If you’re planning a construction project for your residential or commercial property, you should seriously consider hiring someone to handle the construction management. While this may seem like a simple decision, the construction management partner you choose is just as important as the construction team you hire to complete the work.
The construction management team can make or break your project before you even break ground. As such, it is important to do a little research before you make a final hiring decision. Here are a few things to look for as you interview potential construction management firms and compare their services.
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Years of Construction Management Experience
One of the first things you should find out about a potential construction management partner is their experience in the industry. Construction projects almost always have unforeseen issues. The more construction projects a company or individual has managed, the more issues they’ve likely experienced. Consequently, their skill set likely includes higher level problem-solving capabilities and lessons-learned wisdom. A relatively new construction manager may be less likely to anticipate problems and quickly find solutions.
It is also important to ensure the construction management company you hire has direct experience with the type of construction project you’re planning. A construction manager with experience in the construction of commercial buildings, may not be the right fit for a residential construction job, regardless of their years of experience. One of the best ways to determine a construction manager’s job performance is by looking at their past work, so take the time to reach out to their references.
Construction Management Budget & Schedule
One of the jobs of the construction manager is to help plan the budget for the project and then ensure that the project stays on track. As such, the right construction management team will consistently monitor the budget throughout the project’s lifecycle, providing regular budget updates and informing you of any potential issues ahead of time. They will also work to limit unnecessary costs like damage to materials or labor overages resulting from scheduling issues.
As with years of experience, often, the higher value of construction management budgets handled throughout the years is a good indicator of a competent and trustworthy team. When a construction manager can keep a more expensive project within budget, the more likely he/she will be able to manage the minutiae of a project with a smaller budget.
Something else a construction manager needs to manage is the construction schedule. When construction doesn’t run according to schedule, it almost invariably fails to stay on budget — and delays can transform into added expenses in unexpected ways. Consider what can happen if a manager doesn’t pay invoices in a timely matter, which can lead to delay claims by contractors, as well as scheduling delays. Similarly, failing to implement change orders promptly increases inefficiency, introduces slack into the schedule, leads to contractor confusion and invariably increases costs. Having a manger who can keep all of the disparate parts of a construction project operating efficiently and on time is vital.
Your Construction Management Team’s Personality
Although personality may be the last thing you think about when selecting a construction manager, it is actually very important. Most construction projects last for long periods, so if you and your construction manager have clashing personalities, it can make for a challenging experience, no matter how qualified the construction manager is. Before you hire a construction management team, make sure both parties are on the same page regarding communication so that you can minimize any issues tied to expectations as easily and quickly as possible.
GNP Realty Keeps General Contracting In-House
Part of how GNP Realty keeps construction running smoothly is by keeping our general contracting in-house. We consider this a key element of our construction management expertise. By building and acting as our own general contractor and doing the same for others, we understand the leadership and management challenges involved with being a construction manager, as well as serving as a general contractor in executing the work. That valuable, vertically integrated element provides numerous benefits, including:
- Applying local market knowledge and construction developments as part of the project’s oversight and quality assurance
- Leveraging general contracting experience and expertise to plan and implement client goals
- Effectively hiring contractors and negotiating contracts
- Providing financial review, approval, and oversight services
- Leveraging established relationships with local political and governmental departments and agencies
- Applying value-engineering practices to the plans and projections developed by the project team
- Reviewing all plans throughout every phase of the project
- Participating in all planning and on-site construction meetings
By keeping our general contracting in-house, we can promise your project will be executed with unparalleled excellence and efficiency.
Other Important Considerations When Hiring a Chicago Construction Management Firm
If you already have a property manager or real estate partner, you may already have access to the best person for the job. Many property management companies, such as GNP Realty, offer construction management services, which allow you to streamline your project and save you the extra cost of hiring a new company. In addition, since you already know how you work together you can avoid any personality clashes that could setback or derail your project. Consider these factors when hiring a construction management firm:
Safety is paramount in the construction industry, and a construction management firm’s safety record is critical to operational reliability and efficiency. When assessing a firm’s safety record, look for any history of accidents or safety violations. A firm with a clean safety record prioritizes its workers’ wellbeing and adheres to necessary safety regulations. The construction manager should also be proactive in ensuring that safety protocols are followed at all sites and can implement effective emergency response procedures.
Effective cost management is a crucial quality to look for in a construction management firm. They should demonstrate the ability to accurately forecast project costs, ensure cost-efficiency and minimize cost overruns while delivering quality work. This includes managing suppliers, sub-contractors and other direct and indirect costs. Moreover, they should be transparent about their cost control methodologies and provide regular updates on budget performance.
Quality control measures
Quality control measures are a fundamental aspect of any construction project. A reliable firm will have established and robust quality control processes to ensure the construction work meets or exceeds the project’s specifications and standards. This can range from systematic inspection and testing procedures for materials and workmanship to effective collaboration and communication processes among the team. To ensure project compliance, they should also be well-versed with local building codes and industry standards.
Ability to meet deadlines
Timely project completion is a significant factor in the construction industry. Delays can have costly repercussions, so hiring a firm with a solid track record of meeting project timelines is crucial. They should demonstrate excellent planning, scheduling, and project management skills. Moreover, their approach should be flexible enough to adjust to unexpected changes or delays while minimizing any potential impact on the overall project timeline.
Reputation and references
Lastly, a firm’s reputation and references are important indicators of its reliability and professional integrity. Look for positive reviews and testimonials, awards or recognitions in the industry and a strong presence in the community. Furthermore, a reputable firm should readily provide references from past clients. Speaking with these clients can give you valuable insights into the firm’s performance, professionalism and ability to handle projects similar to yours.
Remember, the construction management firm you hire can make or break your project. While this process may seem daunting, considering these aspects will help guide your selection process and, ultimately, contribute to the successful completion of your construction project.
Construction Management Success Story: GNP Realty and NAR Development Project
In 2018, GNP Realty began renovating the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) building at 430 N. Michigan. NAR is America’s largest trade association, with 1.4 million members. This $70 million partnership with One Development, the development and design branch of GNP Realty, was to vertically expand and completely redevelop the building at the south end of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The original 12-story, 60-year-old building is completely renovated and redesigned to accommodate the highest security and tenant wellbeing standards. Follow the building’s progress from the announcement to key stages of completion:
- Glass Conference Center built on Magnificent Mile Building – GNP Realty Partners
- Reimagination and Redesign of High-profile World-class Plaza – GNP Realty Partners
- $70 million Re-development of Downtown Office Building – GNP Realty Partners
GNP Realty’s in-house family of diversified companies provides our clients with full-service strategy and hands-on support for all your real estate needs. From brokerage and management to construction and maintenance, we tailor our commercial and residential services to help you achieve your goals as a property owner or investor.