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Develop a Project Plan

A project management plan should be put in place prior to the retrofitting project starting. The plan will allow the project team to communicate with both the building residents and the contractor in an organised and effective way.  The plan should include the below points, more details of which can be found below.

Overall Plan Calendar
When do certain works start and end
Detailed Plan

Preperation needed

Expected disruption

Monthly/weekly Overview



Involve the contractor

Meetings with the builder

Dealing with complaints

Complaint procedure

Complaint logbook

After the project

What was achieved


On the basis of the plan the contractors provide, prepare an easy to digest overview for the residents, for instance in the form of a calendar, and indicate the estimated start and end time for each phase of the works.

For every main task you need to identify (with the contractor) what this means for the residents. For instance, they might have to clear their balconies, or the lift might be out of order, or water will be cut off for a short time. You can split this up in

  • Preparation needed
  • Inconvenience to be expected

Now you need to discuss this with the owners and the contractors and establish if any measures are required to help with preparation or to deal with the inconveniences.  Add the proposed measure to the overview and share this with the residents and the contractors.

It is a good idea to provide up-to-date information on a weekly and/or monthly basis based on your overall plan and actual progress. This is also where you can update the residents on any delays. Don’t forget to also mention what has been achieved since the last reporting period. See below for the elements to include.

Be very transparent in your communication: if a delay has occurred, mention this. You will have to take into account that a few residents always follow the process very carefully and will start to ask why task x has not been completed on time if you don’t update them regularly. Owners will be more positive and understanding if they know what is happening. See communicate with your neighbours for tips on how to communicate with the owners.

What to include in updates

  1. Per week/day what tasks are worked on
  2. What preparation is needed/preparation deadlines
  3. Expected inconvenience and solutions
  4. Progress compared to initial schedule
  5. Achievements
  6. Delays and their reasons
  7. Upcoming meetings

Organise meetings where the owners/residents can put their questions to the contractors. Also ask the contractor to organise, once in a while, when there is something interesting to see, a short site visit to show how the work is coming along. Make sure to agree on this with the contractor in the project preparation phase.

Ensure that anyone with a complaint can contact the project team at all times, e.g. via a whatsapp group or any other convenient method of communication. Make certain that these contact details are clearly visible in the building entries and on all communication. However, don’t frame it in a negative way such as “complaints: let us know” but as “Any questions regarding the retrofitting can be directed here”.

Once you receive a complaint, immediately send a confirmation of receipt.

Then decide how serious the complaint is, how to deal with it, and who should deal with it. Sudden cracks in walls need urgent attention from the contractor, but an exhausted parent with a sick child complaining about noise might require someone within the block of flats to drop by for a friendly chat.

Make sure to keep track of complaints.

Once the project is complete, everybody will want to know what was achieved and how much it finally cost. Also, it is a good idea to have a look at the benefits that were promised and the extent to which they were achieved. It is useful to prepare a summary and to discuss the findings in a meeting. Don’t forget to celebrate the completion of the project. Some elements to include in the summary:

  1. A list of what was done in every step (e.g. roof renewed – new insulation installed – solar panels installed, e.g.)
  2. Overview of all costs, if possible break down by project step (e.g. roof: 30,000).
  3. Overview of complaints and solutions
  4. Compare if promised benefits were achieved and if yes, list them. If not, explain why promised benefits could not be achieved (e.g. The strength of the roof didn’t allow …)

How to communicate with the owners after the retrofit