Protracted timelines and blown budgets are all-too-commonplace in the construction industry, especially in the case of large-scale projects with plenty of moving parts. So it’s important to have a skilled construction manager at the helm of these projects to promote efficiency and make sure the initial vision is brought to life on time and within budget.
Construction managers may seem to take on many of the same responsibilities as general contractors. Still, there are key differences between these two professionals. Read on to learn what a construction manager does, how they’re different from general contractors, and how they can benefit your next project.
Construction Manager: Defining the Role
Construction managers, or construction project managers, take on hundreds of responsibilities for every project. From planning to monitoring progress, construction managers act in the owner’s or developer’s best interest on a project from start to finish, ensuring everything proceeds according to plan.
What sets a construction manager apart from a general contractor? General contractors also specialize in keeping projects on schedule and within budget. Still, the primary difference between them and construction managers is their relationship with the project owner. General contractors bid for jobs, while construction managers usually work for a flat fee. Instead of paying a lump sum to a contractor, the project owner pays exactly what the project costs upon completion. Typically, it’s a more transparent and less competitive way to approach a project.
A More Streamlined and Efficient Construction Process
Construction managers are essential, especially for large projects. Not only do owners benefit from good construction managers—who work hard to turn their vision into reality—but all stakeholders involved in a project benefit, too.
Some of the benefits of having construction managers include:
- Enhanced efficiency. A good construction manager drives efficiency on every project. It’s not uncommon for construction jobs to go over budget or over the estimated timeline. Not only does this cost firms money, but it also can damage their reputation in the long term. Construction managers juggle all the moving parts involved with a project, ensuring each stakeholder finishes their portion on time to prevent delays. They consistently communicate with various stakeholders to make sure everyone’s operating as efficiently as possible for the project’s duration.
- Improved communication. Poor communication can derail any construction project, causing costly delays or—worse yet—a finished product that doesn’t match the original vision. Construction managers are adept at facilitating communication between various groups involved in a project. They can quickly spot areas where the flow of information is stagnant, preventing disputes and delays. They also work hard to ensure the project owner’s peace of mind throughout the entire process. They provide frequent status updates so stakeholders know the project is moving ahead within the agreed-upon budget and timeframe.
- Greater accountability. Construction managers provide greater accountability for all stakeholders involved in a project. They check invoices against completed work and find ways to address mistakes as quickly as possible. They also retain construction documents and pass them on to the owner after the project culminates. Should disputes arise in the future, owners have clear, concrete evidence to refer back to.
The Bottom Line: Construction Managers Facilitate Success
Skilled construction managers streamline the construction process and keep projects on time and on budget. While not every construction project requires the expertise of a construction manager, they’re essential for large-scale developments with several stakeholders. By overseeing all aspects of the construction process, they protect the interests of project owners from start to finish, ensuring the owners’ vision comes to life according to plan.