NEUMANN MONSON ARCHITECTS

Change management for building projects
Change Management for Building Projects

A building project is an opportunity to engage your team and change the way you work. Some members of your organization may embrace change, while others may approach it with trepidation. Luckily, a change management consultant can help everyone get on the same page. 

Change management is a process of preparing and supporting your team through a large-scale transition like a building project. Client experience is our top priority, so when we learned about this service, we knew we had to get the word out. 

To learn more, we spoke to Jaclyn Taylor, an Owner’s Representative in Des Moines, IA. Her company, Taylor REP, helps organizations through the challenges a building project presents. Recently, she worked with Kreg Tool as they built their new headquarters in Ankeny.   

This article will distill our conversation with Jaclyn by explaining the change management process and how it can benefit your organization. 

What is an Owner’s Representative? 

Before discussing change management, we first discussed Jaclyn’s role as an Owner’s Representative. 

Owner’s Representatives work with clients who are evaluating their real estate needs, building a new facility, expanding their existing operations, or moving locations. They help owners navigate the world of architecture and construction while advocating for their interests throughout the process. 

In the early stages of a project, an Owner’s Representative can help owners set goals and procure architectural, engineering, and construction services. Depending on the project, they may recommend potential partners or assist with the RFP process.  

An Owner’s Representative can also provide a third-party perspective in the design and construction process and help manage communication flows, review change orders, maintain accountability, and more. Their perspective can help you maintain your schedule and budget once your project is underway.   

What is Change Management? 

According to Jaclyn, change management starts with a communication strategy that helps your team identify with a new environment and adapt to new practices. Building projects can disrupt your day-to-day operations, especially if you are changing locations or reconfiguring your operations. 

If handled incorrectly, your organization could experience greater disruptions, a longer adjustment period, and unexpected challenges. Change management establishes expectations, reduces fear and anxiety, and makes the change as smooth as possible. 

How Does the Process Work? 

The change management process will likely look different depending on your project and organization, but you can expect your Owner’s Representative to guide your team and help them understand the design intent.   

If you are building a new facility, your Owner’s Representative will host tours in collaboration with leadership throughout construction. Your team will have the opportunity to visit the construction site at important milestones, get a feel for the space, ask questions, and understand specific areas of interest. By move-in, your team will have a greater understanding of how to navigate their new workspace, creating efficiencies on the first day in the new environment.  

Your Owner’s Representative may also create pilot programs to introduce your team to new technologies or ways of working. For example, when Kreg Tool’s new facility was under construction, Taylor REP coordinated training sessions in Kreg’s former facility, allowing the team to learn new technology in a familiar environment. 

If you are moving locations, your Owner’s Representative can help your team adjust to their new commute. When Kreg Tool moved from Huxley to Ankeny, Taylor REP created a resource for employees to find nearby restaurants, clinics, childcare, and other amenities. They also discussed alternative routes employees could take to get to avoid heavy traffic or road construction.  

The change management process is not limited to your employees. Your Owner’s Rep will also coach leadership on how to set expectations, respond to questions, and connect to the team with empathy. 

Move-In Day 

Moving to a new facility can be a hectic and confusing process, especially for large organizations. An Owner’s Representative can establish expectations with the moving company and coach your team through the process, teaching them how to label their belongings so everything arrives at the right spot. 

On move-in day, your Owner’s Rep will make sure technology, AV, security, and all spaces are ready and working, as well as provide direction and assist the workforce as they settle into their new space. Your Owner’s Rep may also bring the furniture provider on-site to adjust furniture as needed. This support is intended to minimize disruption and confusion, easing the transition for the entire organization. 

team working in Kreg Tool's new facility

Your Owner’s Rep will make sure technology is working on move-in day.

Post-Move-In 

After move-in, your Owner’s Rep will stay on-site for a few days to check in with your team, answer questions, and address any problems that arise. This detail-oriented approach means you can quickly get operations up and running. On Kreg Tool’s first day at their new facility, the team was operating at 100% after only an hour and 15 minutes. 

The change management process does not end after move-in day. Tools, strategies, and resources will be implemented to support your team in the first 90-120 after relocating. Your Owner’s Representative will continue to check in with your team, deploy strategic surveys, and address any problems that may arise.  

What Are Your Next Steps? 

Every building project has goals. Perhaps you want to increase productivity, improve retention rates, or encourage collaboration. Change management helps your team understand the design intent to optimize the space that was designed to their needs—helping your project reach its full potential.   

Through tactical communication and detailed coordination, a change management expert can minimize disruption and risk. Your team will learn about the new environment and adjust their practices—all before move-in day. By investing in change management services, you free up time to focus on your day-to-day operations, knowing a trusted partner is taking care of the transition. 

Interested in implementing change management on your building project? Visit Taylor REP’s website to learn how you can benefit from the services of an Owner’s Rep.  

Want to learn more about an architect’s role in the process? Read what you can expect from your architect during construction.