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The need for a project manager during new builds and refits

The need for a project manager during new builds and refits

Forming the team

The ideal owners’ team can comprise a variety of talent, but most often consists of an owner’s representative, client project manager, yacht captain, broker, legal expert, supervising surveyor and even a chief engineer or engineering team. While the people assigned to these roles may cross over in their duties depending on their strengths – the yacht captain sometimes acts as the project manager – the most important consideration is to assemble a team that will lend invaluable expertise to all facets of your project and protect your interests.

‘A project manager is hired for his experience and knowledge of yacht construction and matters maritime,’ says Peter Wilson of MCM Newport, an established owners’ representative and yacht management firm. ‘Business acumen, commercial understanding, the ability to negotiate, plus a policy of détente with the various parties when stress levels rise are all attributes that he should possess, as they will surely be called upon along the way.’

When interviewing for the project manager role, owners should look for someone who has been to sea, has boatbuilding or shipbuilding experience and some business background, says Wilson. Experience in engineering and naval architecture is useful, but generally well covered at the good shipyards.

To ensure your maximum protection, a project manager should be brought in at the very start of the project, Wilson affirms. ‘Commercial and contractual arrangements established at the beginning of the project will dictate what happens throughout the duration of the build. If not structured correctly and providing the owner with sufficient protection and latitude, the project may suffer.’

A good project manager also vets potential yard and suppliers to assess their capability and advise the owner on the potential price/risk ratio.

Even if an owner brings a project manager in at a later stage in the process, a CPM can help get a project back on track. At this stage, Wilson advises that there may be some fine-tuning of the team necessary to ensure the core competencies are covered.

When selecting your project manager, remember also that this is someone with whom you will be working on a regular basis. Deep trust is necessary, explains Wilson, as the project manager is the owner’s advocate and mouthpiece. This ensures that all parties involved know that any directives issued by the project manager will be endorsed by the owner.

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