When it comes to a building project, whether an extension, renovation or new build, there are varying levels of involvement when it comes to the homeowner.

Some choose to remain hands off (and will pay a premium for this), while others will choose to build on a completely DIY basis. Somewhere in the middle is the homeowner acting as project manager.

Not for the faint of heart or the time-poor, successful project management requires numerous skills. Here are five things your subbies will expect you to know if your acting as project manager.

1) How to Manage a Building Site

As project manager, you are in charge of the build. You will expected to keep things running smoothly on site, so you will not only need to have a thorough understanding of the schedule for the project, you will also have to ensure that trades are on site when they need to be and that they have the materials and equipment they need to complete their tasks.

As any experienced project manager or builder will tell you, delays cost money, so if you want to stick to the budget, you need to stick to the schedule as best you can.

2) How to Buy Materials

As many subcontractors work on a labour-only basis, you will be expected to have purchased all the materials and have them ready on site when they are needed.

You not only need to understand the quantities you need, but also how much you should be paying for them. You will also need to shop around and ensure you are negotiating the best price for the materials you need (and understanding that you may not get these from the same merchant or supplier).

3) How to Lend a Hand (in the Right Way)

Acting as a project manager means that you will be required to spend a lot of time on site, not just in a managerial capacity, but also getting stuck in on those jobs that don’t fall under the remit of your subcontractors.

It might not be glamorous, but you may be required to get your hands dirty by:

  • tidying the site ready for the next day’s activities
  • taking deliveries
  • ensuring materials are stacked and stored properly and securely
  • You might even find yourself having to temporarily weatherproof aspects of the build so that you can stick to your schedule

4) How to Keep the Site Safe

Both site security and health and safety will fall to the project manager. As well as ensuring that you have all the necessary safety equipment for anyone working on your site, you will also need to provide toilet/washroom facilities, rest and canteen facilities as well as an on-site first aid box. You may also need to produce a Construction Phase Safety Plan.

5) How to Make Decisions

As a project manager, you will often be used as a sounding board for any issues, problems or conflicts that may arise on site and you need to be able to resolve them and keep the project running smoothly.

You will also be responsible for managing the people on your site so you need to feel confident hiring the best people for the job (and potentially firing those who aren’t up to scratch).

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