Construction Director, China

The Company


Our client is headquartered in the United Kingdom and specializes exclusively in the development and operation of retail and leisure destinations featuring global luxury and premium fashion brands.   They are acknowledged as the leader in its industry with its projects being among the most productive shopping destinations in the world.


Each Village offers brands exceptional growth, the development of new markets and an introduction to new customers.   Our client delivers consistently improving performance, striving to build and maintain long term partnerships with the brands it serves.


The Villages are must-visit international shopping destinations for European and global visitors.  Today our client serves the world’s leading brands through a unique retail proposition in nine key European tourism markets with two currently under development in Mainland China, the first of which opens on May 15th 2014.  Additional Villages will be developed in other locations in China, and perhaps elsewhere in Asia, over the next several years.


Position Description


The Construction Director will be a high-level Development and Construction professional who will lead and direct all aspects of the construction process for our clients Villages in China.  He/she will be responsible for creating and implementing the vision to build world-class developments in China.


The key responsibility of the Construction Director will be to achieve maximum value creation by leading a team of skilled real estate and construction professionals in the construction of prominent, sustainable and commercially viable projects.  The Construction Director will demonstrate hands-on leadership in all construction functions and will be the driving force in building and nurturing a sustainable organization for the successful development of our client’s developments in China.


Candidate must have career background in architecture, engineering, or project / construction management and extensive experience supervising design consultants, project / construction managers and contractors.  The candidate must have a strong understanding of the design and construction process for retail and mixed-use developments, and experience identifying qualified contracting and subcontracting firms and vendors, preparing and issuing briefs, scope of works, RFP’s, evaluating responses, and negotiating business terms is required.  An understanding of critical path schedules is necessary.  Experience evaluating and negotiating service and construction contract variance claims (change order claims) is required.  The ability to anticipate project pitfalls and identify problems with the development process of individual projects, consultants or contractors, and the end product is highly regarded.  Relevant project experience in China, as well as in the USA and/or Europe (understanding the best practices of each) is required.


The Construction Director must be familiar with the Chinese real estate development process.  He/she will act as our client’s principal representative in orchestrating the administration and liaison with our local contracting partners and consultants, as well as maintaining relationships with those public agencies (and their consultants) having jurisdiction over all aspects of project development.  He/she will have the responsibility to ensure that overall construction objectives are developed and implemented and will collaborate with the Development Team to achieve targeted returns.


This position has both project specific responsibilities as well as broader corporate and China-wide scope.  It requires strong organizational skills, ability to prioritize, keep track of details, and manage spreadsheets.  The candidate must be able to communicate effectively, both verbally, and in written form.  Candidate must understand and assist in communicating the brand and its goals and aspirations consistent with luxury retail shopping and tourism.


Other useful skills include negotiation, team building, persuasion, and building consensus.  The preferred candidate will be enthusiastic and energetic, an independent self-starter, self assured and ambitious.  He/she will also have had extensive experience in Western and Chinese working environments and be able to bridge any cultural gap within the project team.


Summary of Key Responsibilities:


Assist the Project Team to ensure that major real estate development projects are completed on time, within budget and in compliance with our client’s requirements.


Establish design, engineering and construction standards, and assist in preparation of construction phase budgets.


Provide effective leadership, motivation, direction, and control to the Development Team, Construction Managers and the construction team, including architects, engineers, consultants, the trades and vendors.


Provide leadership to the pre-construction and actual construction process to assure that all development, from a construction point-of-view, is completed on time, on budget and within pre-determined standards of quality.


Manage the coordination of architectural and engineering disciplines as well as the functions of estimating, budgeting, contracting, scheduling, bidding, negotiating, purchasing, value engineering, and will serve as the focal point for all major design, construction and approval related activities.


Substantially interface with architects, engineers, contractors, municipal officials, financial institutions and all other necessary for the implementation of design and construction.


Direct the bidding and purchasing of major components through the Construction Manager.


Provide input into the process of selection of all design consultants and other professionals, and general contractors, sub-contractors and vendors.


Assist in government approval process, utility contract negotiations and coordination.


Monitor project construction activities relating to scheduling, quality, costs, safety, design and construction methodology as well as assist in the selection and recommendation of trades and purchase of major building materials/ components through the project teams and Construction Managers.


Create and monitor control systems for cost estimates, budgets, schedule, safety, contractor draws, change orders, quality control, value engineering, progress reports and variance analyses.


Mitigate critical design and operational risks throughout all aspects of construction through the development and refinement of guidelines, business processes, systems and controls.


Maintain substantial interface relationships with clients, client consultants, and other corporate functions.


Coordinate the construction process with marketing, operations and asset management.


Maintain substantial interface relationships with the property management, financing, accounting, leasing, legal, marketing and development departments.


Identify, evaluate and disseminate new construction technology and lead the process of value engineering.


Provide direction, create performance objectives, development plans, and conduct performance reviews for direct reports.


Develop and update staffing plan and logistic strategies.


Prepare preliminary Construction Schedules for completion by the Project Manager or Construction Team.


Identify qualified contracting and subcontracting firms and vendors.  Prepare briefs, scope of works, RFP’s, evaluate responses, and negotiate business terms.


During the Construction Phase, manage all design consultants, sub-consultants, contractors, sub-contractors and vendors.


Assist in assuring that local architects / engineers and contractors understand the project and aesthetic and functional goals and objectives.


Evaluate and negotiate service and construction contract variance claims (change order claims).


During Construction, ensure the review of general contractor / sub-contractor shop drawings, installations, samples, etc. for compliance with the design documentation.  Assist the project team in resolving any issues related to incomplete design, conflicts, changes in condition, alternative methods and/or materials, etc. as required.


During Construction, ensure that the general contractor and its subcontractors are complying with construction documentation and quality targets.  Where there is any deviation, insure that the Project Team immediately notifies the general contractor and that the non-compliance is rectified.


Prepare periodic reports for management including status of construction, construction budgets, variance/change claims, schedules and pending presentations and decisions to be made by management.


Assist in updating of the Village Design & Construction Guidelines.


Working Conditions:


Work is usually performed in an office environment however the employee will be required to visit and work from project sites to attend meetings, perform inspections and/or to observe construction / development activities.  Periodic international travel to various locations in Asia and Europe will be also required.  Based in Shanghai, the candidate must have the ability to work efficiently while traveling.


Candidate Profile


Work Experience & Abilities Required:


Requires 15 or more years experience in the execution of complex construction projects.


Extensive work exposure to western business practices is required.


Strong ability to create, implement, and monitor all construction schedules and control systems, policies, procedures, systems and standards and approvals.


Has worked with top international design consultants, construction management companies and contractors.


Some exposure to major Chinese local design institutes and general understanding of Chinese construction market and practice, government approvals and utility company negotiation.


Familiar with sustainable building design and LEED construction standards and practice.


Familiar with fast track construction and cost estimation.


Demonstrates good understanding of financial controls with a bottom-line profit orientation.


Ability and willingness to relocate from city to city and from site to site when necessary.


Strong organizational skills, especially in budget tracking and scheduling are necessary.


Strong computer skills with Microsoft Office applications, scheduling and project management software are required.


A valid passport and ability to freely travel is required.


Personal Qualifications:




Quickly establishes credibility and develops relationships with the highest levels of confidence and the long-term maintenance of those quality relationships.


Communicates effectively with individuals at all levels and is able to relate well to all people regardless of personality and background.


Clearly expresses complex ideas and concepts in writing.


Promotes ideas effectively and persuasively in one-on-one or group situations; shapes key internal/external stakeholder opinions.


Highly skilled negotiator.


Demonstrated Leadership


Understands the corporate vision, direction, and procedures.


Sets clear, measurable expectations for function, and holds individuals accountable.


Conducts business and pursues opportunities based on broader strategies that maximizes profits.


Manages, coordinates and directs a diverse mix of contractors and consultants.


Establishes and monitors policies, procedures, systems that maintain highest quality standards.


Stays continually aware of key activities and issues related to the projects.


Demonstrates excellent management skills.


Ability to build consensus but when required take decisions in a decisive manner.


Ability to Prioritize/Multi-Task


Excellent project management skills with the ability to meet schedule and budgetary goals on large-scale, complex projects.


Manages complex, multiple, continually changing priorities.


Able to maintain broad strategic long-term focus while addressing multiple short term operational issues at a high level.


Flexible and adaptable to all situations with special ability to handle stress, to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty, and to identify and solve complex problems quickly.


Ability to Work in Teams


Understands the roles and interrelationships of all functions within our client’s China business and effectively manages teams across functional lines.


Works collaboratively with team members while maintaining a clear sense of direction and leadership.




Anticipates problems, identifies risks and plans for future market changes that will impact the business.


Understands and can apply knowledge of economic drivers and financial indicators to maximize company value.


Champions new ideas and initiatives; identifies new business opportunities and makes them a reality; fosters innovation and risk taking.


Executes decisions effectively, quickly, and independently.




Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in a technical or engineering field; post-graduate education a plus.


Language Abilities:


Fluent in both spoken and written English & Mandarin Chinese is essential.


This entry was posted in Construction & Real Estate Assignments, Foster Partners Current Assignments. Bookmark the permalink.