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Project Manager- Your Design Team FAQ

“Project Manager” is a widely used term; it is also widely mis- understood in the context of the building industry. It is important to state that for a home renovation, you do not need a project manager if you have already employed an architect on a full- service basis. The administrative tasks you need are apportioned to the design team listed in the FAQ section, whenever a standard RIAI contract is used.

First time clients often ask us: “will you project manage the build?” The management of the physical work and the site operations is the province of the building contractor, architects instruct them with drawings and information, and inspect the work periodically.

What IS a Project Manager?

In the parlance of the broader business world, “project manager” basically means “person in charge”, but in construction it has more limited scope. In the construction industry there are specific third- level courses of study in building project management and the PM has a very specific skill- set and knowledge base within the project.The PM is usually an expert representative employed by the client to act as their point of contact with the design team.

In this environment, the vast complexity of a building project is broken down into zones of responsibility, and while a PM may be granted broad authority from a client, many forms of building contracts would prohibit a PM from directly instructing labourers onsite, or ordering materials from suppliers for payment through the building contract.

What a project manager can and cannot do is dictated by the types of contracts chosen to administer the building process. In most construction projects:

• The Project Manager, if appointed, is in charge of making sure various deadlines are met

• The main contractor is in charge of all physical operations on site including staff, security and safety

• The architect is in charge of design, construction information and compliance with the building regulations

• The engineer is in charge of anything related to the structure

Project managers can have broader authority on some commercial self- build projects where no main building contractor is used. The term “Project Manager” is sometimes used to describe a foreman or supervisor onsite who undertakes the work usually carried out by the main contractor, but who is paid as a direct employee of the client. (This is an unusual form of procurement which is cost- effective but is a bit too risky for first-time builders.)

If you are a home owner or small business you almost certainly do not need a project manager.

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