Construction managers are professionals engaged by the owner of a construction project to act as their liaison through all phases of construction. In the case of building construction, the construction manager would oversee all phases of the project, including permitting, sitework and prep, building construction and finishing.
Why a Construction Manager?
The primary role of a construction manager (CM) is to act as a representative and advocate for the building owner.
End-to-End Construction Management
Unlike general contractors, who enter a project after the building plans are drawn and approved, a construction manager is part of a project from conception to completion. This gives the building owner two advantages in the early stages of the project:
- Value engineering – the construction manager will work with the owner’s design team to suggest construction methods and materials that will reduce the project’s cost and improve overall quality.
- Time savings – with no need to shop the plans to various contractors and receive bids, the owner of a construction management job saves weeks of time
Construction management at this phase benefits all owners, regardless of their experience with construction. Novices will receive guidance and advice needed to avoid pitfalls later on. Experienced owners will eliminate hassles by delegating day-to-day management and hassles to the CM to handle on their behalf.
Benefits of Construction Managers During Pre-Construction
During the pre-construction process, the concept of “constructability” is vital. In short – is it possible to build what you want, the way you want it, in the location you want, and with your budget? How exactly will the finished product look? What obstacles are likely to crop up? How will you handle them?
The construction manager will answer all these questions and more. The manager will help the owner determine the size and shape of the finished building, as well as what systems are needed (HVAC, conveyors, etc.) to achieve the desired results. Owners and construction managers will collaborate to determine a feasible timetable and milestones before construction begins.
The construction manager will also hire subcontractors and crews for construction. Using their industry expertise and connections, the CM will secure crews for every aspect of the job.
The Role of a Construction Manager During Construction
Most job owners are unwilling or unable to be on the jobsite on a daily basis. The construction manager will serve as the owner’s eyes and ears and provide a full report on an agreed-upon schedule.
During construction, the CM will handle or delegate many of the daily hassles of construction – including renting equipment, filing permits, notifying everyone on the jobsite of changes to the plan or schedule, and periodic inspections. Having this representative on site will provide the project owner with peace of mind throughout construction.
Having a construction manager onsite will save the building owner time and stress when the inevitable unexpected happens. It is indeed a rare construction project where everything proceeds as planned. The construction manager will handle issues related to weather delays, permitting, problems with subcontractors and the like.
Construction Managers Post-Construction
The Construction Manager stays on the project until all aspects of the job are completed – including filing paperwork, cleaning up, returning rented equipment and ensuring outstanding invoices are paid correctly.
At the end of the project, the Construction Manager will turn the keys over to the building owner and answer any questions about features or aspects of the project. If the building owner decides to expand or make changes to the building in the future, the Construction Manager will have a deep knowledge of the project and provide similar services for the expansion.
Construction Managers and Safety
The first priority on any construction site has to be safety. That is the first priority for the construction manager as well. The Construction Manager will work to protect the reputation of the job owner and the safety of workers and visitors on the jobsite by ensuring every step of the process uses best safety practices.
The Construction Manager will ensure jobsite safety by:
- Enforcing agreed-upon safety standards (such as OSHA) throughout the process
- Making the final call when weather or other unforeseen conditions compromise jobsite safety
- Setting a realistic timeframe that allows all work to be completed safely and on time
Construction Management vs General Contractors
Most projects will require the services of a General Contractor or a Construction Manager – not both. While GC’s and CM’s perform similar services, there are a few key differences.
- General Contractors are engaged after the building plans are finalized. Construction Managers are on the job during the pre-construction and design process. Involving the CM earlier in the process reduces the amount of costly change orders needed during construction.
- Most GC’s realize a greater profit if the project comes in under budget. In extreme cases, this may result in the contractor cutting corners in order to make more money.
- Because CMs typically do not have a fixed staff or set of subcontractors, they are more geographically flexible and able to relocate or work on far-flung projects.
The Cost of a Construction Manager
Of course, one of the main concerns on any construction project is the budget. How will hiring a construction manager impact that budget?
Construction managers work with most types of project delivery, including design-build, construction management at work, traditional design-bid-build and P3. The construction manager’s fee will be determined based on the initial contract with the manager or their firm.
While the fee for construction management is on top of the actual costs of construction, many business owners will see an overall savings in project costs. The construction manager will handle negotiations and look for efficiencies during all phases of construction. And most owners will find the time savings an incredible added value to the project.
Legacy Building Solutions offers expanded construction management services as part of our full-service offerings. No matter where you are on your project, a construction manager can help. Contact us to learn more.