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What is a Project Manager in Construction?

What is a construction project manager? Can you do this yourself or do you need to outsource it?

This is a task easily underestimated, requiring at least a basic understanding of construction methods. But equally important is having the sense to realise that the majority of aspects involve professionals with many years of experience. The clever ones of you will know which professionals are needed and which are not.

The Project Manager

"Project management is the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives. A project is a unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits."

To put it simply: Project management entails making sure that the right person is in the right place, doing the right job, with the right materials, for the right cost, at the right time.

Here is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for my website, selling my services:

The project manager will need to work with anyone involved in the build. This will include Building Control officers, conservation officers, and any other environmental representatives. They will also need to interact constantly with the design team to deal with any design issues or alterations which may occur.

The management of a construction project needs a particular set of skills. The project manager will need to carry out their duties appropriately and with enthusiasm. They must be able to motivate and yet maintain discipline. They need a variety of technical skills to be able to solve any problems when they occur and to keep the whole project rolling forward.

Programme management is essential to the smooth running of any project during the construction period. It can be carried out remotely, as long as there is someone on site who can provide all the required information. It is only with keeping a wary eye on everything though, that the build will continue to run smoothly.

Unless you have many years’ experience in construction – both in the mechanics and the management – there will be elements where you will require knowledgeable help.

Whether its knowing how to actually navigate the pre-construction process, or understanding the mechanism of the build and the sub-contractors, you will need that knowledge.

Now, I am not trying to discourage you from taking up this role; my book – The Self-Builders Guide To Project Management is aimed at providing you with practical advice, but part of that advice is, know your limitations. There may be aspects that you can happily tick yourself and there may be ones that you cannot. A good manager will delegate certain parts but will at least understand what they are.

Hopefully, if you take the time to read this book, you will have filtered what you can do from what is beyond your capabilities. Or as an old friend of mine would say, ‘Make sure it’s your eyes that are wide open and not your mouth’!

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