Archive for the ‘project manager’ category

10 Responsibilities of a Construction Manager

February 21st, 2015

At the helm of every hard hat project, from building a single family to an apartment building, is a construction project manager (CM). A CM has the primary responsibility of planning a particular construction job and overseeing its progress along the way.

10 Responsibilities of a Construction Manager. Connaughton Construction.

Plan the Work

Before the first nail is hammered, it is the Responsibility of a Construction Manager to plan the work the crew will do.

The CM looks over a proposed project to determine how and when the work will be performed, including prep work that must be completed before the building starts. A cost estimate is determines the price of the project. The CM then develops a deliverables schedule. This schedule is the road map the construction team must stick to in order to finish the job in a timely and cost-effective manner. And the construction manager must review the project in depth in order to be prepared to handle tasks that come up along the way.

Hire Subcontractors

On a construction site, the CM is the boss. “They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries,” legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells once famously said of his desire to be involved in choosing the players for his teams. For construction project managers, the sentiment holds true when it comes to selecting the right players to complete the job.

The construction manager is not only responsible for planning the work and making sure it gets done, but also supervising the hard hats who do it. That means coordinating and directing the efforts of construction workers. It also means hiring, disciplining and perhaps even firing those who step out of line. In other words, it’s the CM’s job to get the work done through other people.

Get Materials

The CM must obtain the right materials for the job and supplies — from nails to bulldozers — necessary to complete the project. Not to mention finding a place to store supplies and implement a method for tracking inventory. It’s important that the CM be thorough in this aspect of the job. Keeping costs within budget while ensuring that no time will be lost waiting on additional equipment or repairs once construction begins.

Set Goals

A construction CM may not be the one drilling holes, turning screws and hammering nails, but it’s his or her responsibility to make sure all of the work is done properly, on time and within the projected cost.

The CM typically sets specific project goals after the contract with the owner (client) is signed. The CM reviews the contractual conditions of performance – requirements and deliverables – to determine precisely the work that must be accomplished in order to satisfy the contract. He or she then determines cost and time goals as well as “micro-goals” for accomplishing different phases of the construction. Based on these goals, the CM sets out the number of workers and types of supplies and materials necessary to reach them.

Stay On Time

A particular job typically comes with a very specific set of objectives and constraints. The time in which it should be completed is a key goal. It is the responsibility of a Construction Manager to closely manage time. The construction contract often includes money penalties against the builder in the event the project runs late. Time, indeed, is money.

In order to meet an overall construction deadline, the CM must set a specific schedule with a number of deadlines for the various projects that must be completed. The CM  reviews the work on a daily basis to ensure that it’s timely progressing. If there’s a slow down – whether because of weather, an accident or simply a task that takes longer than expected – the CM must make changes to get the job back on track.

Stay Under Budget

The CM must keep money in mind while overseeing the work.

Before the work begins, the CM runs cost estimates – considering subcontractors, wages and materials – to help establish a budget. Cost-projection is a crucial aspect of construction management because it determines the parameters under which not only the work will be done, but also on which the project’s financial success will be determined.

Once the project begins, the CM must ensure his crew doesn’t overrun the budget. Thus, he or she oversees costs on a daily or at least weekly basis, comparing costs incurred to the estimates and limiting or eliminating costs as necessary to stay under budget.

Keep Client (and Boss) in the Loop

On a construction site, the CM may be the boss, but he serves two masters: the construction company that employs him and the client for whom a particular project is being built.

The CM is expected to keep both of these parties informed as to the ongoing process and any hiccups that come along across the way. This is typically done by preparing a variety of internal and external reports pertaining to job status, equipment, policies and procedures along with a host of other issues. If an issue arises that will cause the construction schedule to change, for example, the PM must inform the client of the situation, projecting how it is expected to affect timing and costs and specifying any planned adjustments to be made.

Proper Permitting

The Historic District of Boston has strict permitting guidelines. It takes an experienced and diligent team of architect and contractor to know the Back Bay Architectural Commission requirements. All exterior work (whether or not it is visible from a public way) requires the review of the Back Bay Architectural Commission.  A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work.

To keep a project moving, the Architect lays out the design and obtains the commission approval. The Construction Manager obtains the proper permits and keeps the project moving forward organizing many tradesman toward completion of the project.

Draft Contracts

The contract between the owner and builder typically spells out all the work to be done. It is therefore imperative that the CM be involved in drafting it and be closely familiar with the requirements in order to ensure that they’re met.

But this isn’t the only agreement that a CM must manage to make sure the project goes off without a hitch. There are also architects, materials suppliers and subcontractors (electricians, carpenters and heating and cooling professionals, for example) to be located and brought into the fold. The CM must monitor agreements with each of these parties covering the various pieces of the building project puzzle that they will complete.

Manage Risk

An essential component of troubleshooting is risk management; that is, limiting the amount of trouble that will need to be “shot.” A wide variety of factors present potential risk in a construction project: site conditions; design assumptions; public regulations; worker safety; and environmental concerns and regulation, to name a few. As a result of the increasing number of risks, owners have taken to sharing it by requiring that a builder be at least partially liable in the event of a loss due to these factors .

It is therefore the CM’s job to analyze risks going into the project so that both the builder and the client are aware of them and can reach a mutual agreement on how the risk will be shared. Once construction is underway, the CM must try to mitigate the risks by carefully selecting materials and equipment and closely monitoring the work being performed.

 10 Responsibilities of a Construction Manager

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Six Critical Decisions a Construction Manager helps you make

June 30th, 2014

There are so many decisions a home owner must make to get through a renovation project. This article narrows it down to six critical decisions a construction manager helps you make. Your custom builder will work with you and your Architect to get the job off to the right start.

If your project costs more than a few thousand dollars, it may be time to call in the professionals.

Six critical decisions a Construction Manager helps you make

  1. Lighting and electrical layout
  2. Selection of plumbing fixtures
  3. Appliance selections
  4. Selection of cabinets and any built-in cabinets
  5. Tile and stone selections
  6. Flooring selections

Lighting and electrical layout

Unless you’re an experienced electrician, it’s advisable to leave this part of the project to professionals. However, you should know your needs and be in on the planning of wiring and lighting installation. As with the functional design of the home living space, a good electrical plan begins with a diagram.

Home electrical wiring covers a lot of different things; the breaker box panel, home lighting, appliances and other high voltage electrical systems. Ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, and HVAC (heating, venting, and air-conditioning) systems need high voltage. It might include low voltage systems like phone systems, doorbells, computer networks and home security systems as part of the wiring process.

Your construction manager knows the local codes and requirements for the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside outlets. There will be code requirements about dedicated circuits, a minimum number of kitchen circuits, minimum of outlets on each wall, and many others that might seem overwhelming at first. Once it is all done though, you’ll really be glad you followed all the regulations. It makes for a better house.

Selection of plumbing fixtures

Building a home requires installing systems to deliver water and remove waste. Determining the size and type of pipes needed for the drain, waste and vent (DWV) system, and your local plumbing codes is critical to success of your new or renovation project. Each jurisdiction follows specific Uniform Plumbing Code requirements for pipe sizes, they may need additions or deletions to the code. Your contractor must calculate the correct plumbing waste line sizes required for your construction project. Connaughton Construction will gladly guide you through the best choices for your home and project. Six Critical Decisions a Construction Manager helps you make. 3. Select Plumbing and Fixtures

Once the plumbing behind the walls is determined, selecting the fixtures for kitchen and baths include toiletsfaucets, sinks, and showers. Connaughton Construction can recommend the latest in technologies and features for your home, while maintaining the style of your existing room.

Appliance selections

We help clients select appliances and sinks during the preliminary design phase, which often comes before selecting the rest of the finishes and fixtures. This is so the plans can reflect the proper sizes, which will in turn affect the cabinetry layout.

It’s also time to decide whether or not you want a prep sink in addition to your main sink. At this point, by the way, it’s fine if you decide to change from a 36-inch range to a cooktop and wall oven.

By the time you get to final construction documents or order cabinets, however, these decisions must be finalized. The nice thing is that there are now a few big decisions that you can check off your list.

The decision on how many pendants to use affects how many junction boxes you need on the ceiling — and that decision needs to be made before plans get approved for permits and before the contractor closes up the drywall after rough electrical is done.

This is why the professional you hire may focus you on figuring out the lighting plan before picking out the countertops.

Selection of cabinets and any built-in cabinets

Six Critical Decisions a Construction Manager helps you make: 4. Cabinets and Built-in CabinetsThe selection of cabinets starts with the style – maybe classic, modernist, or old world charm – you envision in the appearance you want to portray in the room.

Rather than picking the cabinet wood species and finish color by itself, and then picking countertops and tile, I like to have my clients work on an overall palette of materials at the same time. Layer the materials and create collages of patterns, textures and colors to see what works best together.

Tile and stone selections

Order current samples of the materials you’re considering. Get a door sample with your style and finish for final approval. Make sure you go to the stone supplier and view and tag the actual slab of marble for your countertops, and make sure to order a current control sample of tile for your backsplash. All these extra steps will cut down on costly mistakes.

Decorative tile in the kitchen is a great way to express your personality and style, but proportion and scale are critical. Tile is a pretty permanent decision; once it’s up, it’s expensive to change. You or your designer should do color studies and pattern studies, and look at them alongside photos and samples to be absolutely sure you’re making the right choices.

Flooring selections

Matching the floor stain color is one of the most challenging phases of a project. If you’ve got original floors and plan to refinish just the kitchen — or are laying new wood floors to match the old for continuity — don’t expect a perfect match. Many floors in old homes are made of old-growth wood, and flooring is manufactured differently now. The natural patina of an old floor also is nearly impossible to match. Companies offering reclaimed wood floors can make that matching process easier.

In Summary

A good rule of thumb is if your project costs more than a few thousand dollars, it may be time to call in a pro. A construction manager has access to planning tools and technology that most homeowners do not. They have the inside scoop on trends, new materials, building codes and technical quirks. And their remodeling expertise can save you a lot of time, money and frustration. Use our tips to help the process flow smoothly from start to finish. Be prepared to share with your architect and PM what you like and what you hope to change to give a firm place to start. Do your research. Stay Flexible. Know your budget. Settle on a timeline and a number of draft plans. Keep changes minimal.

Finally be patient. A good plan takes time to create, and so does bringing it to life. Putting in effort on the front end, from choosing finishes to thinking through the work zone, will pay off in the long run. And the last thing you want is a rushed construction job — no matter how anxious you are to put your new kitchen to work.

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