We publish the second part of the interview with Denis Perevoznikov, project manager of motor yachts and author of a blog about the yachting industry. You can read about what happens at the first stages of the megayacht construction process here. In this part Denis tells what to do and what to control the future owner and project manager when construction has already started.
- What happens after the contract is signed?
- For a while there seems to be nothing going on. There's no visible activity from the shipyard. But actually at this time engineers are engaged in design works: hull design drawings, ship systems schematic diagrams are developed, technical tasks to subcontractors are made, contracts for equipment delivery are concluded. The works are shaft.
- Is the customer involved in this process in any way?
- For him, now is the time to start developing interior design and prepare a list of items to buy. It is also necessary to determine the requirements for the systems, which were partly taken out of the main contract.
- Are we talking about entertainment systems?
- Not only that. Usually contracts stipulate budgets for audio-video, video surveillance systems, ship's computer network, purchase and installation of household appliances. And the task of the customer's representative is to correctly formulate his requirements to these items, to make sure that the shipyard correctly interprets them, correctly prepares the change to the contract and implements it.
- By the way, about the changes to the contract, the so-called change order. Tell us more about it.
- In general, we should strive to reduce the number of changes to the contract. Or, at least, their number should be clear at the beginning. If there are a lot of them, then the manager did not work well on the project, which does not add items to his karma. In addition, it increases the construction budget, which does not please the client in any way. And if we take into account that the manager's remuneration often depends on the amount of the contract, it is clear why many customers perceive any increase in the budget as one of the «relatively honest ways to withdraw money».
Even if the changes are justified, it strains the shipyard, which can make a dodge with its ears, saying it has to reconsider the dates of delivery of the yacht.
And another thing - any unplanned change to the contract at the construction stage is much more expensive than it is at the contract or design stage. It is important that the contract provides for the principal possibility of change in the project during the construction process.
- How are the various additional wishes of the future owner realized?
- The algorithm is about the same. For example, the owner realized that the standard flagpole on a yacht does not correspond to his concepts of beauty and must be replaced. We check the specification: what does it say about the flagpole, check the deck plan: which flagpole was agreed upon when the contract was signed. Suppose that this node is not explicitly shown on the deck plan, and the specification says the following: «The yacht, in matters not specified in the specification, will correspond to another yacht previously built by the shipyard».
After that, we discuss the shipyard situation, trying to find the best solution to this issue. We ask the shipyard to suggest other options for flagpoles that they can implement on the yacht, or we ask the exterior designer to give his vision. After agreement with the customer on the model they like (it can be a drawing or a sketch) the shipyard prepares changes for the contract. In it all information on change and its influence on terms of delivery of the yacht and other important indicators (weight, tonnage, speed and other) should be necessarily specified. The client's representative must check everything and make corrections if necessary.
Here the same principle as in the preparation of the specification - you will get what is written in this document.
- What other obligations does the customer have to the shipyard?
- Usually the scope of the customer's delivery includes: interior and exterior design, tenders, jet skis and other water toys, bedding, dishes and cutlery, yacht registration, free-standing furniture and art objects - these are for large items. Also the owner must agree the shipyard's documentation. Besides, there are a lot of details that should not be overlooked.
All these issues are interconnected and integrated into the project. Accordingly, for each item there is a deadline by which the customer must make a decision or complete the procurement. This is a large amount of work that must be done and, of course, controlled.
The delay in the dates gives the shipyard the right to revise the terms of the yacht delivery.
- So the customer representative acts as a purchasing manager?
- It depends on many factors. Sometimes he does it himself, sometimes it is entrusted to the owner's home office, sometimes this work is given to the shipbuilder, sometimes a separate person is hired to deal with administrative issues of the project. This should be discussed between the project manager and the future owner «on shore»before the project starts.
- What other main tasks are the project manager facing?
- It is important to separate the task of forming and maintaining the project budget. At the very beginning of the project, a consolidated budget is prepared, consisting of large items of expenditure (contract, changes to the contract, designer, procurement, crew, contractors), which, in turn, as much as possible split into many positions in an effort to take into account all possible costs of the customer in the construction process.
For each item there is a cost and time frame. Naturally, at zero stage, the cost and timing of most items are approximate. However, this creates a base, the skeleton of the budget, which in the future will grow into accurate figures and, of course, supplemented. We, for example, update this document on a monthly basis.
The importance and value of such a document is extremely high - the future owner understands what amounts and when to pay him .
In addition to the budget, duties include daily quality control on site, working meetings and meetings with contractors. The manager regularly prepares a report for the customer, which, in clear form and language, describes what work has been carried out, what decisions have been made, what drawings have been checked and approved, how the schedule is being fulfilled, what has been purchased, what is to be purchased in the near future. I illustrate the report with quality
photos - so much more clearly.