Whilst there are a plethora of contributing factors to success, the keys to achieving success at Colliers remain a constant: collaboration and teamwork.
Here at Colliers, we believe that our key to success are encouraging collaboration and strong teamwork to ensure that we are continuously learning.
We speak to Stephen Bruce, Executive Director and Head (SB) and Calvin Lim, Director (CL) from our Real Estate Management Services business to find out more about their expertise and how they embrace collaboration in their team to drive success.
"The key to Colliers' success is that we encourage true collaboration to learn continuously."
What are the most interesting assets that you have worked on in your Real Estate career so far?
SB: I had once the opportunity to manage a temporary F&B, fitness and wellbeing hub – dedicated to ensuring a near-zero carbon footprint. My role was to conceptualise, deliver and operate the asset with a focus on sustainability. It was a 4-storey building of 100,000sf that housed F&B, gym, art studio, fashion house and green rooftop. All water was brown water recycled and high reflective UV glass panels to ensure no heat signature. The rooftop was one of Hong Kong's first rooftop farming initiatives.
CL: One of the most interesting assets I have worked on so far would be managing the United World College of South East Asia (Dover Campus). UWCSEA is an independent international school that provides K–12 education (kindergarten to grade 12). The campus sits on an 11-hectare plot of land with an extensive range of facilities including two boarding houses.
As Head of the Facilities Department, I managed the Facilities Services team. One of my significant achievements was helping the campus achieved the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for existing buildings.
Calvin, you mentioned that you were previously working at a school - how different is managing a school vs. a commercial real estate property?
CL: Facilities managers act as "the guardians" of the asset. In addition to ensuring proper operations and maintenance of a building and its facilities, we also need to provide high standard quality service for our clients and stakeholders – regardless of the asset type. In a school environment, we focus on servicing students, teachers and parents.
When managing a school's facilities, students' safety and security are of utmost importance and a top priority. Therefore, it was critical in all our planning to ensure that we have well-thought procedures and the right training to safeguard students while carrying out our works in a timely manner and support the College's vision. To expand knowledge beyond the classroom, our service scope intertwined with the learning environment, such as including students in our sustainability initiatives. Day-to-day service delivery also includes ensuring that we have an efficient traffic management plan to facilitate smooth drop-off/pick up of students.
Whilst cost may be the governing factor in managing commercial real estate properties; this may not necessarily be the case for managing a school. Decisions, especially maintenance-related ones, may very much be influenced by the school board's ethos and vision, and the low-cost option may not be the way to go.
SB: The importance of safety is paramount in any asset, whether physical or perceived safety. Our ethos of ensuring that any occupant of a building managed by Colliers is crucial to how we operate. We strongly believe in being custodians of any asset we are involved in, and a school would be no exception. We look to ensure we engage clearly through our technology platform to ensure we deliver the quality of services we promised and look at ways to continue thriving.
"With such a broad base of talent within Colliers, we can place ourselves in a strong position and deliver a service we are truly proud of."
In your opinion, what makes Colliers Real Estate Management Services team different?
SB: Our team comprises of individuals under a framework of collaboration. Whilst all commensurate professionals in real estate management, we have a broad depth of skillsets, from commercial asset managers, accountants, quantity surveyors and school facility managers. The key to Colliers' success is that we encourage true collaboration to learn continuously. Our procurement team's independence is a stand out difference – this ensures that all contracts and procurement activities are done at an arm's length process.
Since joining Colliers, what have you found most enterprising, and what is your vision / focus for the REMS team?
SB: We are enterprising, and one thing we have been focusing on is to focus on diversifying the portfolio under management to ensure that we are across all industry segments. With such a broad base of talent within Colliers, we can place ourselves in a strong position and deliver a service we are truly proud of. The embracing nature of technology and its applications have been impressive – our next step is to ensure we analyse the technology and data to allow our clients better visibility and efficiency across their assets.
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