A home construction project manager will have two different types of duties: 

  • Management of the work taking place on site
  • Administrative and financial duties

In this blog we will focus on the on-site work.

On site work management duties are varied and multi faceted

  1. The most important is to anticipate the work that is about to be done and think through the details. The construction project manager should be prepared for each phase of work that is done each day. To do this they must be planning in detail ahead of schedule.
    1. This sounds like a no brainer: the project manager should know the schedule, the contractors show up with their crew and execute the planned work. What could go wrong? While executing a construction schedule may sound easy it is really the crux of the skill possessed by a good home construction project manager. They not only need to plan out the scheduled work in detail but they also need to anticipate any and everything that could go wrong. By what can go wrong I mean:
      1. What details are there to be communicated to the person performing the work? For example when the electrician comes to do the rough wiring in the future kitchen:
        1. Is the drywall 1/2 inch or 5/8 of an inch thick. This affects how the electrical boxes, light cans are set.
        2. Is there an added thickness such as stone or tile backsplashes?
        3. What are the power requirements for the various appliances.
          1. 110 or 240 volts?
          2. Hard wired direct or plugged into an outlet box?
          3. Where on the cabinet or wall is the power box to be placed?
          4. Does the disposer have a wall switch or an air switch on the counter top?
      2. These are just the details to be communicated and followed up with just the electrician. A good project manager will have three or four different trades working at one time in the same space.  What can go wrong is if any of the above information is not properly transferred. Then there will have to be “remodeling” done later when cabinets and finishes are in place.  This is costly and causes delays.
    2. Which brings us to the next topic, which is smart scheduling. A good home construction project manager has alerted trades and workmen weeks in advance as to when they will be needed.
      1. A good project manager also has the site ready for each trade to be able to do their work.
        1. To follow up on the example of the electrician, a good project manager has completed the carpentry and framing prior to the electricians arriving on site. Nothing is more frustrating to subcontractors than when their crew arrives to a site as requested and they cannot work effectively.
      2. Materials: A good construction project manager has planned ahead of what materials will be needed each day and has them on site.
        1. If the site has a staging area, materials are ordered in bulk and delivered to the site by the supplier free of charge.
          1. Individual workmen stopping by the lumber yard each morning is a sign of lack of planning. (Unless there is no space on site for staging materials).
      3. A clean and safe work environment: If you cannot walk through the site without having to look down all the time in order to avoid tripping on debris and materials, this is a sign of poor site management. Not only is this unsafe and an injury waiting to happen, but it is also a significant time and efficiency loss.
Precision is Essential for a good construction project manager

It is important to have a skilled, and experienced project manager especially if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The tech industry has attracted moguls to Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and the peninsula who are looking to build the home of their dreams. While wild fires have initiated home rebuilding and remodeling in Napa Valley and Sonoma. So there are many home owners competing for services. If you can obtain a good Construction Project Manager or Home Owner’s Representative that is familiar with building in the Bay Area you can be rest assured they will get quality people on the job to help with your home rebuild. 

These are just some of the tasks a good project manager performs on a daily basis.  Next writing we will elaborate on the administrative duties, such as budget and change orders.