You may wish to be the project manager yourself. Ensure you have the time – it requires a lot and, ideally, the expertise.
The construction team comprise a myriad of people that need to be identified and engaged in order to provide the expertise and information required to successfully plan and deliver the project.
A building consent may be required before you can begin building works. So before your design ideas and plans can be put into construction, the plans and specifications have to be checked for compliance through a process of obtaining consent from the territorial authority.
A building consent is the formal approval granted by a building consent authority that building works meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Act, Building Regulations, and Building Code.
The Building Code is a complex and exacting rule book and the technical aspects of many components of the building process are important to get right. Restricted Building Work will need to be done by a Licensed Building Practitioner or at least supervised by one.
Questions you need to ask before you decide whether you need an independent project manager
Are You Prepared To Get Stuck In?
As project manager, you’ll be responsible for hiring contractors. However, one of the weaknesses of hiring trades to undertake the bulk of a building job is that there are many actions required that don’t fit easily into the standard contractor or subcontractor job descriptions. Tasks such as keeping the site tidy, stacking and storing materials, site security, taking in deliveries and temporary weatherproofing all fall on the project manager.
Anything that you’ve overlooked is unlikely to get done by anyone except you, so you rapidly find yourself building up a tool box of shovels, wheelbarrows, ladders and portable screwdrivers to fix those little in-between jobs to get the site ready for the next set of subcontractors.
It is here that the role of project manager gets conflated with that of being a site janitor, sometimes referred to as ‘management with a broom’. Be aware that running a building site requires lots of hours spent on site. If you can’t be there, then make sure that there is someone covering for you.
Do You Have A Handle On The Budget?
Have you developed a realistic budget? Decide early on what sort of finish you are going for: the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive is staggering and while we might all want the best, realistically we have to make a lot of sacrifices if we want to stay on a reasonable budget.
The budget must also include a realistic contingency sum at the outset, probably around 15% of your overall budget. A contingency sum may well be spent before the project has even got out of the ground, as this is an area where unpredictable extras are commonplace.
After this stage, the contingency is more manageable and, in general, the better managed the project is, the less likely the contingency sum is going to get used up on unexpected costs.
In such cases, you will almost certainly spend it by upping the specification of the finishes, something that is all too easy to do. Look at it as a reward for spending all that time managing the project.
Can You Manage The Neighbours?
It is well worth taking time out to chat to neighbours and explain what you are doing and when you plan to do it. They tend to be far more amenable if you can give them confidence that you are managing the process properly so that it will be as quick and painless as possible.
Sometimes a contentious planning application can sour the relationship before you even start on site and nothing you can do will make this better.
Depending on how near your neighbours are, you may have to parlay with a Party Wall, for instance, which sets out ground rules for the responsibilities on both sides of the fence, and puts forward a mechanism for resolving disputes accordingly.
Are You Organised?
Running a good to-do list is key to every successful project. Some miraculous people do this entirely in their heads, but most of us need to write it down in order not to overlook items. The to-do list needs to be updated frequently, and also to be acted on.
For instance, it is all very well noting down the date the bricklayers plan to start, but you have to keep the bricklayers in the loop by ringing them every so often and letting them know how your schedule looks. Communication with suppliers and subcontractors is vital.
Start a new worksheet every couple of weeks and copy the previous list onto it before editing it to reflect the changes that have taken place in the meantime. Writing the list down adds discipline to the whole process. The list itself is divided between immediate tasks and longer term goals, which include a schedule of works that may be many months ahead.
Are You Confident In Buying Materials?
Be aware that many subcontractors work on a labour-only basis and expect you to have purchased all the materials they need and for them to be ready on site at the scheduled hour. This is especially true of two of the critical trades — bricklayers and carpenters. You need to know both the quantities needed and to have an idea of what price you should be paying.
If you haven’t a clue, then this would be a useful moment to hire the services of a quantity surveyor who would create a bill of quantities with indicative prices. Also avail yourself of the local merchants and introduce them to the job you are undertaking. Organise credit facilities with several of them so that you can order without having to use a credit card every time you make a purchase.
So Can You Handle It?
So, essentially, the key questions comes down to the following,
- Are you able to spend time on site almost every day?
- Do you feel confident at the thought of hiring, firing and negotiating deals?
- Are you an expert at organising?
- Will you dedicate time to researching products, trades, prices and materials?
If the answer if no, than consider the option of hiring a professional project manager to help you deliver your project. You will realise that not only the cost of all your time on the project has been uplifted but your project would now be efficiently managed resulting in savings in both time and money.
Call us today for a free appraisal