In a world where privacy is hard to come by, your home is a space where you can relax, entertain, work, exercise, keep belongings, raise children and create lifelong memories. It’s also likely to be the most valuable asset you own. With so much at stake, dismantling and renovating your home needs careful planning. The complexity and risk of a building project is often underestimated. Of course, it is possible to manage a building project yourself, but there are multiple aspects to consider.
Fundamental elements are – design & specification, health safety, budgeting, compliance (planning, building control, license to alter, insurance) choice of builder/professional team, supplier agreements, scheduling, contracts and legal. If well prepared then delivery of the project should be smooth, focussed on quality, cost control, and problem-solving. The first and probably hardest decision to make is choosing the right professional for you.
Criteria for choosing a project manager:
Take a dispassionate stance and base your decision on two criteria, competence and personality. Competence is gauged by:
- Project history – are the projects relevant to yours?
- Request references – at least one must be recent.
- Financial health – ask for a set of accounts or go to company’s house.
- Insurance cover – do they have public, employee liability and professional indemnity? What value of protection do they have, and is it for the relevant services?
- Health & Safety policies and accident history – they must have these; any repetitive incidents will indicate competence.
- Personality – this is quite simple; do you get on? Projects are personal. You will be working with this team/individual for a length of time through a complicated process.
As a Project Management company, Huntsmore would always advise that you hire an independent client-side Project Manager. Here is why:
Can my project be managed by my architect/designer?
An architect/designer doesn’t build, and a builder doesn’t design. It’s taken years to develop these skill sets and knowledge; both are very different competencies. An architect’s or designer’s core responsibility is the design. Typically, the designers take a percentage of the construction value, therefore, design ambitions might impair consideration of time and money. With a busy design office to run, will they be onsite regularly and at the key moments to check nitty-gritty construction details?
Can my project be managed by my builder?
Build quality does motivate a good builder, nonetheless, they will not typically be looking for savings. Construction is labour intensive, and even the best builder can miss a detail and make mistakes. Also, patience will dwindle when their team is working at low capacity; this could be the result of client indecision, poor information from the design team or a shortage of materials.
Why choose an independent project manager
When the design and build responsibilities are separated, who is accountable for checking information and resolving discrepancies? It might seem cost-effective for the architect or contractor to act as a project manager or contract administrator, but how do they stay impartial?
An independent Project Manager will ensure you have someone in your corner, guiding you from design to completion. Whilst they aren’t designers or builders, they understand all aspects of the construction process. It is their role to check your builder and architects work, coordinate all the stakeholders, answer questions, tackle problems and look for savings.
An independent Project Manager’s role is to safeguard the client’s interest by:
- Creating a comprehensive tender pack for quotation
- Fulfilling the Contract Administrator role
- Controlling the budget throughout the build
- Advising and helping discharge your health & safety responsibilities
- Undertaking regular site visits each week to control quality
- Managing variations or issues arising
- Completing the snagging process and obtaining all warranties
Huntsmore are able to make fair judgements, but most importantly take responsibility and accountability for delivering the project on time and to budget, whilst safeguarding the client’s interests.