Construction Manager

By Ken Thomson

Every construction project has an individual who plans, organizes, directs and controls the construction process. That individual is the Construction Manager.

Construction is a process no matter what segment of the construction industry. Though each segment has is own specialties, vendors, and vocabulary, the process remains fundamentally the same. These segments are residential, commercial, industrial, heavy civil and environmental.

In all cases, the Construction Manager is the responsible party for delivering the construction element of a project, on time, on budget and in compliance with the plans and specifications and the satisfaction of the local building departments.

There are three key roles in any construction project; the owner, the designer, and the contractor. Each plays an important role in the delivery of a project. The more complex the project, the more critical each member plays in a successful delivery.

There are different methods or processes to deliver a construction project. These include traditional Design, Bid, Build, Design Build, Construction Manager or a variation of one of these methods. All delivery processes have their positives and negatives to them.

As with the delivery, anything that includes a promise to perform, at some point the parties need to come together with a common set of goals. What is going to built? How much is it going to cost? How long will it take? What are the quality controls procedures? How will we administer the project in process, including conflict resolution steps?
What is the Safety and Health plan for the project? What are the payment measures utilized to ensure prompt and accurate payments to all vendors and subcontractors?

The construction manager's involvement in the early stages increases the value of the contribution to the project. The expertise provided by the Construction Manager will assist the designers on a number of fronts including cost evaluations. As design solutions are being developed, designers have an outlet they can review constructability issues in early stages, when adjustments to the plans are easily and economically made. Actual cost comparisons can be performed and the "what about this" questions the owner will have in this process. Life cycle assessments of different products and systems can give owners specific data for decisions that owners make in the course of the project.

As designers prepare preliminary or concept plans, the Construction Manager is preparing project budgets, project schedules, site-specific safety plans and administration protocols. The CM's role early on in a project, is to assist with value to the design documents, establishing a project momentum, creating and maintaining clear communications for the whole team. The owner and designer can, at the same time, develop confidence in the Construction Managers ability to deliver the project.

The ability of this team to work together is very critical, regardless of the size or complexity of a project. Every project will have its challenges. Usually the resolution of these problems will include contractor, designer and owner input. If all the parties know the expectations and intent of the project, the conflicts will be addressed in the owners best interest, with the expected quality and at the lowest possible level.

As contractors, we expect the owner to bring a viable project, funding and decision making to the table. We expect the designers (whether they are architects or engineers depending on the type of project) to design the improvements with all the needed details and in full compliance with local and national building codes and when construction starts, to be apart of the construction process to provide clarifications of their design as needed.

The owners and designers have a right to expect the Construction Manager to take all the information and plans and provide leadership throughout the construction process, keeping the project on schedule and on budget, administering the project effectively, and keeping all parties informed of progress and issues.

The Construction Manager provides strategic planning for the entire project, assisting the owner as needed to put definition to a projects depth and scope early in the process. Next, providing value and constructability feedback to the design team at the appropriate times. Then implementing the construction phase with momentum, with quality and ensuring everyone is kept informed along the way.

The project could be a new ground-up facilities or renovations to existing facilities. Regardless of the scope, the principles will remain the same.

Facility Builders & Erectors, Inc. works with owners, architects and engineers ever day. The preferred method of building for us is being a part of the project early enough to understand the project objectives as the owner sees fit and then apply our skills to ensure those objectives and expectations are met. Got a project in mind? Give Facility Builders & Erectors, Inc. a call and see what the FB and E team can do for you.