Construction Manager/Owner’s Representative

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Credibility and the availability of money are the two most important factors in current and future capital improvement plans. By credibility we mean that the project was needed, accounted for in a manner that everyone understood the cost, and that the project was completed on a timely basis meeting the scope of the proposed contract. By scope of the proposed contract we mean that the county received the quality of work for which they contracted. Therefore, when dealing with millions of dollars, it is advisable to hire a construction manager or supervisor to be an overseer and liaison to architects, contractors, and the county.

The construction manager also insures the quality of construction and helps in understanding the need for change orders and the process to get change orders approved. The construction manager should keep detailed notes of the construction process. Construction managers, engineering departments, and contractors often use Gantt Charts to reflect the timeline of projects. It is highly recommended that Gantt Charting be used in construction projects.  A Gantt chart is a bar chart depicting the beginning and end date of a project, all related major (and some minor) components of the project, and how those components may interface.  For example, a Gantt chart would show that excavation must take place before concrete forming and preparation for concrete pouring, but rough-in plumbing and rough-in electrical must also be completed before concrete pouring.  Each component would have start and finish dates.

An Owner’s Representative is an option in lieu of the use of a Construction Manager.  An Owner’s Representative is a person or firm who works with the county officials in some of the first steps in planning the project.  The Owner’s Representative becomes the county advocate for identifying the project characteristics and objectives, selecting and performing site analysis, preparing budgets and related budget controls, insuring proper procurement and identifying work scope and scheduling. If engaged at the beginning of a project, the Owner’s Representative can assist in insuring that contract documents are “owner friendly” and can focus on critical preconstruction activities.

The main players in construction management are the architects, contractors, planners, engineers, and the construction manager/owner’s representative. The construction manager/owner’s representative focuses attention and provides work assessment on the project at hand. He/she will also incorporate quality control and provide alternate configurations of design if needed. A construction manager can be a construction management firm, a government staff member, or an outside individual hired to help oversee the project and report the day to day activities to the appropriate government official(s). A county should consider a construction manager/owner’s representative when managing a capital improvement project.  The county should demand Gantt charts for large capital improvement projects from their construction manager/owner’s representative.

Recommended Practice: Have a Construction Manager/Owner’s Representative overseeing your capital projects.

Recommended Practice:  Gantt chart your capital projects.