Protect your building project with outside construction management

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Around 3 p.m. on a random Wednesday this past February – in the middle of a typical post-lunch lull – firefighters were called to do battle at a KCK Wendy’s. The crew extinguished the blaze in less than an hour, but the damage to the neighborhood favorite had been done. The building was a total loss.

While he was a successful restauranteur (and burger master), Kirk Williams with Legacy Restaurant Group, the owner of this particular Wendy’s, nevertheless recognized the many balls he needed to juggle—and that he needed professional assistance to handle the rebuild so he could focus on everything else.

“I was having trouble keeping up with all the details of the variety of construction and development projects we had in front of us,” he said.

So, when the debris was cleared and it was time to rebuild, he looked for a construction manager to oversee the process. Williams is just one of many business owners realizing the value of turning over construction management duties to an expert so they can stay focused on the business and their own areas of expertise.

The Construction Management Association of America explains the service this way:

“CMs are uniquely qualified … to work with the owner, architect, general contractor, and other stakeholders to determine the best possible sequence of construction operations and develop a detailed schedule and budget, while also establishing plans for project safety and security and helping the owner manage risk.”

While a construction manager obviously brings industry best practices to your project and truly serves as an extension of your internal team, you may not realize three of the biggest areas where a third-party construction manager can benefit your project.

Protection and peace of mind

No, a construction manager may not be able to prevent an accidental kitchen fire, but they can serve as your advocate throughout the process, which means you’re also protected once the project is complete.

A good illustration of this: A friend of mine just finished building out a space and paying the contractor for the work. In his mind, everything was finished. Yet, only a couple months later, he was notified about a lien for nonpayment from one of the subcontractors who worked on the project—a sub the GC neglected to pay. The owner was left holding the bill and ended up paying for the work twice.

One role of the construction manager is to collect all the proper lien releases from the contractor and subcontractors prior to releasing final payment, and thus protecting the owner from scenarios like this. Further, construction managers review all invoices for accuracy throughout the project, comparing them against the contract language and even ensuring they’re organized and accessible electronically.

Finally, construction managers will also protect you with their deep knowledge of all applicable industry codes and standards, as well as municipal and state regulations.

Knowledge that goes beyond just construction

A construction project does not stop at concrete forms and floor joists. These builds include all sorts of financial processes and administrative tasks, as well as safety issues and coordination with various agencies and organizations—all of which may be outside the traditional GC wheelhouse.

And while these behind-the-scenes efforts may seem inconsequential and invisible from the physical construction, they nevertheless can be the reason behind a lot of wasted time and money if not handled properly.

Conversely, a reputable construction management firm can often save you money by streamlining these operations and can sometimes come up with additional funding for the job from various sources (including governmental and private).

One point of contact (and accountability)

As an owner, the last thing you have time for is communicating with the myriad parties involved with a construction project, such as the subcontractors, banks, city, consultants, etc. A construction management firm handles all communication and serves as your point person throughout the life of the project—saving you time and headaches.

That also means the CM is invested in the project because the responsibility of keeping everything on schedule and on budget falls on their shoulders. In the end, the project’s success or failure is in their hands.

Managing projects big and small

The benefits of third-party construction management can scale up or down, depending on the size of the project—and remain equally valuable to them all. As we worked with the city of Lenexa on the Lenexa City Center project, we served as the construction manager for the city as it improved the public infrastructure in and around the new development, including streets, curbs, parking, sidewalks and more.

The team worked closely with the city to build the budget for the improvements and held progress meetings to ensure each piece of the project stayed on schedule. Tim Green, Lenexa’s city engineer and deputy director for community development said the additional support was invaluable:

“To have a construction manager overseeing all work was essential to the successful completion of the project. Copaken Brooks was able to provide insight into the private development schedule and potential conflicts so that the overall development schedule was met.”

Whether your project is a large city development, a Wendy’s or anything in between, consider engaging a third-party construction management firm to protect your business and your interests throughout the process.

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