What’s the key to success when working with suppliers and contractors to deliver a project? We’ll let you in on the secret; it’s a detailed and well-considered project brief. 

Providing your suppliers with a good brief can be the difference between receiving high-quality work delivered on time, or a frustrating project full of changes, delays and unmet expectations. Investing time in the brief upfront will save you time and money in the long run, not to mention build better relationships with your suppliers.

To help you get started, we asked our Technical, Projects and Sales teams what they find helpful to know when being briefed by clients. We used their advice to create this free downloadable Project Brief Template, and have summarised their top tips on how to brief suppliers here.

defining a ballpark figure will help suppliers understand the level of options to include in a proposal, and also sometimes avoid wasting your time by letting you know early that their solutions might not be possible in your price range.

Core requirements

Client Details – Who is the end client? Which key stakeholders should be included in follow-up calls and emails about the proposal and spec? Are any other contractors or consultants involved that we should be aware of?

Timescales – When is the project due to start and finish? Are there any other important milestone deadlines? Is quick turnaround required for one particular part of the build?

Project Outline – Here’s where you provide a brief overview of the work you’re looking for support with. This is a high-level description of the outcome you want to achieve and possibly some background context if relevant; not a full technical spec. For example, are you looking for a videoconferencing system as part of an office refurbishment? Is the fitness studio you’re working on a stand-alone project, or is it part of a wider leisure centre revamp? This will help the team understand what environment they would be working in and if they might need to tie in with other contractors on site.

Budget – You might not have an exact figure yet if you’re just scoping out options or feasibility, but even defining a ballpark figure will help suppliers understand the level of options to include in a proposal, and also sometimes avoid wasting your time by letting you know early that their solutions might not be possible in your price range.

More info about the venue

Type of Facility and End Users – Any additional information about the purpose of the building and what the client is trying to achieve with it. While it’s helpful to know if you’re integrating AV tech into a gym vs an office renovation, it’s even more useful to get an extra level of detail. Is it council leisure centre? Or a boutique high-end spin studio? Or perhaps a budget gym franchise looking to give their members something unique?

Type of Spaces – If you’re working on a large building project there’s a good chance there will be more than one type of space that needs technology integration. If you’re looking for an AV supplier to support with a hotel build or renovation for example, there will likely be a reception area with access control requirements, an event space with audio and lighting requirements very different to the guest rooms, and meeting rooms with specialist videoconferencing integrations. Listing the different types of spaces will help your supplier more quickly understand the scope of work and technical requirements.

Technology requirements 

Integrations Required – Going into a bit more detail than in the Project Outline, what exactly do you need technology integration support with? Are there specific hardware, software or third-party products you need to integration and/or communicate with each other? If you don’t already have particular technology products in mind, you can describe the outcome you want to achieve. For example, you might know you want an integrated solution that allows you to film or live-stream from the space; lights that automatically sync with audio; invisible speakers to fit with your interior design aesthetic; or an access control solution that integrates with your existing CRM system.

Product Preferences – Are there any specific brands or products you would like included in your quote or spec? If not, that’s fine to say you’ve no preference. If you do know you need a specific product though, having this information early will improve the speed and accuracy of timeline estimates.

This isn’t a fully comprehensive project spec, but if you can include most of these key elements you’ll be off to a great start in giving a potential new partner an effective brief. Don’t worry if some of these elements are unknown though, any good supplier will work with you to understand your requirements and the scope of the project as part of creating a proposal.

Putting all your requirements into a project briefing template can also be a good way to provide consistent information when enquiring with a few different suppliers to get a feel for how well you might work together. If you’re taking this approach, it pays to be open with suppliers about also having discussions with competitors. This helps to build a basis of trust and may help them better explain how they differentiate from other suppliers. 

Keep in mind that building a good working relationship with your suppliers is invaluable and there is more to consider than price alone when making the decision about who to partner with on a big project. We’ve also written a guide offering some guidance on how contractors, consultants and suppliers can work more effectively together.

How we work at Hutchi

Having all this information is our ideal scenario, but we know at the early stages of a project many people are looking for support exploring the possibilities. Our team will always be happy to talk things through with you and build the brief together. 

We have a track record of successful partnerships working directly with leading brands in the Health & Fitness, Corporate, Retail and Hospitality sectors, as well as partnering with architects and M&E consultants to help them deliver successfully for their own clients.

If you think one of your projects could benefit from some technology integration support, speak to a member of our team about how we can help plan and integrate technology into your build or refurb project.

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