Does fit-out have more cliques than any other construction sector?

The nature of commercial fit-out is fast, furious and unforgiving. It’s the final hurdle in the race for tenant occupation, developer revenue and contractor glory. There is no margin for error.

The fit-out sector is an unwritten algorithm, a code and a tradition. You either know that ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’; or you don’t.

Fit-out contractors arguably do the work that is most tangible to the end users. Interior furnishings and finishes are what inhabitants can touch, feel and understand. It’s objective and it’s opinion-provoking with the added burden that usually the end-user-client has been engaged before fitout works commence. Expectations are high, cash is often not aligned, and programmes shoulder the weight of every preceding shortfall.

The fast-paced, high pressure nature of fit-out ensures that contractors cannot rest on their laurels. The luxury of time does not exist which incubates the clique culture. When a tender is released to the market, don’t expect a piece of the pie – you’ll need to have done your legwork through capture planning but most importantly through your relationships. Whilst everything could be consumed by the playground heavyweights, the reality is people have confidence in people, it’s human nature for people to ‘buy’ people. One previous success is all it can take to cement a lifelong contracting relationship and it’s fair to say the heavyweights in the market grasp that better than most – repeat business is our friend and what we all fundamentally want to build our model on. Knowing you’re only as good as your last project.

The client/contractor relationship is king. The speed and complexity of fitout projects in the climate we find ourselves, requires cooperation and mutual trust like never before. Pushing the boundaries of delivery and harnessing developments in innovation and technology with just-in-time programmes means we are building within the tightest parameters ever. Teams are the fulcrum of any project’s success. Cliques are in essence necessary.

The success of the internal accommodation is highly determined by the comfort and productivity of the employees on completion. The client puts a lot of trust in their chosen fit out contractor to bring their vision to life, to deliver results which justify their capital investment. The contractor’s reputation is on the line.

What we do cannot be achieved without cooperation and coordination between the contractor, client, supply chain and greater delivery team. The mob mentality in the sector drives, determines and delivers everything we do. The client orders, the contractor delivers; but only with the backing force of reliable relationships. At the end of the day, no one can do what they do, without the power and trust of their network. If that’s the need for a reliable, convenient and timely delivery – clique and collect!

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