There are millions of details to keep track of during a construction project and it seems like they multiply by the minute. There is planning, scheduling, and delivery to take care of; you need to give the owner regular progress updates; and you have to make sure all your contractors and subs are carrying the appropriate insurance while bidding new work for your pipeline.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, to coin a cliché.
If you haven’t thought about it before, now may be the time to consider construction management services. Yep, maybe you need a Construction Manager.
Categories of construction management
Construction management includes:
- Project administration
- Project construction supervision
- Project construction planning
- Performance of construction work
A Construction Manager (CM) oversees the whole building project from start to finish. CMs manage teams of workers, locate subcontractors, and communicate with everybody on all sides of the project: architects, city planners, owners, workers, and everybody in between.
Traits of a good construction manager
The best construction managers tend to be experienced general contractors with plenty of field experience in the construction industry. Some may hold degrees in construction-related fields, and they may hold licenses if required.
A good CM can hold a complex project together and lead it in the right direction. He or she educates owners and leads them through all the challenges of the design and construction process so they will be getting the facility they want and need.
To get the most benefit, you need to hire your construction manager as early in the project as possible, to enable him to help improve budgeting and scheduling, two areas reported to benefit most from a construction manager.
CMs understand scheduling and budgeting in detail. They use software and other technology to monitor everything having to do with the project and quickly accounts for changes in the process. They can make instant adjustments to keep everything moving forward.
A construction manager’s job
The Construction Manager acts as an objective third party, and experienced owner’s representative that can protect the best interests of the project. The CM’s fee is typically not dependent on the final project cost but on manpower needs.
Benefits of a construction manager
Because of their backgrounds, CMs are experts in providing the lowest possible project cost based on selecting the lowest bidder from different bid divisions and has the network to secure the right local contractors.
The CM is the owner’s representative, who is onsite during all phases of construction, providing early dispute resolution, aggressive yet fair change order negotiations, and elimination of conflicts of interest since the CM does not perform design or trade-contracting through his own workforce as some contractors do.
If you have the right CM, you will see your overall project costs reduced, probably more than the CM's fees. Because the CM can save you time and money, as well as provide industry expertise, you will have a better advantage in competitive bidding because the markup of the subcontractor's initial bids and change orders are gone. A General Contractor's administrative fees are typically transferred to the construction management firm.
The Construction Manager can even break the project into individual bid packages to further lower costs. With this level of experience, contract negotiations are more smoothly handled.
CMs bring a lot of value to each project. They are a present at the project site to make certain the contractors and subs follow the project plan and schedule. They have the experience to be able to judge the competency of a contractor’s workers and have a deep understanding of jobsite safety. They may even provide alternative methods to bring down project costs.
Along with the contractor, CMs work with the owner’s team to help them over the learning curve for building operations of the new facility.
The best thing about having a CM is that he can find and correct problems before they impact the schedule and completion date. He keeps the project on target and on budget.
CMs monitor the project and, as mentioned before, keep small problems from becoming large ones. One outcome of their attention to detail is a reduction in change orders and, in turn, a reduction in time to completion.
With their industry backgrounds, they can break a project into phases to get the job done more quickly without trades and workers running into each other. They also maintain continuity with the building representative to ensure all is going as the owner expects.
Fast tracking involves maintaining a firm hand on the scope and cost of the project. The elimination of scope creep and change orders along with competitive bidding and project management can result in significant cost savings.
CMs act as a project liaison between the contractors, the owners, and the designers. They make integration between all parties appear seamless while promoting useful feedback during design and planning.
Clear communication on the construction site promotes early and accurate design estimates and the chance to save on materials and supplies. Such open and quick communication can lower the potential for problems and disputes between parties and enhance quality control in the building process.
Document control is another area where CMs bring value. They keep on top of any contract negotiations, issuance of forms, insurance reviews, and substantiation of invoices from every group.
All of this protects the owner from unnecessary liability as the CMs apply resources wherever they are needed and provide the construction and project management expertise to your building project.
Neither building owners nor general contractors want to see a project go out of control. That way lies lost time, productivity, and money. Owners and general contractors can often seem to be on opposite sides of the fence because each has a different perspective and a different area to protect.
Owners want a new building that matches the needs and wants of the company while keeping costs down and completion on time. Meanwhile, General Contractors want to complete as many projects as possible, on time with few changes. Both are concerned about costs but may have different perspectives on how to reduce them.
A Construction Manager is an objective third party who acts as go-between, provides an experienced hand, and can speak the language of each party involved. Not only will a CM create cost savings with fewer change orders, but he or she can also provide peace of mind to the entire crew because it is clear someone who knows what to do is in charge.