Content supplied by Vince Holden – Holden Management Services
What is a construction project manager? Can you do this yourself, or do you need to outsource it?
It is entirely possible that you are contemplating your own project management, however this is a task easily underestimated, requiring at least a basic understanding of construction methods. Equally important is having the knowledge to realise which professionals you need for which aspects of the build. So, this piece will help you work out if you have the right skills to take on the role.
The Project Manager;
Project management is the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives.
Or 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.
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.
What about site management?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.
Who will direct the day-to-day operations and how? If you aim to do it yourself, you need to have the following attributes:
- managerial skills and programme management know-how
- the ability to act quickly and calmly when problems occur and panic abounds
- the technical skill (or the knowledge of where to find it)
It’s good being prepared in advance, but to maintain a healthy project is going to require the use of all of the aforementioned skills in the continuous reassessment of progress.
The site manager should knit the contractors’ labour with the flow of materials. This keeps the whole project moving forward. The manager should be able to motivate the labour force and develop a team spirit to make best use of everyone’s talents and expertise. The manager must also be able to mediate between the various personalities in the team to ensure that friction is kept to a minimum. Managing a site is not about ordering people about and shouting, no matter how stressful the job may become, nor is it a place for pussy-footing around. A cool, calm head needs to be maintained at all times along with the ability to listen and certainly does not mean ignoring problems in the hope that they will go away.
Working with Tradesmen
You find the concept of building (or converting) your own dream home exciting. You have the plot, the funding, and the drawings, and dearly want to build using sub-contractors to keep the cost down. However, one of the biggest fears people have when embarking on the self build journey is how to deal with subbies.
Especially for first timers, the concept of spending most of the build at the whim of the plumber, bricky, or plasterer, with the programme torn up and the finished article rapidly retreating into the sunset, can make most good people contemplate pre-booking therapy sessions.
So this is where the right knowledge of Project Management comes in;
You do not need Einstienesque thinking powers, nor is construction an exact science that you need to master. What you do need, however, is a relatively strong working understanding of the procedures, appropriate choices, and knowledge requirements of the project.
There are tricks and there are also banana skins, but with the right information and guidance, you can develop the required skills.
The book – The Self-Builders Guide To Project Management provides you with practical advice and teaches you the necessary management skills, so that you can tackle your build process with your nerves intact.