What is a construction project manager and how can it help you with house extension, renovation, new build or integrating sustainability into your home?
Project Manager seems to be all the vogue at present with such ringing endorsements as Kevin Mcloud. In fact, project managers occur in most businesses, there have qualifications in management and they have their own professional Association (APM). At it’s most basic a project is a one off operation, not a repeated process and a project manager is the person who is going to oversee this operation from start to finish.
In the building trade the question arises at what level this control is exercised.
The historic model is for an Architect to act as the Contract Administrator for a client and to engage a contractor (builder) on behalf of the client. You now find both Architect and Builder employing the words Project Manager to describe their role and this can lead to confusion with clients suspecting that they are paying for the same service twice. In this contractual arrangement the builder bears all the construction risk whilst the Contract Administrator’s role is to check for the client that the terms of the contract are being adhered to and to negotiate any variations. Both parties are involved in management of the project and I’ll leave you to determine who you think merits the term Project Manager or indeed whether it can be shared. From a Charlie Laing point of view on this type of arrangement we offer a Contract Administration service on a fixed fee basis.
There are other models that should also be considered:
1. Do without the Contract Administrator
Here the client in effect acts as the Contract Administrator themselves. Again at its most basic this is something that we have probably all had experience of as you will not have employed a Contract Administrator when you wanted your bedroom repainted or your bathroom retiled. This means that you may already have some experience with negotiating variations or tracking day work hours. Looking after a whole project is an extrapolation from that. You need to be able to answer all the builder’s questions and be happy tracking his expenditure and agreeing his invoices.
2. Do without a builder.
When you repainted your bedroom or retiled your bathroom as well as not having a Contract Administrator you probably did not have a builder. These days most builders subcontract much of their work. They charge a fee on top of the subcontractor’s price for management, for taking the risks on the project and for profit. Our Project Management service strips out the builder and tenders directly to tradesmen. You appoint each tradesman directly and we make sure they turn up in the right order and at the right time. As a builder typically charges about 15% this route can work out more cost effective.
As you can see, employing a construction project manager to co-ordinate your home build, renovation or an extension will save your sanity, your time and your money. Most importantly, your home build does not need to be “Grand Designs” scale – anyone looking to build will benefit from the skills and experience of a building project manager.