Supporting Inexperienced Clients - Stanmar

Supporting Inexperienced Clients


Owners typically fall into two camps—the owner that has ongoing facility projects, has a facilities department, and is very experienced in planning and delivering projects, or the owner that is new to the planning and design process because they have a one-time, "generational" project or will not build another facility anytime soon.

In both cases, owners face countless decisions. Just a few include:

  • Who on their team is part of the project?

  • How much they can afford?

  • What do they want to build?

  • How will they use the building on day one and in the future?

And this is all before determining the project delivery method and finding an architect, a design-builder, or an owner’s representative to support them in delivering their vision for a new or renovated facility.

It can be very overwhelming—particularly for an inexperienced owner. The question is: where to begin?

On a generational project, the building will be part of the Owner project team’s legacy. Sometimes this pressure can lead to a fear of making mistakes, and that fear and responsibility drive some stakeholders to be cautious and slow to make decisions. This all works against the project during the pre-design and planning stages and hampers the ability for a building to be designed to an owner’s needs and budget.

Stanmar has a unique approach to help support inexperienced owners on their projects. We work closely with stakeholders, educate them through exposure to other similar projects, and guide them through a process that enables smooth decision-making. There is nothing as effective as asking a peer with a similar facility what works, what doesn’t, and what they wish they had done differently.

Stanmar took the Martha's Vineyard Boys & Girls Club project committee through this process to design and build a new club after 50 plus years in an existing facility. We developed a highly collaborative relationship with the project committee, educating them on the entire process to execute this project—including securing the site through required local approvals, defining fundraising goals, and the programming, design, and construction process.

As part of our approach, we arranged for the stakeholders to visit the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club in order to learn from their recent new-facility experience. After observing their operations and asking questions, the MV Club Committee had a much stronger sense of the program that would work for their community. This clarity on the program helped Stanmar clarify the necessary budget and drove a very healthy set of iterative designs that helped jumpstart fundraising.

Success for inexperienced clients is self-evident when they move into their new facility and it truly feels uniquely theirown, ready to meet their needs now and in the future. The starting point for this success begins by working with a design-build team that has expertise in working with inexperienced owners and a process to guide them through a successful project.

Oliver Snider, President

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