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Owner’s Rep Role in Overcoming COVID-19 Struggles

Although the COVID-19 outbreak has brought on lots of doubts and questions, one thing is for sure: change is coming. Flexibility is of the utmost importance nowadays, particularly for developers. Many of them need to adjust their strategies on the fly, while complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or local government guidelines. Whether downsizing or expanding, survival is a matter of adapting to the new economic conditions. 

Commercial Property Executive talked to Amicon Management CEO & Co-Founder Adam Mopsick about owner representation under current conditions and its role in guiding businesses beyond the pandemic-related crisis.  

Why is owner representation more important during uncertain times than under normal business circumstances?

Mopsick: In these uncertain times, we are advising our clients on what short-term and long-term strategies are most beneficial for their projects. Depending on individual circumstances, project managers can actively navigate custom solutions that can deliver the lowest possible budgets and advantageous schedules. Costs are critical in the post-COVID-19 economy, so it is our obligation to clients to provide expertise that de-risks their projects.

What precautions are you taking at your construction sites during this time?

Mopsick: The health and safety of our employees and the community has always been our priority when analyzing adjustments to active construction sites. We are carefully adhering to mandated social distancing and sanitation practices, including additional cleaning stations, increased signage and scheduling work for critical teams to apply a safe social distance.

What challenges have you encountered in sourcing the necessary materials for your construction sites?

Mopsick: Every construction project is unique and material sourcing for each of them has presented challenges. In our responsibility for client success and to maintain project momentum, our teams across all industry sectors are constantly monitoring the changes in materials being shipped into the country. We have a flexible approach to finding alternative materials that can be sourced locally.

To what extent have your hospitality projects been impacted?

Mopsick: The current status of hospitality projects is largely dependent on their stage in the project life cycle and the circumstances of the owner’s operations. The COVID-19 pivot strategy for each client is uniquely based on the type of project, in addition to the short- and long-term goals. Our team is advising hospitality clients on whether to redirect a project to implement immediate modifications or take this period of inactivity to expedite capital improvement projects that otherwise would have been done in phases. In this time of great pause, there is an opportunity to move faster, and costs are much lower.

Has the current economic situation changed timelines for any of your current or future projects?

Mopsick: While we have had some projects suspended or delayed in the short term, most of our active projects throughout South Florida have unchanged schedules. When there is more clarity in the market, the lending market will react for future developments. In this COVID-19 market, our team is busier than ever, as owners and developers need guidance on what creative solutions can add immediate positive impact to their real estate projects. Our current clients that are active include Temple Beth Am, Church by the Sea and high-rise condominium associations along the coast capitalizing on completing much-needed improvements.

Businesses are starting to reopen. Will that change the daily routine at your construction sites?

Mopsick: As an essential business, we have remained flexible in our response to the health and safety requirements throughout this unprecedented time. We continue to strengthen our approach every day in hygiene, signage and social distancing. Our team is successfully managing to work remotely as much as possible, while always keeping safety and health a priority.

Do you expect normal activity to resume anytime soon?

Mopsick: Until there is a vaccine, there will be an adjustment to every facet of life. However, it is our job to always find creative solutions. Whether it is a hurricane, material shortages or even a pandemic, our job as owner representatives is to continue to find solutions to keep projects moving forward. We get retained to move roadblocks, not be stopped by them.