How in-house project management improves the process for clients:

With Director David Gardner and Project Manager James Parratt

We chat to Director David Gardner and Project Manager James Parratt about the role project management plays in Morrison Design’s projects.

How long has Morrison Design done Project Management as well as architecture?

Dave: “It’s always been a part of our hotels business – so for the last 50 or so years. We’ve taken charge of both the design and project management aspects of our hotel projects.”

Director David Gardner

What makes it work better than a 3rd party Project Manager?

James: “I’m embedded in the design team so I’m involved in conversations first hand and fully understand all the background detail. The team here involve me in all the key discussions so we can flush out any challenges together, with all the right inputs.”

Dave: “All our project managers here have a background in design, so they have a great depth of knowledge and understanding of the process which is essential to the high level of service we provide here.”

Render of The Westbury Hotel: Mayfair, London

How do you ensure a smooth flow of communication?

James: “Communication is such a critical part of the process. There’s lots of online communications nowadays which really helps bring the wider team together. Of course we’re on site regularly, ensuring regular communication with our contractors. For example, on the Westbury Hotel project we have a wide team of stakeholders including contractors, Mechanical and Engineering, Quantity Surveyors, Structural Engineers, Façade Specialists, Acoustic Engineers and the client team. We ensure documentation is always up to date and accurate and each person knows their role and what they’re doing.”

James Parratt, Project Manager

How do you tackle unexpected challenges?

Dave: “We have a video call or site meeting with the key stakeholders to come up with solutions. Having a design background means that we understand who needs to be involved to get the best outcome. We’re all team players here so there’s always some understanding on all sides, collaborating even if mistakes have been made – the focus is always on positive solutions and striving for the end goal.”

How do you manage project timings?

James: “To start with we set realistic targets! Managing expectations with the client is essential here. We’re always working a few steps ahead, pre-empting all the information that’s needed at key stages. Planning ahead ensures the contractors can keep moving.”

Browns Hotel in Mayfair, London (owned by the prestigious Rocco Forte Hotels group

How do you go about phasing construction works?

Dave: “We heavily co-ordinate with the client – understanding their business helps us to plan more effectively. We work closely with the General Manager of the hotel to ensure they understand what’s happening and can plan accordingly. For example, knowing which bedrooms are scheduled for when so they can manage guest bookings.”

James: “Ultimately we know that we need to keep works on track – the hotel will have guest bookings in those rooms on the day we’ve said it will be available so any delays have a big impact. We ensure areas that are under construction or refurbishment are discreetly screened off so there’s minimal disruption to guests.”

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