Owner’s Agent Project Management

R3 Retail Development > Project Management > Owner’s Agent Project Management

Are you about to embark on a new store construction project or a small or large remodel project?  Undertaking that kind of project can be daunting – so you are probably considering hiring a construction project manager or maybe utilizing your general contractor to manage the project.  Before you head too far down that path, here is some food for thought.

If you have ever tackled a construction project or talked with someone who has, you may be thinking that having a successful construction project is akin to a fairy tale, darn near impossible.  But with the right approach to construction project management, it can be made simple.

First, your ideal construction project manager will be experienced, independent and non-biased; solely representing and protecting your interests and your checkbook.  A construction project manager that is part of your architect or contractor’s staff may have conflicting priorities and unclear fiduciary responsibilities or they may be limited to just the design or just the construction phase of the project.  With an independent project manager, you get the full representation of your interests as the primary stakeholder throughout the project life cycle.

As a best practice, your construction project manager should be involved with your project from the start – during the concept development and pre-construction phases.  These two phases may be the most important for mitigating costly errors and overruns throughout the project.

The concept development phase starts with a review of your business. Your R3RD project manager will assist with reviewing your current business and marketing plans, brand platform and merchandising strategies.  Through these efforts and extensive market research, we will assist you with developing a strategic plan or validating the plan you have developed.

In the pre-construction phase, we perform a site selection analysis, develop the scope of the project, do a complete risk assessment and mitigation plan and establish a clear communications plan for the project.

The risk analysis, performed in pre-construction and repeated several times throughout the project, is one area that is frequently overlooked.  Traditionally you will see construction projects add a contingency budget for overruns and omissions.  The practice of adding 15% to a budget to cover anything that goes awry or that was omitted from the initial budget/plan is not really a risk assessment or mitigation at all.

The reason this contingency budget doesn’t hit the mark in most cases is that there is not typically a quantified probability for the risk or a confidence level for budget accuracy.  If you ever wondered why you took those statistic classes, this is a classic scenario where you can put those skills to work.  With an analytical approach, we can determine the impact of various risks on the project utilizing data for costs and schedule.  With that information, we can calculate a possible range of costs and time frame (schedule) for the entire project.  If you want to know how accurate your budget is, that is called the confidence level.  The more accurate guarantee of total budget cost and time that you want, a higher confidence level is required which in turn means you will need a higher contingency budget.

Throughout the construction phase, your project manager will repeat the risk assessment multiple times, working to identify risks, issues or delays, before they happen.  Regardless of how good the assessment and mitigation plans are; issues will arise.  That is where the experience factor of your construction project manager comes into play.

Since we know that issues will arise; it is important to understand what good Construction Project Management means when it comes to resolving issues.  You should expect your project manager to quickly identify the root cause of any issue, take corrective measures and revise the plan to ensure the issue is not repeated.

During the Construction phase, your construction project manager is instrumental in coordinating all team communications and providing oversight for all team members, including architecture and engineering, equipment specification and procurement, refrigeration engineering and construction documentation.  Oversight and supervision of the entire team mean that you do not have to worry about technical details or making sure everyone is on the same page.  Effective collaboration and communications keep your project on track for both time and budget.

Before you embark or your construction project, call R3 Retail Development to make sure your interests are fully protected.


About the author

Suzanne Ferguson is a leading program management and process expert with over 20 years’ experience successfully developing and implementing programs and systems across multiple industries. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Oregon University in Organizational Change and a Masters in Business Administration from Willamette University.