In profile: Savills Australia's project director of project managment NSW, Kai Schindlmayr

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Agent: Kai Schindlmayrkai-schindlymayr-profiel

Position: Project director, project management

Company: Savills Australia

Office location: Sydney

1.     How long have you been in the industry?

After studying mechanical, marine and offshore engineering at the University of Surrey in the UK I moved to Australia some 12 years ago and fell into the client side of project management.  It was during this time that I also completed my Masters in Project Management at Sydney University.

2.     What’s happening in the area you specialise in?

The market is still heavily focused on space efficiency and applying work space strategies such as ABW.  What is exciting is that we are starting to see the focus shifting back to the people and employees; what money is being saved in real estate is now being reinvested back into the people.  It is not only about making space more efficient it is now about making the most of real estate change, and creating and nurturing a better culture which in turn should improve a business’s performance.

Also we are starting to see the reactivation of base building precincts. Landlords are re-accessing buildings, particularly at the ground floor plane, and are finding ways to improve its appeal and attractiveness to tenants. Again, by creating a vertical community within a building, and making the most of dead space, the focus on activation could improve the culture of an organisation with the building.

3.     Describe the most interesting property or project?

My most interesting would have to be my inaugural project which was the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home in Randwick , which I spent close to three years on and completed in 2006.  At the time, and still today, it was a leading edge high quality aged care facility and it was this project that really set me off on the career path I am now on.

In terms of a work space project, it would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Clayton Utz integrated fit out at 1 Bligh Street. As project manager for Clayton Utz for two years, I thoroughly enjoyed what was a very complex fit out within a world leading and innovative building.

4.     What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?

It may sound cliché but it ultimately comes down to one’s skill set, and a skill set that should include strengths in organising, writing and communicating. You need to be able to fully understand, and capture, the requirements of your client and find the balance between both the functional and the aesthetic elements of a design. After all, it is your client that will be living in the space for many years after the project is complete.

You need to constantly ask why and challenge, and always be willing to learn by the very many stakeholders involved, right from the subcontractors to the CEO.  As a client side project manager, you have to draw the very best out of all of the enablers of a project in order to drive creativeness and innovation, and deliver the best result to suit your client’s business and culture.

5.     What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

Everyday is different and although sometimes challenging it is also gratifying to see the success of project.

6.     Where would you invest a spare $750k?

I would invest in run down assets in a CBD that could be transformed into third spaces such as hubs etc.

7.     Which football team do you support?

The once great Liverpool Football Club.

8.     What’s your favourite app or techno gadget?

Internet movie database – it helps every time with six degrees of separation when watching tv and movie, also if I had an iPad it would be the Savills App!

9.     How do you use social media?

I am a strong user of LinkedIn – it is a very powerful tool for connecting in with colleagues, and maintaining business connections.  It is also instrumental with connecting the dots to potential opportunities and also sharing my passion for developments in work space and other trends within property.  

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