Do I need a PROJECT MANAGER, or should I leave this to my builder?

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What makes or breaks the success of a construction project? To generalise and sum up, we’d have to say that dedication from all parties involved would achieve a great result. The reasons why it may all go south can be many, including lack of attention, delays with key decisions, inadequate supply of materials, sub-contractor not being diligent etc. The list can go on and on. To increase your chances of a job well done try the following. In addition to having a trustworthy Contract Administrator who will be working hard on your behalf, you need to seriously consider hiring your own project manager or PM, unless your contractor has one which you’ve met personally and have some trust in this individual. This does sounds like you are opening your own business by employing so many people for one development, but if done correctly, this setup will guarantee spectacular finish, timely completion and lower overall spending.

What can a project manager do for you? Let’s look at this closer:

  1. An experienced project manager would analyse the documents that you have to date, review the package and make comments on what can be done better or cheaper
  2. The programme of works may be done from scratch unless your CA or contractor done this already. If that’s the case a review and potentially a revision would be issued based on any discrepancies that may be uncovered by your PM
  3. The entire management on site including trades, suppliers, building control, site surveys and inspections would be overlooked and organised
  4. Cost comparison is done on daily basis to make sure the customer gets value for money
  5. All measurements will be checked and followed to the letter
  6. Any site disputes between the trades are resolved on the spot
  7. Appointing sub-contractors, issuing preliminary payment certificates and liaison with CA would be part of their responsibilities
  8. Weekly or fortnightly meetings with trades and customer as standard
  9. Staying on schedule in line with the programme of works
  10. All paper work to be looked after and site protocols to be followed

Your PM can be your eyes and ears when you are unable to attend, or if you are not necessary into this kind of work. A lot of property developers prefer to hire someone they can trust and rely on rather than trying to control daily activities and things that they don’t specialise in. Yes, you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself but are you qualified and properly educated to know all the high priority areas, legislation, regulations and be able to concentrate one hundred percent on only one thing at a time? If you manage to find a decent contractor, they will offer a project management service of their own and charge you it. This can be easier as you don’t need to get involved into trying to find someone with good experience and who comes recommended.

The costs can fluctuate quite a lot but be prepared to pay £250 and above per day for a good candidate. This can be too much for smaller projects under £100,000 but anything over that, it becomes a necessity rather than choice. There are good deals to be made out there, but you’d need to put some work into that and go through quite a few people to find the right balance between quality and cost. Don’t underestimate the importance of making a personal connection with a person you will trust with so much, the more you have in common the better and keeping a friendship rather than an employer/employee mindset is vital for a prosperous future.

There are companies out there who’s sole purpose is project management, they have appropriate practices in place, and they are doing this day in and day out. However, they normally control things from a distance and are not on site every day. Instead they tend to communicate with a site foreman, who tried his best to control the site and keep everyone updated. It’s not a better way of dealing with this but I can work for smaller budgets.

Hiring an architect to fulfil the role of a PM would be the worst option as it will be similar to trying to fix a leak with a hammer. Whereas they are great in providing services in their field, they might not be suitable for this role which requires other qualities to do a good job.

Lastly, PM can help immensely with running your day to day activities, propel the job forward and ease up on the spending, so this is definitely something to think about. Weigh up your options and see what works best for your exclusive situation.

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