Most commercial, institutional, industrial and educational owners are busy with their core operations or projects. Most residential owners are even busier with their own lives, families and businesses. Few have the know-how or technical expertise essential to manage their own construction project.
Moreover, most don’t possess the time or disposition to commit to a possible multi-year process through planning, entitlement, design and construction, nor need they agree to the inherent risks should anything go awry.
A major construction project is a difficult and risk-laden enterprise, involving the outlay of a considerable sum of capital as well as the use of technologies of which many are aware, some are conversant, but few are sufficiently skilled. It demands the owner to do business with a number of groups of people whose interests are not his/her own and to venture into a field with its own set of rules, some of which are not written anywhere. It’s a rigorous activity requiring continual attention in order to realize success.
That’s where a construction project manager (CPM) comes in. A construction project manager acts as the owner’s representative and advocate, educating and steering owners through the maze of design and construction. As we’ll soon see, there are significant benefits to retaining a CPM.
What is construction management?
Construction management is a professional service that provides a project’s owner(s) with effective supervision of the project’s schedule, cost, quality, safety, scope and function. Construction management is compatible with all project delivery methods. No matter the setting, a CPM’s responsibility is to the owner and to the project’s success.
At its core, a construction project is made up of three parties (excluding the CPM):
- The owner, who authorizes the project and either funds the project directly or finances it through an assortment of methods.
- The architect/engineer who designs the project.
- The general contractor who manages day-to-day operations and oversees subcontractors.
The CPM speaks for the owner’s interests and supplies oversight over the complete project directly for the owner. His/her directive is to work with all parties to deliver the project on time, at or under budget and to the owner’s anticipated standard of quality, scope and function.
Moreover, effective construction management assists owners by boosting the likelihood for successful project completion – on time, within budget and free of financial or legal problems. Construction project management is a professional service that employs unique project management methods to supervise the planning, design and construction of a project. While construction project management services might further develop over the course of the project, it’s expected from the get-go to optimize best industry practices, prudent management decision-making and clear-cut project controls and reporting methods.
Construction project management is particularly vital to large-scale projects that have more potential for glitches that could postpone the project and cost money. A CPM appraises each design decision with painstaking scrutiny that calculates the effect that particular decision will make on the budget and schedule. Without a professional construction management team, an unexpected setback risks upsetting the entire project. When a project includes a CPM, he/she is not only able to better plan for likely problems, but the project also profits from the construction project manager’s knack to unearth money and time-saving opportunities.
A bit of history
Construction project management grew as a professional practice separate from design and construction in the early 1960s in reply to ever-increasing intricacies in the construction industry. Highly complex construction systems led to the specialization of both design and construction professionals. In addition, mounting regulatory directives, litigation and other risks created the need for a new professional to be the owner’s representative and bridge the gap among the owner, the designer and the contractor. Today, construction project management is proven and well-known as an indispensable profession.
Responsibilities of the construction project manager
Obviously, the first and foremost responsibility of a CPM is to oversee and guide the construction project over which they have control.
However, this is far too general and doesn’t give appropriate content to what it is that a CPM does on day-to-day. While CPM responsibilities may slightly vary from project to project based on the circumstances, there are eight distinct responsibilities that fall under his/her wheelhouse:
- Estimate project costs
- Put together a project budget
- Create a schedule
- Set up boundaries for how the project is to be completed
- Communicate and collaborate with project stakeholders
- Educate workers and teams about the contract specifics
- Supervise all work specialties dealing with construction and regulation adherence
- Perform risk management
Keep in mind these responsibilities aren’t comprehensive for every single construction project.
In fact, some of these tasks can be delegated to other professionals involved with the project but, in due course, the CPM will have to answer for each of these tasks at the end of the day.
That means it’s always best that your CPM be involved in some capacity in the execution of these responsibilities.
Chief benefits of professional construction management
- Industry know-how – As a qualified consultant with construction know-how, a construction project manager can steer you through the total process. He/she has in-depth knowledge of all facets of construction, so allow them to watch over everything from the choice of the architect and contractor through the construction process. In short, he/she will look after all the essential aspects of the project and keep it running smoothly without your needing to be so closely involved.
- Good financial management – With outstanding estimation skills, CPMs know how to assign the right amount of funds to important tasks, minimizing waste and ensuring accountability. Your CPM will bring about significant savings that will far outweigh the cost of employing them. He/she also manages competitive bidding, contract negotiations on merit, a cutback in completion time and removal of non-value scope and costs. He/she works with the construction team to create matter-of-fact budgets and ensure the project is finalized within these budgets by employing cost-cutting documentation controls, effectively directing resources, plus much more. Moreover, having a veteran team managing your project gives you quite a few efficiency plusses such as budget monitoring and application, holding the project to schedule, and synchronizing the efforts of the team. Moreover, their involvement in project design and planning reduces expensive change orders and removes needless duplicate scope and costs.
- Centralization of communication – It’s the construction project manager’s job to produce open lines of communication between the client and the construction company, between the various teams of tradesmen and between himself and everyone involves in the construction process.
- Quality outcomes – In construction management, the CPM monitors the quality of every task at every stage. This ensures that the final structure meets the appropriate industry standards.
- Owner protection – Since the construction project manager is totally answerable for the construction project, he/she deals with any risk and liability that may surface. This helps shield the owner from potential lawsuits and direct claims in case of accidents or other catastrophes.
- Timely completion – With an appropriate distribution of tasks and time management policies, construction project managers can employ their know-how to manage and complete a project within a specified period.
- Streamline document controls – Your construction project manager’s oversight function covers balancing contract pros and cons and managing negotiation and issuance via AIA (American Institute of Architects) documents. He/she also handles insurance reviews and validates invoices for all involved to assure accuracy.
- Reduced risks and hazards – It’s a fact that operating in the construction industry is more hazardous than most other jobs. It’s filled with threats to safety and the construction manager must be aware of these risks. In 2019 alone, at least 1,000 construction workers lost their lives on construction sites, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Standards. CPMs help ensure the site is correctly managed to help avert hazards and accidents.
- Better decision-making – Construction project management facilitates proper hiring of qualified workers and firing of underqualified ones. It also helps in general decision-making in every aspect of construction, including financial, legal and administrative.
- Equipment and materials – Without the proper tools and materials, a construction project simply will not get done. The CPM is obligated to provide the building materials and tools essential to complete the job.
- Accountability – Construction project management can provide clear lines of accountability. With a construction project management team in place, there is little confusion about who is the decision maker or what the project objectives are. The CPM directs the focus of the overall project team so that all understand what they’re supposed to be doing and why. The CPM’s global view of the project enables agile management of evolving risks as they occur.
- Handles the heavy lifting – A construction project manager typically communicates with all the other parties involved in the construction project including suppliers, designers and contractors, reducing the client’s direct involvement in a project.
- Keeps projects running smoothly – With every task in order, the construction project management ensures that the project runs smoothly with as few disruptions as possible.
- Planning – A construction project manager decides how and when construction will be executed based on the proposed project’s scale and details. He/she takes care of all the prerequisite paperwork for a project, devises a timetable and budgets for the project and hires the assorted subcontractors necessary to complete the project.
Let’s face it, unfortunately, some owners still endeavor to sidestep overhead costs by scrimping on construction project management costs, not understanding that it may cost them more in the long run.
By having an effective construction project management team in place, conflicts and claims may be dodged at meaningful cost savings to the owner. For example, if a skilled CPM is observing the construction carefully, a bad concrete pour or an incorrect steel connection can be spotted early, right when it occurs, rather than well into the construction stage.
If such an issue is not identified until long after it takes place, correcting the work can mean expensive and time-consuming delays to the entire project. By having the construction project management team frequently appraise construction activities, the owner increases the chances of revealing conflicts, cutting unanticipated change orders, identifying would-be design mistakes, exposing mediocre construction practices and staying away from claims.
CPMs bring knowledge and experience
Construction project management professionals bring a wealth of know-how and understanding to projects, such as assessing contractor ability and revealing where problems may arise. Just as they can help with delegating tasks and roles, construction project managers can communicate what they know about the project region, job site safety and more to all those involved. CPMs recognize how projects should move forward and their knowledge could be the difference between numerous holdups and timely success.
Some companies believe these construction project management organizations unnecessary and choose to go in-house. But we want to point out the importance of hiring professional construction managers for your building projects. These aren’t some outside projects that can go on without consistent supervision. These projects need 100 percent awareness and only a professional construction management company can commit to that job.
When you make a decision to hire a top-notch construction project management company, you won’t bemoan the decision because it assures a positive experience – less stress for you and more time to perform more essential tasks.
Got construction projects planned? Contact PDDM Solution today!