The interior outfitting of an exclusive yacht or home is an extremely complex affair. With high quality demands, strict schedules, challenging costings and a large number of people, partners and trades involved, structured yet highly flexible project management is essential. And always with the contractually defined deadline in mind.
From yachts to villas – projects in the luxury segment are something quite special. After all, the results – a completed luxury yacht, a high-end villa or an exclusive private residence – are not everyday objects and attract attention due to their extraordinary aesthetics, form and function. They are creative and technical works of art, inside and out. It goes without saying, therefore, that the process involved in their creation is just as complex. Whether on land or on water, List General Contractor (List GC) knows how to handle and manage these projects. Project management for fitting out the interior of a luxury yacht or home is disproportionately more challenging than for projects in other industries, and years of experience and expertise are essential if these complex projects are to be a success.
The particular challenges of interior outfitting for yachts
This complexity can be seen already in the number of stakeholders involved – from the shipyard, as the actual customer, to the owner’s representatives, the designers, the authorities for flag state and class, and on to suppliers, fitters and site managers. And last but not least, the owners themselves, whose vision has to be turned into a reality. All these parties are involved in the process. Everything revolves around one of a kind and individual solutions. And there are plenty of these on a luxury yacht, because no two projects are the same. What’s more, planning, production and assembly of the individual furnishing elements are often carried out in parallel. The project managers successfully get to grips with this complexity, because it is in project management that everything comes together.

When a project begins, there are often only vague ideas on the table, with the relevant details being developed only as the project progresses. The project managers are responsible for assessing whether the materials are actually available, whether implementation is feasible and whether the costs can be kept to budget. At the same time, an absolute deadline determines the entire course of the project: The handover date for the finished, exclusive interior. This deadline is fixed and non-negotiable. With a project period that can last up to four years, however, a lot can change by this date. Designs might be adapted and materials changed. Constant change is one of the main challenges in interior outfitting for yachts.

© List GC

So how can the project management team cope with these challenges?

Collect as much information as possible
Execution is usually based on plans, 3D renderings or even just hand drawings. Only once the design concepts have found their way from creative minds onto paper, as accurately and in as much detail as possible, the actual realisation of the exquisite interior can start. This is where the specialists from List GC come into play: They are involved in the development or further development of the ideas and try to obtain as much information as possible, contributing their craftsmanship and technical expertise to the process. The project teams put a lot of work into compiling information about the extremely wide range of furnishing parts. And this is absolutely essential, because everything else – which material must be procured, how much of it, and from which suppliers – is based on this. Or, subsequently, how much time can be scheduled for editing and processing, when exactly this will be done and at what point in the creation process. And all this must always be in compliance with the best quality and maximum cost efficiency.

Be flexible – right from the beginning
Flexibility is part of our day-to-day business at List GC: Every part of the interior design, every piece of furniture is unique, specifically designed, developed and produced for this single project. In contrast to series production, the project steps for these unique furnishings are continuously being redefined and reprioritised. For each new order, the head of department, together with the respective project manager, must decide on the best team for the task. If necessary, the team is split up, expanded or reduced in size. This allows for a quick response to changes. The communication channels at List GC’s Bad Erlach site are short and simple. Excellent external networking with suppliers and partners ensures quick processing. The head of the project management department maintains an overview of all teams.

The required flexibility poses particular challenges in terms of quality management. There are barely any product or material standards for prototypes. The focus for improvements lies clearly on the quality of the workflows. Defined, lean processes, which provide a framework for the project, are required. And a culture focussing on “lessons learned”: Experiences from completed projects systematically flow into the structure and are utilised for future projects. This increases efficiency.

© List GC

Value good stakeholder management
With luxury yachts, of course, a large number of people are involved in the creation of the high-quality and functionally sophisticated interior fittings. The individual ideas, concepts and specifications need to be well coordinated and harmonised, so that the design requirements can become a reality. The employees of List GC are responsible for organising and structuring this variety of voices. In this context, maintaining relationships with external partners is especially important: Relationships with the designers, who supply the drafts, with the globally distributed suppliers, who supply the exclusive materials, with the partners, who specialise in specific detailed productions, and with the shipyard, which places the contract. It’s about finding compromises, creating consensus for the common objective. And doing so diplomatically, with tact and with great expertise.
Break complex projects into small work packages
The key aim during the outfitting process for a luxury yacht interior, is to reduce the complexity. For List GC, this means breaking the multi-layered project into manageable work packages. This is usually done in the form of material groups, such as stone, metal, fabrics or special materials. The responsible specialists from List GC handle the specific task, find out which material is required and in what quantities, where it can be purchased, and then formulate the invitations to tender. They stick to deadlines and even keep an eye on the budgets for their work packages, often dealing with tricky technical implementations. On yachts, the most unusual solutions are often concealed in furniture or wall panels, due to space restrictions.

Years of experience and expertise means the specialists from List GC know exactly how to tackle these kinds of highly complex projects and guide them to success. After all, one thing is certain: The deadline is always set in stone.