T1 welcomes the newest head of the Design & Build Team, Ara Lao

As a seasoned engineer in the industry, Ara is excited to lead a team of skilled architects and engineers as the new head of T1’s Design and Build department. Focusing on corporate and commercial fit outs, Ara is looking forward to working with a team of like-minded and passionate people.

Joining T1 has been a very positive experience so far for Ara. Guided by her vision and goal to complete and deliver projects through a more design driven, economical and sustainable approach, she and her team want to add value for their clients by promoting T1’s capabilities and standards.

“T1’s ‘goal of conceptualizing tailor-fitted projects to our client’s specific requirement’ is exciting and inspiring for me. I want to lead the team well and raise more awareness about the company’s standards, the expertise of each team member, and the quality of service we consistently deliver,” she expressed. “I joined T1 because I can see myself growing with great mentors guiding me, impressive team members, and a company vision that is inspiring in the industry.”

With her impressive resume, skills, and knowledge acquired through her years of delivering projects, Ara shared that her values and ideals are aligned with the company. “I always strive to find the best solutions for my clients. Having been in the construction industry for 11 years, I know the ins and outs of each stage – whether it be project management, design, quantity surveying, or construction. I know what goes into making projects a success for our clients.”

Ara shared that the knowledge and experience she has gathered through the years are what helped her relate to her teammates and bring out the best in them.

“My leadership style is focused in bringing out the strengths and adapting to the weaknesses of my team members. As a leader, I want to mentor them so that one day they too can be leaders in their field.”

“The team has given me a very warm welcome. Working with them and seeing the passion that they have for what they do tells me our team wants to “get the job done and done well!”

The Big Move: T1 welcomes Gabriela Merino as Pre-Construction Head

Discovering new frontiers is not unknown territory to Gabriela Merino. After completing her studies in Spain, she brought her architectural expertise to Southeast Asia in search of exciting projects and opportunities.

“I love traveling and I enjoy working and living in multicultural environments and facing new challenges every day,” she shared.

Gabriela made her way around the world by collecting inspiration from different cultures and creating her professional portfolio. A certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and already greatly experienced in high-end Hospitality, Residential, and large-scale Retail projects, Gabriela is now widening her skillset to Commercial, Corporate and Industrial requirements also.

Taking the Big Step

Gabriela later joined T1 Project Management after finding its diverse project portfolio and variety of services offered as a new learning opportunity and a challenge. She liked that the individuals she works with get to take on different roles and they all learn through their collaboration.

“I am inspired by the leadership of the company formed by a group of talented entrepreneurs that are full of motivation and knowledge,” she added when asked about the company’s leaders. While Gabriela loved their passion for always seeking new ways to develop themselves and their business, she finds greater satisfaction in the sense of belongingness from being surrounded by a supportive and encouraging team.

Pre-Construction as the bigger challenge

Now stepping into the role of being the T1 Project Management Head of Pre-Construction, she wanted to put much emphasis on its crucial role in the industry. “Pre-Construction is the time to thoroughly assess and plan to identify and mitigate risks associated with constructing a project.” Gabriela stated. “They say you finish a project the way you start it, so we want to start each and every project well.”

Programme and Budget are the two most important areas in the Pre-Construction planning stage. Gabriela noted that planning the timeline and pining down the cost of each project component should be accurately addressed for successful project delivery.

Gabriela’s overarching vision is to keep the team growing and to build on each other’s strengths. Gabriela wants to ensure that the team “reaches its full potential by providing a complete range of premium project management services and innovative solutions to our valued clients.”

UnionBank partners with T1 to inspire, innovate amid COVID-19

The UnionBank of the Philippines strengthens its position as a leader in technology and banking in the country. Inspired by their commitment to bringing excellence and honing talent, the Aboitiz-led company has successfully inaugurated The UnionBank Innovation Campus, the first in the Philippines.

Designed to be the organization’s bedrock for the creation and incubation of solutions for banking, financial technology, and other industries, the one-hectare facility held its digital groundbreaking ceremony last May 26, Wednesday.

“We’re excited for the campus because it’s a dream come true for the entire organization and it’s also a testament to the commitment of management and the board of directors to innovation as a major strategic thrust,” UnionBank president Edwin Bautista said during the virtual groundbreaking ceremony. “This is also consistent with the Aboitiz group’s focus on innovation as a pillar for growth moving forward,” he added.

T1 was tapped to collaborate and partner with UnionBank as the official project management and quantity surveying firm. With the shared vision of pushing forward development, sustainability, and innovation, the Philippines’ leading project services company was successful in delivering excellent results in time for the groundbreaking ceremony.

According to UnionBank, this innovation campus is expected to be completed by the middle or third quarter of next year. It will also operate as a hub for blockchain, artificial intelligence and other new technologies that will revolutionize the Filipino’s way of life.

“Working with UnionBank was a pleasure and a boost for T1. “We are very proud to be a part of this milestone. T1 aims to collaborate with companies who stand for positive change and innovation in development in all sectors, not just construction. Working with UnionBank is inspiring,” Ivan Deinla, Senior Project Manager expressed.

Bautista added that this innovation campus is a testament and affirmation for the Filipinos who are going through a hard time because of the pandemic. He expressed that companies like UnionBank continue to invest and vet for a brighter future for the Philippines. Despite the current lockdown restrictions, Bautista said the bank was starting to build the campus for the future when it would be safe again to interact with more people in the new normal.

Typical Pitfalls in Construction Project Management and How to Avoid Them

By: Luz Arceo – Project Manager

While every project has its unique aspects, many functions and requirements remain consistent and are made by default. Managing a project brings the need to identify which activities are to be subjected to certain standards to ensure quality work and to provide uniformity. The demand for foresight is perhaps one of the most important aspects of project management to minimize mistakes and the waste of resources.

However, there can still be a lot of circumstances where things could go wrong. While pitfalls are common in construction, there are ways and risk mitigating strategies to avoid them:

  1. If You Can’t Explain It, The Team Won’t Understand It

A key component to a successful project is starting the project well. Though it may sound like a lot of hard work in the beginning, defining the goal of the project and being clear with the requirements reduces confusion, limits the probability of redesign, and create a launch platform around which your project team can gather. In T1, we create a Design Brief that covers all aspects of a project. This is done in collaboration with the client’s team, taking consideration their specific requirements. Having a Design Brief is a great starting point for a great working experience and a smooth sailing project management.

  1. Get your Ducks in a Row (Perform Due Diligence)

It might surprise you to learn that many projects start well in the beginning, but only to be stalled by the discovery of land ownership issues or zoning problems, or boundary issues, or access issues. We recommend clients to invest in performing a Due Diligence per project to know the scope and limitations, as well as prepare for all the needed documents prior to construction.

Get a reputable geodetic engineer and survey correctly. Make sure you have a trusted engineer with the surveyors to ensure that they cover everything, especially the hard-to-reach areas. Measure surveys against your Title. Check your title certificate: Verify who owns the land; Are they the same entity that is conducting the project? Will this be a signatory issue later? Get a reputable topographic survey and geotechnical survey and make sure all of these are done properly. Make sure survey points tie back to a formal survey reference point and make sure future surveys use the same point of reference. In essence, the Due Diligence should verify that your project can deliver what you need it to deliver without inhibitors. In case there are, due diligence allows you the chance to take necessary measures before it’s too late.

  1. Resource Your Project

When we think about project delivery, we often think about what can be delivered in house and what needs to done external to the organization. In our experience, we often find clients relying on the staff who are very able but perhaps don’t necessarily have the exact skill set required. This is because of various reasons; maybe they have been employed for a different purpose, or there was a mismatch when it comes to expectations of the job.

T1 recommends taking a frank look at your team and deciding whether they can fulfil roles and satisfy the requirements while also carrying out their existing duties. The cost of overburdening or misassigning your in-house team is only likely to appear somewhere around the mid-point of construction. By this time, you may be hearing about cost overruns and delays and wondering why you didn’t bring in a professional team in the first place.

  1. Set your Budget & Program

Set your project budget early and make sure your team understands what the budget is for. Consultants design to price brackets: they know what to put in to meet the rough order of cost. Give them guidance to avoid redesigning but don’t give them all your budget. Keep a bit back for inevitable overruns.

  1. Prepare Your Contracts

If possible, use a standard form of contract for all engagements. A supplier provided contract will be written to protect the supplier, whether that is an engineer, a contractor, or even the project manager. Try to avoid using a different form of agreement with each supplier as it will become very difficult to manage in the long run.

  1. Make Coordination a Priority

If you aren’t using a BIM, then coordination can be a major issue. Consider how the design is released and know if the architect and engineer are releasing their design on the same day, it probably isn’t coordinated and may cause design lapses in the project.

  1. Anyone can Start a Project but not Everyone can Finish it

It seems obvious, but finishing a project isn’t really straightforward. Start thinking about what a finished project means to you and your team. Make sure this is discussed with your team early, to ensure expectations are aligned.

Learn more about how you can manage a construction project better. Contact Lana Kier at lana.kier@kmcmaggroup.com or call us at 0917-860-6400 for a consultation.

Luz Arceo is one of T1’s most trusted project managers. She has been successfully delivering construction projects for over 23 years with various projects throughout the Philippine archipelago.