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CM Through The Eyes Of Both Owner And Industry -- Part 1: Owner's Perspective


When we undergo a highly technical project or program that needs attention on many levels with a multitude of stakeholders, end users and requiring deft management of industry partners to deliver a project on time, on budget with a high level of quality I have found it helpful to frame discussions around four themes that need to be covered, monitored and need dedicated “ownership”. This serves as a memory jogger to ensure any issue that comes up receives the proper amount of thought in order to not move the issue to another area and or miss critical thinking because the one of the areas is not considered when making a decision. Those four areas are that a Project has to be considered include:

  1. Functional: of

ten driven by stakeholders, customers and end users this area is typically shepherded by a Project Manager (PM) role. The functional theme is focused on efficiency.

  1. Technical: typical represented by Architects and Engineers (A&E) to ensure design meets codes and life-safety concerns with an eye towards aesthetics and economy of materials selected. This area is usually overseen by the licensed design engineers and architects as well as building officials. The technical theme is focused on compliance.

  2. Maintainable: after ribbon cutting Operations and Maintenance (O&M) personnel inherit the project. O&M personnel ensure that end result can provide continuous unimpeded o

perations and smooth transition during commissioning and activation. Often overlooked because eth consultation and coordination and communication is very difficult. This theme is focused on maximizing operations and minimizing maintenance which includes something as simple as providing access to equipment and complex as forecasting impacts of changing legacy spot systems and incorpora

ting new technologies and assessing whether current maintenance support resources can keep up with the changes or have to adapt.

The Integrated Project Delivery Team members (PM, A&E, O&M) above typically cover the 3 areas above and are focused on “How” to solve problems and who can be consulted to properly capture the risk associated with providing a project from a technical perspective? That leads to the need for covering the fourth theme:

  1. Constructible: traditionally this area is focused on “how can it be built” taking a holistic look at the risks to scope, schedule and budget from the perspective of means and methods associated with project delivery. This area is usually overseen by a contract

or that is charged with interpreting and making the efforts of the above 3 areas into a reality. This is an area where owners often miss formal owners representation and oversight and can and should be filled be Construction Management (CM) professionals. The technical theme is focused on effective and efficient project delivery

So, how can the Owner cover all 3 of these areas from conception to ribbon cutting and beyond. How can CM Services be leveraged much earlier in the process to ensure risks are identified and optimally avoided? I believe it starts with the Project Management Plan AND formal assignment of roles and responsibilities with designated leads in each of the 4 areas above.

When it comes to any role in the design and construction profession there are few hard lines that any person doesn’t believe they can fill. Not every project has a certified PMI PM, not every endeavor requires a licensed architect or engineer. When I do renovation projects in my house I often serve as a general foreman…and have been known to miss a few things along the way which, much to my chagrin, impacted quality, schedule and budget.

In my early years as an Owne

r with an architectural background I didn’t appreciate the professionalism each component of industry brings to the table. I believe that to continue the progress that Construction Management Services have need to rely less on what sets these services apart from the areas claimed by other professionals, but claim their place as integrators with the unique ability to inform the design and construction lifecycle process at each and every step.

From an owner’s perspective I have found that there are three myths about the profession of Construction Management (CM) and I will present them by dispelling those myths them as follows:

  1. CM is NOT just staff augmentation

  2. CM is NOT a subset of other professional (Architect, Engineer, etc.)

  3. CM is NOT only need AFTER construction award to monitor the construction contractor

Construction Management as a profession can be leveraged in every phase of the project delivery process from planning, programming, design, construction, commissioning, activation, and operations and maintenance. Ideally I would ensure that CM is represented as early as possible in the process to ensure the experience and technical nature of the constructability process is “thought of” while all preliminary decisions are made.

BY: David Wilder RA, PMP, Superintendent, House Office Buildings Architect of the Capitol

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