There are so many facets to a construction project. There is the scope of the project, the quality, the safety, the schedule, and of course the cost.
For small projects, like a single house, it is not unrealistic to just hire a general contractor to coordinate and execute the construction. But larger projects often require the services of a professional construction management company.
The advantages to the owner are numerous. But before we answer the question of why you would benefit from construction management, let’s define it.
According to the Construction Management Association of America (CMMA), “Construction management is a professional service that provides a project’s owner with effective management of the project’s schedule, cost, quality, safety, scope, and function.”
“Construction Management is only one of the many services LaRosa Groups provides. As general contractors, we have seen firsthand the benefit of having a construction manager in addition to the contractor,” explained James LaRosa, CEO, LaRosa Groups.
Here are the top five advantages:
Advantage #1: Serve as the owner’s point person
Most construction projects, whether residential housing projects or large commercial ones involve at least three different constituent groups:
The owner, AKA the ultimate decision maker, who is funding the project.
The architect/engineer who designs and plans the project, helps the owner comply with local ordinances and building codes, and explores opportunities to improve energy efficiency.
The general contractor who is in charge of managing all the subcontractors, meeting with inspectors, and overseeing the day-to-day operations for quality and code compliance.
But who oversees the architect/engineer and general contractor? Most owners do not have the time, interest, or expertise to monitor the overall project, and deal with unexpected challenges.
Therein lies the role of the construction manager whose primary role is to be the point person for the owner, manage all the constituent groups, and deal with the expected and unexpected challenges. As the owner’s representative, the construction manager educates, advocates, and leads the owner objectively through the design, construction, and completion of the project while protecting the best interests of the owner. The focus of the construction manager is to manage the communication flow and track the project timeline so the project is delivered on schedule and on budget.
Advantage #2: Save money and deliver value
There are four basic phases to construction: planning, preconstruction, construction, and postconstruction (or project closeout). In our experience, most of the opportunities to save money on a project can be identified during the first two stages of construction when the framework and scale of the project are established and the budget is created.
This is where the professional construction manager can make the greatest financial impact. The earlier in the project the construction manager is retained, the greater the benefits. The design, structure, and scope decision all have monetary implications which can be researched and evaluated to meet the owner’s budget and the schedule for the project completion. A construction manager has the expertise and the training to objectively balance the owner’s needs with the budget and suggest design options that will match the quality of the project.
As construction managers, we have been able to reduce the overall cost of the project through our experience in contract negotiations, competitive bidding, and elimination of duplicate costs.
“We don't bring problems to our clients, we bring solutions,” said Michael Anderson, Director of Operations, LaRosa Groups. “Every decision we make is doing what is best for the client. It’s what we’ve always done and that’s why our projects are successful.”
Advantage #3: Enhance communication and coordination
In a recent project, our client was the Hamden Economic Development Corporation (HEDC). But we were also tasked with working with 100 homeowners in a fully-occupied-phased renovation project.
“Coordination with government agencies is always challenging. Add in coordinating with the owners of 100 privately-owned homes intensifies the need for an experienced construction manager,” shared James.
The key to coordination is having centralized communication. As the owner’s point person, the project manager can act as a liaison and create an environment of collaboration between all the constituent players and seamlessly coordinate all the moving parts.
As an added bonus, a construction manager is trained to be a master team builder and communicator. Through regularly planned meetings and project updates, the manager can integrate schedules, update all team members about project progress and negotiate contracts so all team members stay on budget and on schedule, with the objective of completing the goals of the project.
As for the Hamden project, thanks to the efforts of the construction manager, both the owner and homeowners are happy, though the construction is still ongoing through 2023.
“This is no small feat. With so many homeowners in a project like this one, we have to coordinate with the client and make the homeowners happy at the same time,” explained Kyma Ganzer, Pre-Construction Manager, LaRosa Groups.
Advantage #4: Coordinate scheduling to maximize productivity
The concept of scheduling may seem simplistic. But the pandemic was anything but simplistic and an important reminder of the role scheduling can play in keeping a project on budget and maximizing productivity even under the most adverse circumstances.
In fact, we implemented this four-step plan in an award-winning project we completed in Windsor during the pandemic. Here are the scheduling steps that we found to be most effective:
Step1: Create a master schedule.
Step 2: Meet with key subcontractors to discuss the schedule logic and duration.
Step 3: Provide weekly and biweekly updates to all the subcontractors and the owner. This regularly-scheduled communication allows for instant feedback, so we can anticipate and plan ahead.
Step 4: Readjust the schedule based on the feedback.
An experienced construction manager understands how subcontractor communication can promote productivity and keep everyone on schedule. And staying on schedule is a key factor in maintaining the bottom line.
In fact, thanks to the scheduling skills of the construction manager, the award-winning project was completed four months ahead of schedule and under budget.
Advantage #5: Add an advanced level of professionalism
Professional construction managers generally have a relevant four-year bachelor’s degree and many years of actual experience working on construction sites. This often translates into the ability of the manager to advise the owner on selecting, hiring, and retaining the best subs and other team members, and manage them in a way that promotes their best work.
Professional construction managers have the technical expertise, industry knowledge and years of experience, all of which are needed to navigate challenges, provide quality control, and protect the owner from unnecessary liability.
“LaRosa Building Group and the project team successfully conquered the challenges of phasing, scheduling, and careful coordination in the redevelopment of this 100% occupied residential community. The residents now enjoy updated living spaces, energy efficient mechanicals and new community areas from a project delivered on-time and on-budget."
Moshe Eichler, President Capital Realty Group - Country Village Project
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