraisal.
Why don't you just develop property yourself?
I prefer to do so by entering into joint-venture arrangements with clients. This can take the form of deferred management fees or equity investment or a combination of the two.