Three important factors in choosing the right project manager for your next building project

Three important factors in choosing the right project manager for your next building project

Three important factors in choosing the right project manager for your next building project

Project managers play a leading role in the whole lifecycle of a construction project, from the owner’s vision to post construction defects liability period. They are accountable for planning, executing, monitoring and controlling the entire project budget, scope, project delivery team, resources and thus the quality of the final building product.  

Hiring an effective project manager, therefore, can differentiate between a good project outcome and a bona fide disaster for developers and/or building owners.  

In the following article, we discuss three critical criteria that clients should focus on when considering a project manager for their next construction project, namely price, experience and soft skills.

1. Price compatible with the proposed scope of services

Typically, a commercial building project requires one overarching aspect above all others: the bottom line.  Price is therefore certainly an important factor in the decision-making process.  

However, as the industry is fragmented and there are little service standardisation, clients should vet project management firms beyond the face value of the quotations provided.  A spreadsheet should be prepared to ensure apple-to-apple comparisons of price vs scope are made.  

While deciding levels of project management services required depends on how sophisticated in building construction each client is, it is recommended that clients consider a project manager with a full solution, end-to-end project management approach.  

This offers the benefits of single contact-point project control and accountability and allows clients to disengage from the construction project and maintain focus on their core businesses.

Project Managers Criteria 1

2. Relevant industry experience

Whether a shopping centre, a church, a residential apartment high rise, a manufacturing facility or a school, each category of building construction has specific and usually different characteristics and challenges.

A project manager who is suited for a given type of projects will possess the relevant past experience and technical expertise necessary to understand the characteristics, manage the challenges and eventually help deliver a new facility that not only meets the owner’s desired specifications but also realistic cost and time constraints.

Relevant experience is also reflected by the project manager’s demonstrated track record of selecting and working in partnership with a high calibre project delivery team of architects, engineers, specialist consultants and building contractors.

Like the project manager, having an incapable and/or unfitting team member among any of these stakeholders can lead to seriously detrimental repercussions, e.g. poor service, time delays, hidden costs, changes orders, to name just a few.

When assessing past experience, clients should go beyond company’s profiles and drill into the resume’ of the particular project management personnel proposed for their project.

Project Managers Criteria 2

3. Well-honed soft skills

Soft skills refer to the human skills of project management including leadership skills, negotiation skills, communication skills that go beyond hard technical knowledge, or simple organisational skills.

Studies show that high-quality project managers often spend 60-80% of their time on interactions with people and resolving human-related issues while average project managers only spend 8-12% (Ellis, 2020).

Project managers with potent leadership abilities often command respect from other team members and stakeholders.  They are able to bring out the best performance from them, whether by taking up the role of a coach, helping everyone else work together or engaging in motivational conversations to inspire people in putting their best foot forward and utilizing their strengths.

In times that conflict arise due to differences in opinion, sheer negotiating skills of the project managers would help settle the issue and maintain harmony in the team.

Success to inspire and empower people or resolve conflicts are often the results of exceptional communication skills.  As the central focus-point for all the communications that go on surrounding the project, an affective project manager must be able to communicate well verbally, in writing, in front of a group or in one-on-one conversations with each team member.

Broken down communication is, on the other hand, often cited as one of the most frequent reasons that a construction project has failed, i.e., failure to achieve deadline, cost overrun, and/or with marginal performance (AMA, April 2019).

Having a project manager equipped with such a bunch of soft skills as the leader of a project delivery team will no doubt significantly contribute to the project success.  Clients should take time and effort to personally interview potential candidates and follow up with reference checks when evaluating this criterion.

In summary, although definitely a critical criterion, a decision to choose a project management firm should not rest solely on price alone, especially where clients are faced with a glut of service providers many of whom are eager to cut deals, and possibly corners in kind, to maintain their annual turnover.  More evaluation effort should be focused on the relevant experience and soft skills of the potential project manager before a decision is made.



Ellis, G, 2020, 10 Tips: Hiring For Construction Projects, viewed 15 Aug 2020:

AMA, 2019, The Top Three Project manager Team Leader Skills, viewed 15 Aug 2020,

Who can I talk to about hiring an effective project manager for my construction project?

Xinvest Quantity Surveying has a highly professional and experienced project management team who can efficiently manage the full process for your building project from the concept and planning stages to the completion and hand over. 

Five Top Tips to Save Thousands of Tax Depreciation Deduction Money

Five Top Tips to Save Thousands of Tax Depreciation Deduction Money


Yes it’s tax time again! If you dread this time of the year, you’re not alone!
Here are our 5 tips to avoid running into strife with the ATO and save thousands of tax depreciation deduction money.

 1. Amend previous tax returns to claim missed depreciation deductions

It’s not the end of the world if you’re not already  claiming property depreciation deductions. The ATO allows you to amend up to two previous tax returns.

Get a qualified depreciation specialist to evaluate the property and provide a tax depreciation schedule from the date your property was eligible for the claim.

This tax depreciation schedule can provide the details of any deductions missed, which will help your accountant with the process.

2. Claim residual write-off value of disposed depreciable assets

Before you embark on a renovation project, make sure you track all the assets you’re about to dispose of.  Then get a depreciation schedule written up.  If you don’t, you could miss out on significant unclaimed tax deductions for the remaining value of the demolished assets.

A Quantity Surveyor can be engaged to assess the residual value of these assets and advise your accountant what to claim in your first year of ownership.

That value can be claimed as an immediate 100% deduction and possibly result in significant tax savings.  For example, a 25-year-old kitchen might still generate a full deduction of around $5,000.

You can still claim depreciation on all new items when the renovation is completed.

3. Understand the difference between repairs and improvements

A ‘repair’ refers to a situation where  an investment property asset is returned to its original state to retain its value.  You can claim an immediate 100% deduction of the repairs in the year of expense.

On the other hand, an ‘improvement’ is where you enhance the condition of an asset beyond that of when it was purchased. As improvements are capital in nature, they must be depreciated over their respective life periods.

For example, if you repainted an existing wall or repaired an oven, you can generally claim that tax deduction in year one.  But if a new kitchen is installed, it is considered part of the building and will depreciate over 40 years.

Don’t claim improvement items in full. You will risk getting into trouble with the ATO.

4. Remember, depreciation is also available to tenants of commercial properties

A tenant of a commercial property can claim depreciation for any building works and/or plant and equipment they add to the property during their lease period.  This could  be a complete office fitout or just an additional toilet, a kitchenette, blinds, carpets, lighting, smoke alarms, or security systems.

A tenant can also claim a residual value write-off for any removed assets at the end of their lease. Especially if they’re required to restore the property to its original condition in accordance with the lease agreement.

On the other hand, the property owner might  be able to claim depreciation on assets left behind by a previous tenant.

5. Employ an experienced and qualified tax depreciation specialist

Don’t bother with DIY depreciation or use non-qualified people to prepare your Tax Depreciation reports!

While you might save a few hundred dollars of professional fees, which is fully tax-deductible anyway, you could  risk losing thousands of dollars in missed eligible deductions. You could also attract an audit by the ATO if the report is not up to the required standards.

The tax laws have changed frequently over the years – and every property is unique.

Quantity Surveyors,  who must also be qualified as tax agents, are trained to:

  • estimate the original construction costs where that figure is unknown
  • identify non-standard plant and equipment items that are claimable, and
  • use legislative tools, like the immediate write-off rule and low-value pooling method, to make partial-year claims more beneficial to investors.

It pays to get expert advice!

Who can I talk to about depreciation for my investment property?

Xinvest Quantity Surveying has a team of tax depreciation experts who are recognised by the ATO as suitable for completing depreciation schedules for property investors. 

Our friendly team members will be very happy to assist with any property tax depreciation enquiries you might have.

How has the Australian housing construction industry been impacted by Covid-19?

How has the Australian housing construction industry been impacted by Covid-19?

How has the Australian housing construction industry been impacted by Covid-19?

4 reasons why the construction industry is experiencing a quick recovery from Coronavirus

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Australian economy and people’s health and livelihood.

Even though it’s sanctioned as an essential service, the housing construction industry hasn’t been immune to the impact of social distancing and lockdown measures governments have taken to mitigate the risks to public health.

For many glass-half-empty observers, the industry appears to be heading down a long and hard road of decline and destruction.  Concerns are being voiced around restricted workforces, limited productivity, disrupted supply chains, cash-flow in turmoil and a bleak forecast of future work pipeline.

What a crisis!

However, we believe the actual impacts are limited. The housing construction markets are showing an incredible level of resistance and are likely to bounce back strongly in the next few years.

Here are 4 reasons why the construction industry is experiencing a quick recovery from Coronavirus:

1. Tight, but near-seamless, supply chain

According to Morgan Stanley Research, the immediate fear about a disrupted supply chain, primarily with long-lead time items from China, was short lived (ACIF, May 2020).  Chinese ports were quickly re-opened, and shipments soon began arriving again – just as inventories are being restocked. This has allowed a near-seamless, albeit very tight, restocking process.

Boral, one of Australia’s largest construction material suppliers, confirmed they had enough back-ups and alternative locations for customer supply already built into their network. They have also been working to ensure they have adequate stocks of supply of all critical additives and inputs that are imported (Boral, May 2020).

  1.  2. Improved construction productivity

    When Covid-19 hit, unions, construction industry bodies, and governments at all levels immediately joined hands in an unprecedented collaborative fashion. They quickly came up with appropriate measures to ensure activities on construction sites were minimally impacted, albeit with some social-distancing driven changes.Contradictory to a common belief, productivity increased.

    Sites have introduced more shifts or were allowed to stay open 24/7 – a feast rarely given by the authorities to building contractors prior to Covid-19.

    Restrictions permitted only one trade to access the site at a time, meaning trades are now completing jobs in one go. In the past, they would reach a level of partial completion and return at a later date – a perpetual bugbear of every project manager. The embracement of innovative uses of technology, like mass communications meetings and critical messages via digital platforms, has further boosted productivity and efficiency.

  1. 3. Timely government stimulus measures boosted cashflows

    Both Federal and State Governments are to be applauded for the financial and regulatory measures put into place to support the economy.

    The construction industry has been particularly supported via:

    • Stimulus packages
    • Marketing grants
    • JobKeeper provisions
    • Tenant landlord codes and eviction legalisation
    • Fast-tracking development application approvals of major projects, and
    • The upcoming HomeBuilder program offering a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home
  1. All of the above help shield the housing construction industry from the Coronavirus-induced economic slowdown. There’s no doubt these radical measures help maintain construction cashflows and keep the industry going.

4. Projected increase of residential building activity

Now that we have a grasp on the near-term construction impacts, can the pipeline of future work be as resilient?

A key fact in this observation is that residential building was mid-way through a deep correction before the pandemic arrived.

Commsec senior economist, Ryan Felsman, said before the virus construction activity was weakening for two years, particularly in NSW, due to the slowdown in residential home building, moderation in non-mining infrastructure commencements, lower population growth, and bushfire disruptions. Markets are still absorbing new dwellings that were started in the housing boom in 2016 (The Urban Developer, May 2020)

Nevertheless, the Head of Industrials Equity Research at Morgan Stanley, Andrew Scott, said there were positive anecdotes about the pace at which the pipeline can be refilled (ACIF, May 2020).

For example, Stockland, announced residential enquiries in the last week of April were in line with pre-Covid levels with sales offices having reopened in WA, NSW and QLD. They also noted April default rates at 4% were only marginally above long-run levels. 

Statistically, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows a continual downward trend of residential building activity from its peak in 2016 until 2021, it forecasts an increase in the next four years, up to $13 billion by 2024.  The main drive for such an improvement is the expansion of the supply of social and affordable housing funded either whole or in part through assistance from Commonwealth and State Governments (ACIF, May 2020). 

In summary, the housing construction industry is currently faring much better than many others in the Australian economy.

There is an increased confidence that we could see a relatively seamless transition and avoid a late 2020/early 2021 crash in activity. We can even expect a strong recovery in the subsequent few years.

Should this occur, it would be a strong testament to the extraordinary resilience of the industry throughout this pandemic time.


Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), April Update Report 2020.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), May Update Report 2020.

The Urban Developer, Residential Construction Falls to 19 Year Lows, viewed 27 May 2020, <>

Boral, Covid19 Updates, viewed 1 June 2020, <>

Who can I talk to about seeking professional advice for my construction project?

Xinvest Quantity Surveying is a professional services firm providing early-phase project advice and quantity surveying (QS) for the built environment.  With over 21 years’ experience, our dedicated and experienced team of Certified Quantity Surveyors (AIQS CQS) are recognised for their in-depth industry knowledge, tailored technological solutions, and reliable customer service. We offer expert advice in built environment services across a range of sectors including residential, commercial, retail, and industrial.