The Role of a Project Manager When Building a Home


Team meeting imageEvery new-build needs a project manager. The role of a project manager when building a home is to take charge of the project from the very beginning to the very end and ensure that everything happens as planned and within budget. You can either take on this role yourself with your self-build, or hire a professional to take up the strain.

At the very start of a project the project manager must choose the right designer, architect and builder to work with. Communication is key to project managing, so it helps to get everyone who will be involved together at the start and discuss the expectations from the project and work out a communication strategy.

The project manager will arrange the financing of the build at the beginning of the project. Knowing when you will have cash available is critical to keeping the project running smoothly. It’s no good having the finance if it’s tied up in bonds or as equity when you need to pay suppliers. At this stage it’s also the project manager’s job to sort out the legal aspects associated with the build and to ensure that everything will be in-line with the guidelines set by the council.

Once the finance and budget have been put in place the project manager has to work closely with the architect or designer to finalise the design of the home. This is a crucial stage as every detail will have to looked at closely and costed to make sure that everything will come in on budget and on time. If the project manager has been hired by the client, then the client has to fully understand what the plans mean and how the home will look and feel.

Once the initial set up, planning and budgeting has been completed, the build can begin and the role of a project manager changes. Choosing and hiring the right contractors for the build at the right time and choosing the right suppliers is a major part of the job. Materials have to turn up on time, as do the tradesmen; the last thing you want are plasterers on site but with no walls ready for them! This involves a lot of background research to find reputable organisations and getting quotes.

As the build progresses the project manager has to be responsible for coordination and communication. No matter how well the planning went things will go wrong, get delayed and plans will need to be tweaked. The project manager must deal with all the mishaps and hiccups and keep the build running smoothly. For this the project manager must be highly organised and be aware of exactly what’s happening with the build and what implications any delays have on future plans and budgets. Any changes need to be communicated to all the relevant parties.

When sections of the build are completed the project manager is ultimately responsible for the quality of the work. The project manager’s role is to check for anything that falls below standard, or anything that hasn’t been completed to the correct specification, and arrange for it to be fixed while it still can. The project manager may have to get good at tough negotiating with contractors who provide a sub-standard service, or suppliers that don’t deliver the advertised goods.

Keeping track of the finance throughout the building process, paying suppliers and contractors on time and keeping up with the cash flow is the job of the project manager. Forgetting to pay a third party will lead to delays and extra costs and an unhappy workforce. Paperwork has to be managed effectively so no VAT is paid needlessly and warranties and guarantees are adhered to.

Towards the end of the build, the project manager must sign everything off, check that the build is in-line with all the regulations set out at the start and make sure that all the loose ends are tied up, including final payments and the financing.

Throughout this whole process the project manager must be organised, methodical and confident in the decision making process. It helps a lot if the project manager acts as a leader and is calm and approachable. If subcontractors don’t feel like they can voice any concerns with the project manager then the build could run into trouble. But as well as that the project manager must be a tough negotiator to keep costs low and quality high.

Builders such as K.J. Hill may be in a position to take on the role of project management as well as all the other building functions of groundworks, brick laying, services, floor screeding, roofing, dry lining/plastering, electrics, plumbing, decorating and so on.


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