Why engage a client side project manager?
When they are submitting a proposal or quotation, most design and build contractors will tell their clients that they can and will project manage their works. Here at Workspace, however, we know that they are normally referring only to general fit out works and are unlikely to want to get involved with anything that isn’t in their scope.
Areas outside their scope will often include telephone lines, IT networking, furniture, coffee machines, room/desk booking systems, audio visual, security and now Covid-19 compliance. Comms lines will usually require a lot of landlord liaison and wayleave agreements. In our experience, contractors won’t be expecting to involve themselves in anything like that, and that is where the client side project manager can come in. In addition, all landlords will inevitably want to approve any works so that they can grant a Licence to Alter, and this is an area in which we can assist.
Mike Bird, Projects Partner at The Workspace Consultants, believes that the true value of a project manager lies in the Pre-Contract stage. ‘Our project management service supports clients in the design, specification, tender and cost negotiation and contract set up,’ comments Mike. ‘Before our client signs a contract with the contractor, we will make sure the specification and the cost plan is robust, thus avoiding cost creep throughout the project. We can also oversee this and ensure not only that all the details are included but also that the specification is a true reflection of the client’s requirements and that it is all included in the contractor’s cost plan. We also work through all the negotiables in the contract, such as payment terms, on-site valuations, retentions, defects liability periods and liquidated damages, and can work with the client’s construction lawyer to set all this up.
‘A valuation is something we do during the works where we value every line item in the cost plan on a percentage complete basis. This is usually done every two weeks. We issue a certificate for payment, which contractors like because it means they get paid without any argument on a regular basis. At the end of the project we then snag the work and make sure any rectification works are done. We check all the test certificates before we issue practical completion. That is the start of the defects liability period, which is usually 12 months. At the end of that, we return for a defects inspection, and if there are any defects we get them rectified before we sign off for the release of the final retention.’
The Workspace Consultants specialise in office design and project management in Cambridge and London, so contact us to discuss how we can supply client side project management for your next project.