The management of your self build project can be completed by a number of individuals and in some circumstances, enlisting the services of a professional construction project manager could prove to be money well spent.
Do you need a construction project manager?
Not necessarily. But you do need someone competent holding the reins for the best chance of a successful project.
There are no real restrictions on who can manage the project and you have a choice of self build routes which will largely decide who ends up doing the job.
If you take on a package company or main contractor, an in-house project manager should keep your build on track. Alternatively, your architect or designer may be able to manage your project but as this isn’t their primary function, you might pay more and not get the level of attention of a dedicated professional. You may even decide to do it yourself!
Appointing an independent project manager changes the structure of the project team to one which can provide some additional benefits.
The difference is this: The independent construction project manager has a direct contractual relationship exclusively with you, independent of contractors or subcontractors. The perceived benefit of this arrangement is that you get all the focus and expertise of a professional project manager acting on your behalf and with your best interests in mind.
In addition, you still have direct relationships with suppliers, builders and subcontractors and the associated cost savings, but the management of these parties and the project as a whole is handled by a professional which in itself can increase efficiency.
What will they do?
Packages vary but a construction project manager’s full package would usually start with involvement in your project at the design stage where they will advise on design and take on the full management control of your project to completion.
Typically they will:
- Provide design advice and input.
- Prepare and administer contract documents.
- Procure labour, materials and plant.
- Manage labour, materials and plant.
- Prepare and maintain the project schedule.
- Complete cost forecasts and control costs.
- Control quality and ensure design compliance.
- Ensure compliance with regulations and statutory requirements.
- Collate relevant certification.
- Keep financial records.
- Ensure Health and Safety compliance.
- Keep you informed.
In addition, they should advise you on any obligations you have or any issues you need assistance with such as:
- Site Insurance
- Structural Warranties
- Health and Safety
To find out more about these items, visit our section on construction project management.
This is the thick end of a wedge and self build project managers offer a wide range of advice and support packages right the way down to just being on hand if you decide to manage your own build but want someone experienced on the end of a phone. Some will even step in midway through a flailing project to steer it back on track.
The advantages of using an independent project manager include:
- A dedicated expert managing your project and representing your needs.
- Cost savings as your direct relationship with suppliers and contractors is maintained.
- Your PM will likely have good local knowledge and contacts with good specialists and contractors.
Where do you find one?
Good question. There’s no collective representation for these types of self build project managers so we can’t really direct you to an independent resource.
They tend to be regional or local small businesses or an individual construction professional who has moved away from the commercial environment to work independently using the benefit of their expertise. You can find a few by searching online but in some areas it will be worth searching local listings to see who’s out there.
An HND or bachelors degree in building studies, construction management etc wouldn’t go amiss and the possession of a black managerial CSCS card (required for employment on site by most of the large main contractors in the country) is a good sign, as is membership to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
There is really no substitute for knowledge, experience and reputation when it comes to construction project management. Personal recommendations, satisfied customers and successful projects delivered safely, to a high standard of quality, on schedule, within budget and meeting all the legal and other requirements are the best indication of a good construction project manager, so get plenty of references and make sure you follow them up.
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