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Get your panic in early

Posted on Thu, 2017-12-07 10:49 by Rupert Seager

“How was your weekend?” I asked a colleague. I was unprepared for his answer.

He’d had the pleasure of being volunteered by his wife to join their son’s ‘Beavers Troop Sleepover’ in an aquarium.  A fantastic experience for the kids, sharks and rays swimming overhead while they shivered in their sleeping bags on a cold concrete floor. Character building!

He explained that in the early part of the evening, the boys were all having a great time, taken on a private tour of the aquarium, watching a well-known clownfish based film and eating more than the average weekend’s worth of sweets.

All except one boy, for whom the realisation of the night ahead of him, shivering on the floor in that eerie blue light, without his parents, was just too much. There were tears and tantrums - faced with a sobbing son, the car keys came out and he was almost whisked away.

What my colleague said to the dad, resonated with me. He was delighted for him – “you’ve got lucky, he’s panicked early.”  Sure enough, by the time for lights-out, the tears had long since been wiped away and it was all out of his system. He’d talked through what was making him anxious and was the most relaxed kid in the world, he settled in to enjoy the view. My colleague, meanwhile, was bribing his now panic-stricken son to stay in his sleeping bag!

In any project, we try to avoid panic throughout.  However, the later a problem is encountered, typically, the more difficult it is to address.  When we approach a client project, we assemble a team with skills and experience of each stage of a project lifecycle and look to identify the potential challenges and pitfalls, so that the client never experiences them.

This means a holistic approach from our design and construction teams and, when required, specialist, external consultants. It means, creating the time at the outset to explore everything that is important – timescales, budgets, priorities and key people who need to be engaged. Having developed a clear programme from design to handover, communication ensures that everyone knows their role and we have the clearest line of sight for any problem that may come over the horizon.

That sense of ‘Panic’ in a project can take many forms. Costs can come as a shock, timescales for delivery or even the ordering times for specific items can knock a programme out, hurdles such as waiting times for statutory consents or landlord approval can be underestimated or overlooked.

The best way to avoid this is to talk through the project with a team of experts and find the sweet-spot between Time, Cost and Quality for your project.  Get your panic in early and you might really be able to enjoy the project itself.


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