We are finishing the cycle of interviews dedicated to the construction of a large yacht. Denis Perevoznikov, Project Manager of a megayacht, tells how the construction of a megayacht takes place from and to.
- At our last meetings we discussed the very beginning of the construction - what to pay attention to when signing the contract with the shipyard, we have outlined the duties of the project manager during the main phase of construction. Now we are smoothly approaching the completion of the construction. Let's continue from where we left off last time.
- Approximately one year before the end of construction the yacht the crew starts to form. All this happens on paper so far: who, when and under what conditions. A crew matrix is prepared and the information is entered into the matrix. Usually by this time the future owner will have made a final decision on how he will manage the yacht: through a specialized management company or through his home office. Accordingly, a decision has to be made by that time which company will be responsible for the work contracts with the crew. All this paperwork takes some time and the captain and engineer appear on the project about 4-5 months before the yacht is delivered.
- Tell us more about crew formation.
- There are several ways to hire a crew. First of all, it's crewing agencies. For their services, you pay a month's salary of hired personnel. It's the easiest, yet most expensive way to form a crew.
Secondly, specialized sites. You pay for access to the database of job seekers - once or for a subscription. It's cheap, but the choice of candidates is small.
The third way is to search through acquaintances. You can describe it with a phrase «like luck».
I've never used a crewing agency before. I consider them to be dependents, parasites in the industry. I usually look for candidates in my own database, through captains I know, or through specialized websites.
- I heard that usually a captain is hired and the rest of the crew is recruited by him.
- Yeah, it's practiced quite often. But it usually concerns the positions of engineer and first assistant. Of course, if the captain is able to form the crew of the yacht himself without additional costs, it is a great help for the owner.
- Let's get back to our project. The yacht is not ready yet, what will the captain and the engineer do at this time?
- By this time, the yacht is in its final phase of construction. The equipment is being installed, its connection is under way. The engineer is on the yacht daily and supervises all works on his department, studies the work of new equipment. Sometimes he is sent to courses where he undergoes additional training, such as working with Azipod.
- Who pays for crew development?
- It depends on the owner's policy, on his desire to motivate and stimulate the crew additionally. The captain is also studying the yacht. But besides that, his main task is to prepare a yacht for operation. I mean to prepare in terms of documentation.
The Flag Administration requires different instructions for each particular yacht, mainly concerning the safety of the crew and guests.
The forms of these documents are standard, but they must be «sharpened», as they say, in place.
About two months before the boat is delivered, a senior stewardess is hired. Her job is to organize the purchase of various equipment for her department. She also decides on the placement of all items to be purchased in the yacht's premises. After that it is necessary to order manufacture of various fasteners and spacers for dishes, glass, bottles with alcohol.
The first assistant appears on the yacht together with the senior stewardess. Approximately the same sequence of actions. I emphasize... approximate .. In each case, it will be different.
- What else is important to pay attention to when managing a project?
- To creation of the simple and clear scheme of document circulation between participants of the project. At least, that part of it which represents interests of the customer. It solves many problems. The first and most important, all participants have access to actual documents. Thus papers are not lost, if someone leaves the project. Also it facilitates work of the managing company and crew after acceptance of the yacht in operation. And last on the list, but not by value, it is convenient and comfortable for the owner, he can receive the necessary information at any moment.
I do not know about others, it looks like a symbiosis between Google Docs and «Yandex. Photo». We have found a very simple and high-quality solution to create such a server. It works fast, has a very flexible structure, clear and modern interface. At least, our clients like it. And this is the main thing.
- Listen to you, it's the cult of a document.
- A cult is not a cult, but there are a lot of documents that go through us, they all have to be sorted and laid out in shelves to be easy to find in the future.
Speaking of documents. I haven't told you about the most important ones yet. In the course of the whole project, the so-called «Book of Premises» is being prepared (this term is from the Soviet shipbuilding industry - I cannot find an analogue in English). The essence of this book is that the vessel is divided into separate premises, and all information on each of them is recorded in the book. Both technical and descriptive, as well as photographs of different stages of construction. The latter is necessary to record where the access doors to the equipment and the equipment itself, hidden by the interior.
That is, for each room we specify everything that should be in it during the operation of the yacht - from fancoils to instructions for guests.
If necessary and possible, specify drawings, changes to the contract, specification points - everything that may be relevant to this room. «The room book» helps to control the progress of the project, but it plays the most important role during the mooring tests and acceptance of the yacht. For me, as a project manager, the room book is a document that a manager must work with all the time. It is one of his desk books.
- One of them? Which ones?
- The Project «Log» and the «List of Main Tasks» are two databases, thanks to which it is possible to form various reports on the project. All this paperwork benefits the project. This one. Two is what ultimately helps the manager. Three is actually not that many documents. It's just the essentials.
The manager's job is not to stand behind the workers' backs watching their work.
He works 80 percent of the time at his desk. If there's order in the documents, there's order on board.
- Somehow smoothly we came to the final phase of the project.
- All mooring and sea trials, commissioning, acceptance procedures and handing the yacht over to the owner will be virtually no problem if you worked closely with the shipyard throughout the project. All you need to do is make checklists on the basis of the «Book of Premises» for the departments: stewardess, boatsman, engineer and captain. After that, start a methodical check step by step. In general, you should try to see the room or equipment from the point of view of an unprepared guest, not a person who has been building this yacht for three years and is familiar with all its «cracks».
Checking the bathroom, do not hesitate to sit on the toilet and look around - this is where the visitor will be, it is from here you will see what you do not see standing in the doorway.
Put all the remarks on paper and discuss them with the shipyard representative. Do not leave anything on words. And also, be a professional, if you do not like something, then explain why, referring to the specification, approved drawings, correspondence. Try not to use fuzzy phrases like «good marine practice» or «North European yachting standards» - it looks like an amateur and causes pity.
After all the tests and inspections have been carried out, the parties sign the necessary certificates with a list of remarks attached, which the shipyard undertakes to eliminate. That's basically it.