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Sat 17 Mar 2007 12:00 AM

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Managing tough time-frames

It's 'better late than never' for ambitious real estate projects - and the return of T Rex...

The old adage, ‘better late than never', is often used to cushion the blow of any delay, be it a lapse in punctuality to a social event, arriving late for work, or in the case of the completion of several ambitious real estate projects in the region, taking much longer than was initially envisaged.

Perhaps tight deadlines have been clouded by the enthusiasm and uniqueness of the projects themselves, such as City of Arabia. After all, there aren't many developers in the world planning to bring Tyrannosaurus Rex back to life.

Such a project has not only involved lengthy consultation with experts in the field, including paleontologist Jack Horner and the man behind the Jurassic Park films himself, Steven Spielberg, but it has also required building materials that have never been used in Dubai before, and which need approval. Believe it or not, the project has even involved the PR effort of wooing journalists with polystyrene models of a ferocious looking T-Rex. Wonders will never cease.

But with massive and ambitious projects such as this will come mammoth challenges.

And developers and contractors need to be realistic about these and factor them into their schedule, especially in a market that's racing ahead with development.

It's not just about changes in design, or rather trying to stick to the original brief. It's about knowing exactly what can be done with a plot of land, as well as anticipating price fluctuations and potential shortages in labour. It's also about finding the right skills and materials needed to turn what might be deemed as a ‘pie in the sky' idea into reality.

This might be where the help of project managers comes in useful. The general process when establishing a project team in this region is to appoint an architect and consultant before even considering a project manager, and even that tends to be limited to developments that cross the US $100 million mark.

While some may dispute the need for the advice of project managers beforehand, maybe their early expertise on costing or whether or not a project will actually work, would not only help to avoid lengthy delivery times and cost overruns, but would keep the reputation of the development intact.

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Mounir Ajam 12 years ago

Many believe project management is yet another layer of bureaucracy and not realizing the significant value that professional project management brings to enhancing perfromance of projects due to the focus and disciplined approach to the project. PM also emphasis the need for formalize Project Risk Management that it is also often ignored, leading to delays, cost over-run, and quality challenges.