Building projects are very exciting. Seeing your dream become a reality, from planning to completion, means those renovating often want to be closely involved. It allows them to feel like they are control throughout the whole process. This often means they opt to manage the project themselves.
The fact that a building project is an expensive thing to take on is also a deciding factor for many people. They see becoming the project manager of their own project as an easy way to save a chunk of money.
Despite this, it may not always be the best solution. A project manager has a whole host of responsibilities to juggle throughout the build.
What does a building project manager do?
Quite simply, a project manager is in charge of the whole site and build. Their main roles are to:
- Ensure there is a time schedule in place. A project manager must make sure that all tasks get completed in an efficient time frame and to schedule.
- Manage the budget. Making sure unexpected costs along the way are managed and controlled.
- Be responsible for everyone on site. Making sure they are doing their jobs and they know the deadlines they are expected to meet.
- Liaise with all others involved in the build. Including suppliers and trades people. They should also work closely with the architect to ensure the build goes according to plan.
Other roles that fall under the umbrella of the project manager include keeping the site tidy, stacking and storing materials, site security, taking deliveries and temporary weather proofing. These are tasks that many people may fail to consider as part of the role.
So, what exactly are the benefits of hiring a Project Manager over taking on the role yourself?
1. Save yourself time.
Managing a building project is very time consuming. Progress on a build is being made all day every day. You would be wrong to think you can pop over to site for half an hour a day to make sure everything is running smoothly. A whole host of things could go wrong at any given time. Therefore, a project manager needs to be on site ensuring everything is running smoothly.
Taking charge of the project management should not be taken lightly. Trying to balance overseeing the construction work along with your job, family life and social life is a real struggle. You could become completely consumed by project management.
Hiring a project manager will enable you to enjoy the building process AND have a life outside of it. Who can argue with the benefit of that?
2. Project Managing is their job.
It may seem a silly thing to say, but it’s a very valid point. A project manager is drawing on years of invaluable experience. They have the ability to balance the management of trades people on site whilst overseeing the budget and keeping to schedule.
There is only so much you can teach yourself from books and online articles. Getting a professional in, with these years of experience, makes sense.
Pro problem solvers
Say a problem crops up. A professional project manager is likely to be able to solve it in a quick minute. Whereas it could have taken you hours, or even days to work out the answer.
Being a great problem solver is a valuable skill on a build. The added experience also allows them to spot potential problems before they become a major issue. In addition, they will be able to pull on their resources to ensure problems are fixed quickly. Getting the right people on site exactly when they’re needed.
Sometimes, the client is the cause of a problem. A lot of the time delays, changes and additional costs come from you, the client. With a professional on board, your expectations can be managed, and changes can be implemented as smoothly as possible.
Any bumps along the way usually amount to wasted time and additional cost.
A whole host of technical knowledge
Another benefit of hiring a professional building project manager is they will have technical knowledge. This will prove to be useful should contractors and suppliers need to know specifics of a particular element of the build. It could be the thickness of screed required or whether a replacement would be suitable for an out of stock item.
Confidence of buying the correct materials
When you hire a sub-contractor, you are usually hiring their labour only. This means as a project manager you would be responsible for ordering the correct materials in the right quantities at the most suitable time.
This in itself can be incredibly stressful. Without the materials on site, the whole project will be held up. Would you have the confidence to co-ordinate the ordering and deliveries?
3. Established relationships with trustworthy trades people.
Every element of a build often needs a different sub-contractor: builders, electricians, carpenters, plasterers, window fitters.
A project manager will come armed with a list of trades people. They will be reputable and skilled. It’s likely they have already worked with these trades people multiple times before. They will have built up a relationship. This is an advantage as the trades people are likely to be able to make themselves available as and when they are needed.
It could save you hours of research and potentially the misfortune of hiring a cowboy trades person.
Managing multiple sub-contractors at once
One of the most difficult roles that a project manager takes on is ensuring that the right trades are on site at the right time. There’s no use having plasterers booked for the same day that the electricians are in.
Co-ordinating this is second nature to a professional project manager.
4. Save yourself unnecessary stress.
Ultimately, some people just aren’t suited to managing a build project. If you’re not used to managing a team it could be a bit of a daunting task. You need to be extremely organised and focused. It also helps to be available to jump on, and deal with, any development as soon as possible. Otherwise the build time and budget will spiral out of control.
There can often be problems that occur and cause conflict. How would you handle the situation? Project managers are used to dealing with unhappy or irrational trades people so can easily deal with any conflict.
What about if you feel like the progress isn’t moving as quickly as you expect it to. Would you have the gumption to hurry up the builders? Keeping a project to time and dealing with unexpected situations can make project managing your own build extremely stressful.
Emotions can get the better of some
A building or renovation project is a very personal thing. You have probably been planning and saving for a while. So, when things start to go wrong emotions can bubble over. This adds to your stress and can strain the relationship with your sub-contractors. Hiring a project manager keeps emotions out of the project, ensuring the build continues through thick and thin.
Health and safety
Health and Safety is a big responsibility. It’s the job of a Project Manager to deal with any health and safety requirement on site. With multiple people coming on and off site regularly, people working at height, operating heavy machinery, negotiating trip hazards, exposed wires…it’s a big job! And a really important one at that.
Would you have the confidence to know the safety of all those people is in your hands?
Hiring a project manager may seem like a big expense. Especially if you are on a tight budget. But the money, time and stress you could save along the way will far make up for it.
Here at J S Building Services, we offer a project management service. We will oversee the schedule of your build, keep the project on budget, find the right contractors (many of them our in-house team), communicate with professionals and remove the stress so you can sit back and enjoy the process.
We have over 25 years of experience in the building industry. Any issue that could arise, you can be sure we have probably dealt with it before!
Get in touch today if you have a project you would like help managing.