Recently we have been involved in quite a few conversations about project management, and who is responsible on a building site. There seem to be many answers to this question, depending on who you are speaking with, however I felt it was time we offered ours, as builders.
Project Management – Who Is Responsible?
There are several schools of thought on this one, most architects will tell you they need to be involved in the project from beginning to end, independent project managers will tell you they need to be involved from beginning to end, and some regular renovators will tell you to take on the job of project management. Let’s explore the options.
Architects are not builders, likewise builders are not architects. It is not our job as builders to tell an architect how to design a house, and not an architects job to tell us as builders how to manage a job. Architects do not need to be involved at every step of the process, while I understand that passionate architects love to watch their hard work become a reality, they are not qualified to be part of the building process, just as a builder is not qualified to be part of the design process.
Building and renovating of course works best when the architect and builder work together, however there is no need for either to check up on the other.
There are times when a builder can be involved in the design process, but not to design the actual house or renovation, rather to suggest a different opinion that can potentially save money. We have 2 architects that we work with, that the Builder is regularly invited to review the plans in order to find potential cost saving ideas, for example there way be a way to save money on the truss design. That doesn’t mean The Builder has a clue about designing a home, but rather understands the options to create a similar result.
Project managers are just that, there to manage a project. My question would be why you think you require an independent project manager? When you have your house or renovation project quoted on, your builder includes a margin for the time it takes to manage your project. What is the outcome you are seeking when looking to employ an independent project manager. There would definitely be a case for an independent project manager if you were looking to co-ordinate the project for yourself, however a project manager managing the build process of a builder is double handling the project.
Clients Managing The Work
This is an absolute possibility provided you remember, that in order to do so for a larger project, you will need to become an owner builder. You will be responsible for managing all the trades to be in the right place at the right time, you will also be responsible for ensuring that all materials are in place ready for your tradespeople to use them. Don’t forget your insurance and your responsibility to the safety of your site.
Please don’t underestimate the time involved with this option, while it certainly is a great option to save money, it can totally destroy your budget if not run well. My best advice for those looking to use this option, is to be sure you have managed a few smaller jobs first, like a bathroom or kitchen reno. These are both great for experience due to the sheer number of trades needing to be involved. The scope of these renovations, will provide great skills to help you with an entire reno or new home build.
As you can see, there are times where all of these options can work well, it’s an individual decision to be made by you on a project by project basis.
Have you worked with a project manager? Would you give project managing your own project a go?