Time was, when you had a big construction or renovation job, you hired a general contractor, and if the job was big enough, that contractor hired subcontractors.
But in recent decades, a new player has entered into the process, helping with not just individual projects, but building-wide and multi-building jobs: the construction manager. The “CM” as he or she is often known, takes pressure off owners and managers by overseeing the job and coordinating between contractors, HOA administrators, and sometimes even residents. The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), a nationwide organization headquartered in McLean, Virginia, outlines a construction manager’s responsibilities to include project management planning, cost management, safety management, contract administration, and quality control.
What They Do
These functions of a construction or project manager can be further broken down to include developing and directing a formal construction management plan, organizing and leading a project team, developing project budgets and cash flow, reviewing design documents, keeping abreast of related legislation and workers’ compensation law, and monitoring workers' compliance with job site protocols.
"This is the point person who deals with project and representing the owner," says Luis Menendez, CCE, CCM, PMP, president of Trigon Construction Management, Inc., in Upper Montclair. "The construction manager is an agent of the owner and is someone who has the background and expertise to manage the construction process. They can come from any discipline, including architecture, engineering or something completely outside the two."
"There are a lot of different uses of the term project or construction management," says John Colagrande, vice president of engineering for The Whitman Companies in East Brunswick. "The terms are often used interchangeably. A construction or project manager is hired to oversee exterior renovation, coordinate with contractors, facilitate local permitting, and review change orders on behalf of a client. A lot of times, a board does not have anyone who is competent in that area of work or who has the time to do it, so it's in your best interest to hire someone to represent you with the contractor," he says. "This is your representative at the construction site. Most construction managers have spent a lot of time doing construction work and have a background in it. They are able to share their experience and knowledge with their clients."