Residential Building Project Management
What Do I Need To Know Before Starting A Self-Build Project?
When undertaking a self-build project there are a huge amount of things to consider and it can be a daunting prospect, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Project managing a build can be extremely time consuming, the aim is to avoid any unforeseen issues on site, and the best way to do that is to produce a thorough design and specification.
Design & Planning
If you decide to project manage the works yourself the first thing you will likely have to tackle will be the appointment of an architect to prepare a preliminary design for you, this will be the main body of what you submit to your local council for planning approval. Using a local architect with a good relationship with the council's planning department, and a proven track record is a great way to ensure you successfully make it over the first hurdle.
Once you have secured planning you will need to prepare a detailed design (unless you want to go down the design & build route) which will involve a structural engineer, and dependant on your needs, a mechanical & electrical engineer too. The different disciplines need to be overseen so that you have a coherent design that is coordinated and will work once on site.
How Best To Procure The Works?
You then need to decide what route of contracting you want to take, the two most popular are taking on a main contractor who will manage the whole job for you, or engaging with numerous trades and managing them all yourself. There is no one size fits all answer to this conundrum, both routes have their drawbacks so it's important to make the right decision.
Main contractors are ultimately driven by one thing, their bottom line; and unfortunately they have the upper hand on a self-builder, they understand the rules of the game! People can often find themselves out of their depth and costs and programme can quickly spiral out of control.
Managing numerous trades can be equally as taxing as it takes a lot of the project manager's time. You need to ensure each follow on trade is booked in at the right time, and has what he needs on site as soon as he starts, which is no easy task. Any delays from one trade to another are the self-builders problem, and progress can become very slow if at times non-existent.
Is There A Better Way?
As with all things, there is an alternative - hiring a professional project manager to oversee the project for you. Someone who has done it all before, recognises the pitfalls and avoids them ahead of time. Your project manager has your interests at heart as it's a fee based engagement, increased costs and delayed schedules mean more time spent by the project manager for the same fee, so costs your project manager money too.
Offering Private Clients Quality Service
Residential project management is largely an untapped resource, many clients are simply unaware that there are companies offering to independently manage their building projects.
A lot of client's only consider a project manager once they start to experience problems, while we would never turn down a request for help, it is often too late by this point and it becomes a damage limitation exercise. The earlier we are brought on board the greater an impact we can have.
As the clients project manager we are there to protect your best interests and have no ulterior motives. We are your representative, and everything we do is done with the aim of achieving the best outcome for you.
While architects are a vital part of a building project's team, they are not best placed to take an overarching management role as their main interest will be the integrity of the design; while this is a very positive trait, it can have a negative impact on costs and programme. A lot of builders also offer to provide project management services but there is an obvious conflict of interest in this particular route.
Looking to an independent project manager is a simple solution.
Building Project Management
No commercial building project is run nowadays without a project manager at the helm, however private clients undertaking residential building projects are largely unaware of the benefit available; we aim to deliver that benefit to our clients when taking on building projects in the residential sector.
Good Preparation Saves You Money
Perhaps the biggest cause for cost increase on building projects is the introduction of change once the works are on site. Once the contract is signed you are effectively tied to a single supplier, therefore if anything changes the cost will always be higher because your builder doesn't have to compete for the new elements of work - it is a captive market. For that reason it is extremely important to provide a robust brief to the builder, ensuring everything has been thought of before you go into contract.
When To Engage A Project Manager?
We can be involved in your building project as early or as late as you require, however early involvement, especially during the design phase, gives greater ability to deliver cost savings.