Last year saw a new practice on the fit-out market – Open Book. What turned out to be revolutionary was combining it with working on the Gross Maximum Price. Now, a company interested in arranging a new space no longer needs to worry about the budget, quality and timing
It seems that with Open Book the entire risk (which is inherent in any fit-out project) is carried by the fit-out firm, rather than the client. Does this mean that on average the estimated costs are higher with Open Book than without it?
Paweł Brodzik, the managing director of Tétris Poland: Open Book is nothing more than a very early consolidation of the customer’s imagination with market prices. In the end, it comes out the same or even cheaper. This is thanks to the process of “value engineering” which means negotiating the chosen solutions with suppliers of materials. Take, for example, the recently completed Sage office – the customer saved 4 percent of the agreed budget thanks to Open Book procedures.
What kind of “surprises” occur that could increase the cost of a fit-out project?
I have seen countless well-planned designs that just did not fit the given budgets. I have seen customers disappointed that they were going to have to make cuts because they simply could not afford their dream solutions. It’s no surprise. That is why the design and finishing processes cannot be separated. With Tétris projects – using Design & Build – the architect and contractor work hand in hand. They have common goals and full budget awareness from start to finish.
How difficult is it to work with a maximum guaranteed price? Do unpleasant surprises ever occur, and if they do, who bears the additional costs?
A guaranteed maximum price means that the contractor takes on all responsibility for the costs of interior design. This is a huge challenge. We must carefully consider all of the elements involved in the project and secure the risk. The price structure must be transparent, as must the customer requirements. With the Sage project we agreed to a maximum price 12 months before the start of work.
How is it even possible to guarantee the maximum costs if there are so many unknowns along the way?
Tétris Poland delivers over 100,000 sqm annually, these are offices, hotels, and shops. Under such varied conditions, costs are no longer a mystery. The individual factors, risks and opportunities become apparent to any professional.
And what if the client changes his mind about something, e.g. type of furnishings, technical requirements etc. Does working with Open Book allow for last-minute changes?
The client always has the right to change their mind, and they do. The role of the contractor is to carry out any changes smoothly without wasting time and causing unnecessary nervousness. In the Open Book process, proposing an alternative finishing element is simple because it just means transferring the cost from one element to another. When all the teams sit down at one table with the client, decisions are taken quickly and thoughtfully, like during works on the new JLL office; we had to arrange a whole new department that had not previously been planned.
How detailed is the Open Book? Does it include everything down to the exact model of doorknobs and faucets?
Exactly. Open Book takes account of every element, down to the smallest detail. We also use “packaging.” It allows us to present the customer with more than one solution for each item.
How many clients have already opted for fit-out with Open Book? Do you think it’s a trend that will catch on in the industry?
We have a dozen or so projects, the largest of which is the new JLL office with an area of 13,700 sqm. And we see a lot of interest. Customers value the safety and transparency of this model.