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Insights from a project manager on successful tenancy coordination

Supa Centa Moore Park

Tenancy coordination can be a tricky business. There are a number of stakeholders involved, and if it is not planned and managed correctly from the beginning, it can often lead to issues with program and increased costs towards the end of the process. Prior to leasing retail spaces to tenants, it is important for landlords to have a good understanding of what type of tenant they want within their retail precinct to determine the precinct’s success.

A tenancy coordinator is able to create a detailed Tenancy Fitout Guide specifically for each retail precinct, as this is an essential guide in ensuring the tenant is aware of the level of standard required within the centre, so they can plan their fitout accordingly from the start. The Guide can be a useful tool for the leasing agent, to determine the terms and conditions under the lease agreement in relation to lessor and lessee works under the lease.

A tenancy coordinator, whether an internal or externally engaged party, should be involved from the beginning of the leasing process, to ensure any commitments being made by the landlord in relation to Category 1 works are going to be financially beneficial in the long term. The tenancy coordinator is an essential tool in ensuring the lessor works as agreed under the lease agreement are clearly defined, to ensure there is no ambiguity at the time of construction. This has occurred many times, when the lessor works are defined by a leasing agent, who doesn’t specialise in fitout works, and can often underestimate the cost of the works for the landlord.

Once the stakeholders have a firm understanding of the terms of the lease, the next key stage is planning. Depending on the planning pathway required for the fitout, it can often be a time consuming process, especially if a Development Application is required through Council. The tenancy coordinator is often the key driver to ensure all the relevant consultants (Planners, Service Consultants, Compliance Consultants) if required, are engaged by the tenant.

Design and planning are interlinked and are both essential in ensuring the tenant’s fitout is in line with the requirements under the Tenancy Fitout Guide and lease agreement.

The tenancy coordinator will have a firm understanding of the requirements of both documents, and will review the plans on behalf of the landlord, providing a recommendation for either approval or changes that should be considered.

Importantly, the tenancy coordinator is the key driver in ensuring the fitout process from design, landlord and planning approval, construction and handover occurs in a timely manner. This is managed by engaging early with the tenant to ensure all parties are aware what the key dates are for the achievables under the lease agreement. By building a relationship early with the tenant, the tenancy coordinator can work together with the tenant, leasing agent and landlord to achieve the required goals.

Throughout construction the tenancy coordinator manages the Lessor’s works, in line with the requirements under the lease agreement and in line with the tenants approved plans. Ongoing inspections at the appropriate stages are undertaken between the builder and tenancy coordinator (on behalf of the landlord) to ensure all is as per plan, prior to handover of the tenancy to the tenant, often with the building manager’s involvement. The tenancy coordinator ensures the tenant’s relevant insurances and Safe Work Methods Statement (SWMS) are in place prior to any of the tenant’s fitout work commencing, and the tenancy is made safe from public access with the required hoardings and signage.

The final stage for the tenancy coordinator is the handover of a completed tenancy fitout to the tenant on behalf of the landlord. The tenancy coordinator completes all final inspections to ensure the fitout works are in line with the approved plans and Tenancy Fitout Guide in readiness for trade.

About the author

Phillipa Aiken

With a career spanning over 15 years within the Construction Industry, Phillipa has been involved in the leadership and management of residential and commercial developments from concept to completion. She joined NixAnderson (now Colliers International Project Management) in 2015 and has extensive experience in the residential sector, through working for Developers such as Brookfield Residential Properties and Sterling Estates on a client-side basis, managing Contractors, Consultants and other key external stakeholders.

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