Agents join moving operation

REAL estate agents are redefining themselves by acting as one-stop shops for their clients, providing anything from toilet paper to computer equipment to a cleaner.

Facilities management is a growing arm of commercial real agents in Perth and around the world. The agent can take care

of all the office needs of an organisation by co-ordinating different contractors.

Jones Lang LaSalle project manager Andrew Hawkins said the agent could also help in the relocation process – from identifying a new site, to organising a fitout or physically moving the company.

As project manager, Mr Hawkins works closely with engineers, architects interior designers, contractors and removalists.

Mr Hawkins said a project manager could ensure lighting needs were addressed, airconditioning was maintained to within a few degrees and computer systems were maintained during the shifting process.

He said the days were long gone when each organisation had their own property division to take care of the company’s facilities.

Today, companies outsourced the work to real estate agents.

Mr Hawkins said some large companies spent up to $100 million a year to maintain their properties.

He said certain global companies outsourced their property needs to firms such as Jones Lang Lasalle who could take care of worldwide needs.

Agents usually charge a percentage on the cost of the relocation or facilities cost or an hourly retainer, depending on the client’s demands.

The project manager must also work around the busy times of the company to ensure a smooth changeover.

In many cases, this meant restricting the move to weekends.

If a company has hundreds of staff the move can take a number of weekends because of limitations such as lift space or the availability of adequate parking for removal vans.

Mr Hawkins said that, in a normal situation, only 150 to 200 people could be shifted at any one time.

Woodside with about 1,700 staff could take up to ten weeks to shift to new premises.

“If you are a 2,000 square metre to 3,000sqm tenant with 200 staff you probably can do it in one week,” Mr Hawkins said.

The average cost for transferring staff was about $1,500 per employee while fit out costs often came to about $1,000 per person.

While the cost was quite high, often efficiency gains of 20 per cent could be achieved, making the relocation more economically viable, he said.

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