From project gone awry to successful finish: Why you should use a project manager

December 18, 2009 - Spotlights

Dana Panzarino, VVA

Dr. Weintraub Office Suites waiting room

Dr. Weintraub Office Suites hallway

Any major renovation can be a time-consuming, costly and exasperating ordeal. A medical office renovation can be any or all of the aforementioned or worse if the project lacks the proper management. So how does one achieve the best and most cost efficient end result? For Dr. Weintraub, the clear answer was to reach out to VVA Project Managers & Consultants. Unfortunately, he learned this lesson the hard way, after attempting to be his own manager for six long unproductive years.
Dr. Weintraub has been in private practice, at the same location, on the upper east side of Manhattan since 1985. In 2003, he realized that his office lacked an efficient flow pattern and was in desperate need of a modernization. He hired an architect and a design plan was meticulously prepared. A year into the project it suddenly escalated in scope and his budget needed to be adjusted accordingly. He also realized that he would need to relocate while the demolition and re-building were in progress. The project was bid out and a GC was selected. An expeditor submitted applications to the buildings department, landmarks commission and to the residential cooperative board. That was the easy part, or so he thought. A dispute with the co-op board as to ownership of some off-premise space delayed the approval of the renovation plan. Landmarks never received documents and materials that were required for approval. The architect, the expeditor and the window company each blamed the other party for the delay. Last but not least, Dr. Weintraub lost access to the temporary space that he had been counting on using during the renovation. In March 2009, Dr. Weintraub finally realized that his full-time practice of cardiology was incompatible with construction project management and he contacted VVA.
VVA met with Dr. Weintraub in March 2009 and established the project procedures, schedule and budget. The project was underway two months later. VVA managed a professional RFP process, rebidding the project to several general contractors. As a result, the general contractor was awarded at a cost well below Dr. Weintraub's initial budget including VVA's fee. Additionally, VVA was able to provide further detail and clarification to eliminate future change orders. VVA brought leadership, professionalism and a level of credibility that the project desperately needed. The firm managed the coordination of all owner-furnished items, including furniture, lighting and telephone, and added structure to the process, including weekly meetings with the project team. Overall in just six months VVA turned around what was once an encumbered project into Dr. Weintraub's vision: a beautiful museum quality doctor's office. "I found that VVA's guidance throughout the entire project was invaluable from the initial concept to the creation of budgets and schedules, to the execution," said Dr. Weintraub. "They were able to achieve results that seemed unachievable before, including settling all disputes, hiring competent consultants and attaining approvals to complete the project. Actually, the end result was just what the doctor ordered!"
Dana Panzarino, P.E, is managing director for VVA, New York, N.Y.
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