Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Jul 2011

CONSTRUCTION: Project Management At Its Best


Recent Western Cape Business News

DESPITE the pronounced slow-down in most all sectors of the building industry during the past number of years, one operation stands out for its tenacity, showing real, and satisfactory, growth in this period. It goes by the name of Betts Townsend, the construction project management company.

The key to its performance is that its specialised expertise ensures successful completion of projects according to proposed and agreed build programmes, often reducing the duration of a traditional construction period. This results directly in savings on interest, escalation, resources and professional consultant fees leading to additional profit for the client or commercial developer.

Betts Townsend was founded in 1995 and is today regarded as the leading construction project management firm in South Africa, with a number of blue chip developments that it can account for (see separate articles).

The introduction of a ‘project manager’ to the development industry has been brought about due to the ever increasing demand for fast track construction. By either maintaining an agreed programme or reducing the traditional construction programme, the owner of a commercial development enjoys direct savings on both interest and escalation. Then there is the obvious extra income generated too, thanks to timeous or even earlier completion.

Take Betts Townsend’s involvement with Pick n Pay’s new massive distribution centre at Longmeadow.

Not only was Betts Townsend appointed in a project management capacity but Pick n Pay’s decision was one of a risk sharing and trust approach whereby Betts Townsend was further appointed in a construction management capacity.

The project brief was to extend the existing distribution facility to accommodate an additional 34 000 sq m of warehouse space.

The initial target was programmed over a 12 month period. Betts Townsend’s construction management team delivered the project in under nine months with a substantial saving on traditional programme and construction cost.

Added to the warehouse extension, Betts Townsend was charged with additions and alterations to the existing administration facility delivered and completed in the first quarter of 2010.

The Pick n Pay Longmeadow distribution centre stands as a prime example that in sentive yield driven times a joint project management and construction management approach can be beneficial to the client in both time and budget.

Since the inception of Betts Townsend, its project management service has specialised in delivering developments for private and public sector clients nationwide. It has built an enviable reputation on the back of its expertise that ranges from taking projects from the pre-planning stage through to design and delivery, including major retail, residential, mining townships and mixed use developments.

Michael Taylor, executive director based in Cape Town’s Betts Townsend branch, holds out another reason for the company’s success in growing its business; “It’s the culture of team delivery that has allowed for repeat business time and again”, he says.

He points out that the consultancy has an entrepreneurial and results orientated culture. Betts Townsend likes to be instrumental along with the client for the procurement of both the professional team as well as the selection of the selected and nominated contractors.

A knowledgeable team with experience specific to the relevant project sector will lead to a smooth project execution.

He stresses that it is important that the client and the project manager work hand in hand. Team co-ordination is facilitated by the project manager who ultimately takes responsibility for the smooth delivery of the project.

Surrounding itself with the best professionals who have the necessary hands-on experience is key to a successful contract.

Betts Townsend itself is currently, despite the woes of the building industry, investing in additional, knowledgeable staff. Taylor points out that the tenure and trust in staff is the backbone of the business.

Clients acknowledge this, therefore the repeat business”, he says.

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