ProjectMark recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mick Unwin, Partner for Plus Development Group, and learn a little more about his career and the key elements he looks for in any design or construction partner.
About Mick Unwin
Prior to joining Plus Development Group as Partner, Mick began his development career as a construction professional more than 12 years ago and held management roles with Blue Stone Management, Altus Group, and Page Kirkland Group. He has led teams in both North America and Australia and is familiar with all facets of a project's life cycle with specific attention to finance, team structuring/development, design management, procurement strategies, construction, and handover. Mick's project experience includes assignments across luxury single-family residential, high-end retail, commercial office, multi-family, hospitality and luxury aged care developments.
What Makes for a Good Design Partner?
When it comes to design partners, Mick and his team are looking for partners that "inspire us." Plus Development Group doesn't do 'standard projects,'" Mick explains, "we are always looking for design partners that can show us they have the ability to push the envelope." When meeting with a prospective design partner, Mick wants to learn about how the designer will supplement the team and their approach to problem-solving; understanding that every development is unique and faces its own challenges.
Another key aspect Mick looks for in a design consultant is one that has long-term relationships with other developers and development teams. "A successful track record with the same client on multiple projects demonstrates the continuous value a designer partner is providing." Although Mick likes to establish long-lasting relationships, he's not opposed to giving a cutting-edge design consultant a chance on a project if they can present an interesting solution to a design challenge, "We do a lot of work (now) with a UK-based firm that wanted to expand to the United States. We gave them a chance on one project and they really demonstrated their expertise. They proved themselves on that project and since then, we've awarded them six more projects."
A Relationship is Key with Great Construction Partners
Mick has different expectations for a good construction partner versus a good design partner, with a construction partner, it's more about the relationship, "Once you start in construction – it's a daily conversation and you're married to one another for years. During the selection process, I'm looking for a partner I want to work with every single day, someone I can trust."
A big factor in making a decision on a construction partner for Mick is consistency, "During the RFP process, I start looking for consistency in the teams. Similar to the design partner, I'm looking for a team that has worked on multiple projects with each other and with a successful result. I also like to see that same team have repeat clients."
Interested in Working with a Client Like Plus Development Group?
"Show me that you have innovative ideas and don't push the status quo," is the bottom line for Mick and Plus Development Group. If you're interested in hearing more from Mick and ideas on how to win more work with clients like Plus Development Group, check out our webinar on September 14th at 1:00 PM ET. Register here.