Who can you hire as your project manager?

Previously we explored the basics of project management. In this post, we look at options available for overseeing work on site – who can fulfil the project manager role?

You (the client) can also be the project manager, but the disadvantages often outweigh the possibility of saving money. Cons include:

  • Needing to commit the required time on site to answer questions as and when they arise to avoid delays (there are usually multiple queries on a daily basis)
  • As the end user you can be too close to the project to make objective decisions
  • You may not have the experience needed to understand legal and technical issues and to make informed decisions.
Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud explains why clients should hire a project manager:

“A big project will drain you night and day, but the ride need only be as hard or as easy as you make it… People have got to get over the fear of not being able to trust others. I come across people who are very successful in their own sphere, and really believe they can do it all themselves, but they can’t.”

So, who can you hire as your project manager?
  • A RICS quantity surveyor:
    • Offers truly independent project management
    • Not wedded to the design or the budget
    • Able to make objective decisions
    • Can help to cut costs (as they have a wealth of costing experience and knowledge of contractors and suppliers).
  • Your designer:
    • Understands the design and your aims because they’ve been with you along the journey
    • Can authorise the contractor’s payments and ensure the contractor adheres to the design you’ve paid for
    • Will tend to run a project with a single contractor (main contractor) route, which means fewer sub-contractor / supplier choices
    • For detailed project management including overseeing works on site, many practices will sub-contract the role.
  • Your main contractor or builder:
    • In doing so, they take all the risk (if there’s a delay the impact is on them)
    • They control all the site relationships
    • They probably have contracts with their preferred suppliers which means less choice for you as the client
    • There may be a conflict of interests if you want to value engineer the project (cut costs), as the person you are relying on to advise you will be adversely affected by any reduction in the value of their contract with you.
Next up…

We look at the cost / quality / time triangle – what’s your priority?

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