That’s a great question. If we go back to a definition a Construction Project Manager is a person providing a service using techniques and software to oversee planning, design, construction and the completion of building projects. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? But what does it actually mean for you and me, two people who may or may not have a great understanding of construction processes? Let’s have a look into that.
The way I look at it, when it comes to project management it’s always about the scale. Say you’re having a kitchen extension added to your property which might need a bit of a planning (as in 10-12 weeks of work) potentially living with the builders and compromising on take outs; the level of management required is quite low. Sure it’s still nice to know when to order things but honestly the chances are that the answer you are looking for is NOW. There probably isn’t much health and safety needed to be managed nor a lot of the cost overseeing. So who would be a construction project manager in such a set up? Most people would say that it’s their builder, which I disagree with. It’s usually you. Sure your builder would be managing his team but the actual project would be managed by yourself.
More often than not, people doing small upgrades try to save money by purchasing pretty much everything possible themselves. I can understand the desire to save money however it also comes with the burden of management, setting deliveries, checking orders etc. Depending on how much time someone is willing to invest - it may be a saving but it may also be a loss.
If we look at bigger scale project, say a full house refurbishment, perhaps with a loft extension or some sort of alterations. To give it a bit of a foundation let’s say a £200-500k budget. It’s a significant amount of money by anyone’s standards so it makes much more sense to manage and organise this project in a more professional way. “Who would do this?” you might ask. Well some people get design and build companies who take everything under one roof. Others get their architect to do this as part of their package which may end up either as a big success or complete nightmare (you can read an interesting case study over HERE). And some people come over to specialists, like us. You can find a lot of helpful information about what we offer here on the blog and if you choose to work with us, there are quite a few services we offer that you can find HERE. Not sure what’s right for you? Book a discovery call.
If we then go another level on the scale and look at projects say £1-5M. These projects have their own dedicated design team and let’s assume a separate Main contractor organising the works. On these projects the project management would be split into two types; there would be a client side and contractor side PM. Meaning that the client (you) would have your own Project Manager and the Contractor would have their own. Why is that? Because the bigger the scale of the project the more management required. Whoever tries to fool themselves into thinking that it will all just sort itself out is very wrong. Of course, there isn’t one fix for all the problems but having someone who knows what’s going on so that you don’t have to is quite useful. Especially when you also have a life to live, potentially a family life to organise and your own set of issues.
Finally the largest scale of projects which I call “everything else” can include massive investment projects. Single home renovations of tens of millions of pounds, multi unit investment projects up to giant tower blocks containing hundreds of properties as well as unique designs. This isn’t really something we will be focusing on much but those types of projects have teams of Project Managers. Just saying 😉
I hope that this blog has given you a little bit more of an understanding of who a Construction Project Manager is when it comes to building works. Depending on the size of your project the CPM can be you or it can be someone you pay but it’s something worth thinking about before the project starts.
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