Navigating the New-Build Process

New-build and refit consultant, educator, marine journalist and former CEO of Palmer Johnson Yachts, Phil Friedman, has published an e-book titled “10 Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects.” In it Friedman addresses what he sees as key steps an owner can take in the beginning of a new-build project to smooth the process throughout and achieve the best final result.
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New-build and refit consultant, educator, marine journalist and former CEO of Palmer Johnson Yachts, Phil Friedman, has published an e-book titled “10 Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects.” In it Friedman addresses what he sees as key steps an owner can take in the beginning of a new-build project to smooth the process throughout and achieve the best final result.

UnderConstruction

“I’ve come to view much yacht building as a concatenation of crises, a process in which one moves continually from solving one major problem to solving the next,” he writes in the introduction. “That is the way it’s been, that is the way it is, and that is the way it will likely always be. There is little to be done about it, mostly because yacht build projects are quite complex, made ever much more so by the fact that multiple competing egos are often involved, creative and otherwise, and the demands of buyers are high and, just as often, highly idiosyncratic. What you don’t ever want to do in a yacht build project is add to the problems unnecessarily by failing to take certain key steps at the beginning, steps that will go a long way toward increasing the probability of achieving a successful completion.”

He continues: “I am not under any illusion that what I say here is exhaustive of the topic. However, I believe you will find that which follows to be exceedingly useful in making a yacht building project more like what it should be: a boost for the spirit, and a joy to be savored.”

The 10 Golden Rules:

1. Experience is just as important as talent.
2. Employ specifically experienced legal counsel.
3. Engage technical consultation with experience in yacht building before you go to contract.
4. Clearly define key specifications in the contract before executing.
5. Understand about allowances…and do not expect something for nothing.
6. Make certain the contract clearly defines procedures and pricing for change orders.
7. Do not believe, or count on a projected build timeline that is unrealistically short.
8. Hire the right project manager…early.
9. Require and meet a commitment to timely communication…in both directions.
10. Understand that a 90% solution that can be implemented in the circumstances is better than a 100% solution that cannot.

Each “rule” is explored in clear, concise prose easily accessible to non-expert. For instance; of rule number 10, he writes:

“Unless a buyer/owner is prepared to imbue a yacht build project with ‘blank check’ support, an obsessive compulsion to chase the absolutely ‘perfect’ solution will lead to disappointment, disharmony, bad feelings all around, and ultimately failure—failure of the project and maybe even failure of the yard. The primary objective in a yacht build is to produce a yacht for a buyer/owner, a yacht that will please and be a joy to that buyer. A secondary, though still very important objective is to deliver an experience for the buyer/owner that will be remembered fondly by him or her. Nobody really needs to buy a yacht or have one built; one does it for the sheer pleasure involved. The most reliable approach for protecting and ultimately delivering that pleasure, free of avoidable disappointments and hassles, is to understand clearly the Art of the Possible. And moreover, to understand that a 90% solution that can be implemented in the circumstances is better than a 100% solution that cannot.”

For copies of book, email Friedman at plf@portroyalgroup.com.

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