It is the role of the Project Manager (PM) to oversee the entire life cycle of a construction project. This title brings with it many different responsibilities and requires a broad range of specialised knowledge, skills and expertise. At Synergy Construction, we ensure that all of our Project Managers possess in depth experience in managing both projects and people throughout each phase of planning, design and construction.
From the beginning of a build, right through to completion, it is ultimately up to the assigned PM to assure that the project is delivered to the highest of quality, within the proposed timeframe and budget. The Head Contract governs the project programme, which the PM is responsible for preparing and maintaining. They must plan, design, manage and deliver their project in accordance with this contract, ensuring that they adhere to all of its requirements. As such, being familiar with all of these requirements and following through on them thoroughly is central to the role.
Overseeing Head Contract and Subcontract Administration for projects is a core responsibility, alongside the management and support of all Leading Hands, Foremen and trade professionals contracted to their project. Managing project costs is essential and this needs to be performed on a regular and ongoing basis, which includes the preparation of fortnightly cost reports to review with Management to ensure that project outcomes are being balanced with estimated costs.
Quality control is another crucial element of a PM’s role. Working to ensure that the project specifications allow for adequate quality in terms of materials and workmanship standards from its inception, the PM must manage the various visions and interests of all stakeholders to deliver a high quality final result. This means that all contractors must be guided by the PM to execute all elements of the build to the same standards of excellence that we expect of our own team at Synergy Construction. Part of this entails the selection of contractors who have a strong track record of professionalism and excellence within the industry.
Coordinating design and technical details of a project involves working with a range of other industry professionals to define a solid project brief and get all stakeholders on the same page with the project’s vision. Effective, open communication is essential throughout this process. A strong PM must be able to bring people together under a shared vision, to coordinate multiple facets of the project to run to an often tight schedule. Quite often, many elements of the build will need to run concurrently, meaning that the PM will need to wear a variety of different ‘hats’ all at once. Managing both people and resources involves the need to liaise with and manage clients, consultants and subcontractors, while also managing trade and material procurement.
On top of this, the responsibility of managing subcontractors and other trades on a dynamic job site includes the need to assure a safe and secure work environment. WHS standards must be upheld at all times, with the PM always looking for ways to strengthen their compliance to existing regulations. As such, it is the PM’s job to continually be proactive in identifying and managing any risks that may arise throughout the project. This means that it is imperative that PMs take initiative in reporting any foreseeable project risks to the management team. Preparing and implementing a Site Safety Plan and Safe Work Method Statement is central to this process, ensuring that risk management is an embedded practice throughout all project programmes.
Ultimately, balancing time, cost and scope constraints of a project to ensure the greatest quality and user satisfaction is crucial to the role of effective project management. The PM must work in the client’s vision to deliver on their expectations, while bringing their own professional judgment and experience to the table to determine and act on the demands of each unique project.
It is a dynamic, rewarding role, not for the faint of heart. You need to be able to think laterally, be able to work as part of a team, and be able to lead from the front. You have to be proactive and decisive enough to make crucial yet tough decisions that can have dramatic impact on the outcomes of the project. You need foresight, flexibility and stellar time and people management skills. It’s a role that takes years of experience to step into, and a lifetime of ongoing experience to continually grow into.
So, what does a Project Manager actually do? They take a client’s vision — that may be nothing more than the seed of an idea at the beginning of the project — and give them all of the steps needed to grow it into a real, tangible entity.