Reliable Project Management – Essential in The Future of Real Estate

© © Hak Liang Goh –

Having seen clients' growing need first-hand, Drees & Sommer highlights the importance of professionalism, reliability and efficiency of project management services in the real estate sector.

A recent survey by internationally renowned real estate consulting company Drees & Sommer aimed at the Asia Pacific markets showed that a staggering 73% of international and local industry leaders have been dissatisfied with project delivery and that over 80% of construction projects were not completed in accordance with client expectations.

"These numbers are shocking but accurate," said Stephan Degenhart, Associate Partner and Managing Director of Drees & Sommer Asia Pacific, having spoken first-hand with industry leaders following the survey. He explains that companies expanding into Asia and growing local companies have difficulty finding reliable project managers. Since the low satisfaction with project consultants was accompanied by an overall disappointment with project delivery, it is clear that the two issues are related. He continues, "The results of our survey combined with feedback from the participants proves that there is a lack of experience and technical knowledge among service providers in the market. It is clear that many consulting companies are offering "project management" services without the proper engineering and technical expertise required to structure and deliver projects to their fullest potential. This results in delays, overspending, and an incapacity to solve on-site issues, leading to the high percentage of dissatisfied clients we see today."

Survey participants admitted that the consulting entity was most likely selected on price, making it impossible to gauge quality and reliability. Some also shared that communication was poor from the outset and that the consultant was brought in too late in the overall process. However, all participants were appalled with the overall project delivery. A common sentiment among respondents was that they felt they were left to resolve issues on-site. "The consultant would file reports filled with comments and issues without proposing any remedial approach or solution. That is precisely what we had hoped to avoid and why we brought in external project management support in the first place," said a survey participant from Malaysia.

Stephan Degenhart has worked in the Middle East and Asia Pacific markets for nearly 20 years. He has become increasingly aware of the need for professional and reliable partners across the Asia Pacific region. He quotes the company's aspiration: "Our brand is synonymous with successful buildings, high-yield real estate portfolios, livable cities, efficient infrastructure and future-oriented consulting – and that's what customers expect from us. "For us, it has always been about successful project delivery. We partner with our clients and provide a proactive 360° approach to project management." He emphasises the importance of industry experience, technical knowledge and engineering expertise – "That's what sets us apart."

Degenhart concludes by recommending that all companies involve a project management professional who can ensure that projects are smoothly executed and reach their full potential, ensuring financial stability and securing return on investment while future-proofing buildings that make for smart, sustainable cities.

Recommended steps to avoid disappointment when engaging a project manager:

- Select a partnering company with a demonstrated track record and shared values

When selecting a project manager to support you in delivering your project, prioritise quality over cost. A project management company with experience in your industry and shared values will ensure the proper foundation for successful project delivery.

- Outline clear objectives together with the consultant

Although consultants will have best practices and processes in place, each project is unique. That is why it is always important to set clear objectives and manage expectations before beginning work. This way, you eliminate surprises along the way and ensure your partner can deliver what was agreed.

- For new projects involve a project manager from the early stages of planning

By involving project management professionals from the early stages of planning, you ensure that the technical and design elements are feasible, sustainable and profitable, maximising the building's potential and future-proofing your asset.

- For existing properties - analyse, evaluate and implement

For existing buildings, we recommend engaging a professional project management and engineering consultant to perform a complete analysis and inventory of the portfolio. This includes comprehensive data collection, which allows the development of upgrade and risk mitigation strategies based on what can be retrofitted and later implemented by engineering professionals.

* * *

Drees & Sommer: Your Innovative Partner for Consulting, Planning, Construction and Operation

The leading European Consulting, Planning and Project Management enterprise, Drees & Sommer has supported private and public clients and investors in all aspects of real estate and infrastructure – both analog and digital – for over 50 years. With pioneering and future-oriented consulting, Drees & Sommer offers solutions for successful buildings, high-yield real estate portfolios, livable cities, and efficient infrastructure. Over 4,000 interdisciplinary professionals based at 46 locations worldwide provide clients with a wide range of services across multiple sectors and take into consideration digital, sustainable, innovative, and economic aspects for successful project delivery. Drees & Sommer calls this holistic approach ‘the blue way’.