Construction Project Planning & Scheduling

How to Choose the Right Commercial Construction Project Manager

It’s a simple fact in commercial construction: Your project manager can either make or break the project — and your company. This is especially true in an economy where it’s imperative to keep projects on time and on budget.

The market is saturated with professionals who all claim to do the same thing, but how do you know the PM you choose is right for the job? It can be tempting to concentrate only on cost, but betting on the bottom line could leave a lot to be desired. Our team of commercial construction pros offers some insight based on experience, and we can help you learn what you need to be looking for.

Budget: While it’s important for you to understand the budget you’re working with, it’s even better if your PM can also offer input based on their historical experience with past projects. Ask plenty of questions and be transparent with your projected financial plans. Ensure they fully understand (and address) any budgetary concerns you may have. Find out how they will handle budget concerns throughout the project. The answers will be a good reflection of how they’ll work hard to protect your costs from skyrocketing.

Services offered: Take a deep-dive into what your potential PM will cover throughout the scope of the project. Look for end-to-end, comprehensive services that include communication with other construction pros on the project, conflict resolution, scheduling, report preparation/presentation, and more. Compare these offerings to see if they align with your goals; if they don’t, it may not be the right fit.

Experience: Even if the potential PM has managed commercial construction projects in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have the experience you need. For example, your office building project may not be best suited for a PM that has a portfolio of public parks, as impressive as it may be. Also, years of experience don’t always translate into the right background — especially if you’re looking to take advantage of new and innovative commercial construction tech. “Old school” isn’t always the best approach.

Mastery of tools and tech: This falls under the umbrella of experience. If you plan on integrating specialized tools or new technology to help complete the commercial construction project, your PM should have fluent knowledge of these tools and tech. The last thing you want is a project delay because the manager needs to learn (or re-learn) the programs that are diving progress.

Communication: Aside from budget, this is another big key factor in choosing the right PM. How do they plan on updating you on the progress of the project? Which methods do they plan on using? Are they prepared to relay the bad news along with the good? This is one page that everyone needs to be on together. Make a clear, concise communication plan and put it in writing so everyone can be held accountable along the chain of command.

Collaboration: Similar to communication, your commercial construction project manager needs to be open to ideas and suggestions from every member of the project team, even at the ground level. Find out how your potential PM feels about speaking directly to workers, other managers, designers, and even possibly lenders. Explore how they feel about delegating and what approach they take to get everyone back on track if there are any miscommunications or disagreements.

Legalities: Nobody wants to talk about it, but sometimes things go awry on the jobsite. Contracts should be comprehensive and reviewed by a lawyer with experience in this area. The PM you choose should hold a valid license and insurance. They should also be well-versed in any local or federal regulations that could affect your commercial construction project. Having all of these steps in place before work starts offers another level of risk management and mitigation.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to do the research it takes to find a project manager who will get your next commercial construction project finished on-time, on-budget, and with as few headaches as possible. Construction project management is a critical piece of any major build, and having an expert “on the ground” can help create a seamless approach to getting the work done.

When starting a project with TD Wilson, you have the benefit of not only our decades of experience but also our expertise with today’s top CPM software products. Our approach to developing a well-defined project schedule leaves nothing to chance. We are the DEDICATED experts in the finer points of construction planning and scheduling for construction projects across the country — find out how you can gain peace of mind by working with us.