Singapore 7th October 2011
Sometimes we deal with clients who have never dealt with specialist consultants before. They have perhaps been in the local construction seen and have worked with contractors but dealing with international consultants is another story. I have been dealing with such client over the last few days, which has caused a lot of frustration and patience. Because this client has decided to build an hotel with an international hotel brand, they have sort of been forced to take on international project team of consultants as required by the operator. But being used to local (cheap) services and supplies, the professional consultants fees must have been quite a tsunami to them. From the onset it as been a struggle in regards to anything that has a dollar sign attached to it. We negotiated months about our fees, finally settled for close to half of our original fees with the agreement that our local
team woud be doing the project, while our head office in Singapore would be looking over their shoulder. In practive however we (the head office) have been heavily involved over the last few months not in the least through the personal requests from the operator.
I find it hard to find the balance between being cooperative and bluntly saying: “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!”….Not to say that our local team is incompetent, on the contrary, but it is the balance between involving myself and staying at bay. We have great respect for clients budgets and making sure we balance the budgets with the basic quality required is one of our main atsks as designers. However there is a point where you have to draw a line, regardless how much pressure, the client is exercising. In our case their direction is not driven by knowledge and uderstanding of the design process and as a result we are nearly blackmailed into producing sub standard work! We have to keep our focus and put up our hands if from our professional point of view
the demands are not acceptable, but that can easily result in a personality clash: “I am the boss so you do what I say…versus…I am the design expert and I am telling you that it is not acceptable!” How far do you push it….Do I sound frustrated? I probably am!
In Light Watch today the Bulgari Resort in Bali…to make things to a breathtaking level you need to invest in quality…there is no free ride and it does not mean necessarily expensive!
Light Watch 179 : The Bulgari, Bali