Complex construction and development projects can be exciting and offer great value to their surrounding communities, but they also come with their fair share of challenges and complexities. An owner’s project manager (OPM) is indispensable in complex construction and development projects. Addressing the diverse needs of owners, from budget control to schedule mastery, quality assurance, contract management, and risk mitigation, the OPM ensures that each project realizes its full potential, delivering both safety and success.
During the lifespan of a project, project owners often face many challenges that disrupt timelines, inflate costs, and hinder success. As noted by PMA’s Detroit Senior Director, Jim Teahan, the OPM has the unique ability to get to know the owner and project at the earliest moment possible, which is necessary since needs and challenges vary with each undertaking. Some might have budget control issues due to unforeseen expenses, scope changes, and inefficient cost management. Other owners might not have experience in schedule management, which can lead to increased expenses, missed opportunities, and ultimately damage to the project’s reputation. Even further, owners need expertise in quality assurance, contract management, and risk mitigation for a project to be safe and successful.
While the need for assistance from OPMs can change depending on the situation, one thing that both Joe DeSantis, PMA’s Boston Director, and Francisco Cruz, PMA’s Miami Senior Director, agreed on is that communication and coordination are a challenge for owners across the board. Effective communication among all stakeholders is necessary for streamlined project execution. With the number of people involved in a complex project, all with different levels of understanding, this can become difficult.
Fortunately, no matter what issue it is, an OPM can help solve it. At PMA, our OPMs are experts in budget control; schedule, risk, and contract management; and quality assurance. Additionally, OPMs specialize in communication, coordinating with all members and stakeholders to ensure transparency with their unique understanding. This aid is not just limited to communication with those directly involved in the project, but also community members. Joe highlighted that as an OPM, he is responsible for holding informational sessions and for helping project members know how to accurately inform anyone they might see out in public about the state of the project. Keeping every level informed is a difficult task, but it is key to the success of a project even after construction has ended.
Another area that Francisco highlighted as imperative to success is risk mitigation, beginning in the earliest stages of a project. Many owners do not recognize this as something that an OPM can bring to their project, but the value it adds is insurmountable. Jim added that this does not mean they can avoid issues entirely, but that “we resolve them before they become impassable or very difficult problems.” Through getting to know the unique scenario from the earliest moment possible, OPMs are an owner’s biggest advocate.
That, above all else, makes an OPM’s role so unique: their desired outcome is the owner’s desired outcome. They take a holistic approach to a project, looking at it from every angle to ensure everything meets the owner’s best interests. Because of a lack of information surrounding the role, or because of people’s past experiences with what an OPM can do, many owners tend to overlook the sheer amount of value they can bring to the table at every stage.
At PMA Consultants, our OPMs stay on top of the latest technological advances, building requirements, and community needs to ensure they bring the owner and their project the best outcome possible.