Skip to content

Construction Management: What’s It All About?

76043996 S Jpg

When you’re looking to create a new build from scratch, it’s a relief to learn that you won’t be going it alone. From subcontractors to architects, quite a few professionals get their hands on the ball, leaving you with nothing less than the facility of your dreams. 

However, that’s only true if you choose the right commercial contractor for the job!

The construction project manager plays an essential part in every stage of your project. Let’s take a look at what this role encompasses and how it leads to project success when done right. 

In this guide, we cover:

  • The definition of construction project management

  • Why construction management is crucial to project success 

  • The importance of planning, communication, and experience 

  • Construction management vs. at-risk construction management

  • Benefits of working with a great construction manager

  • How to prepare for your first appointment 

What Is Construction Project Management?

Construction management is the use of specialized tools and techniques to monitor the progress of a construction project. 

Construction management happens right from the stages of pre-construction planning and design to the end of construction. It makes it possible to observe and control the length of time it takes to complete a project, the costs, and the quality. 

A construction manager is in charge of the process. They manage construction workers to ensure that they are working to deliver the right quality project in a safe, cost-efficient way.

Why Quality Construction Management Matters

The success of your construction project hinges on the skill set of your construction management company

As a liaison between workers and construction plans, a construction manager orchestrates the entire construction process, from communicating with architects to making sure the building is proceeding according to the planned time frame. 

To do their job properly, a construction manager must be competent in a variety of skills that help ensure the project moves along as smoothly and satisfactorily as possible.

Ensures Adherence to Code

Construction is a complicated, multifaceted industry, and it takes a sharp mind to succeed and exceed expectations in this field. The importance of such a mind when it comes to your commercial contractor cannot be overstated. 

When occupants enter your building in the future, their safety is on the line. An exceptional construction manager will not only ensure your building meets safety codes, but exceeds them.

With a professional construction manager, you never have to worry for a second about the safety of your clients or employees.

Keeps the Project On Schedule

While adequate construction managers can easily be thrown off by unforeseen circumstances, high-quality construction managers have many more skills that enable them to work within a predetermined time frame. 

More importantly, these types of construction managers strive to keep the project on schedule.

If you want your project to finish by its pre-set deadline, working with a quality construction manager is key to achieving that. 

Maintains the Budget

Via experience and thorough study, a quality commercial contractor knows what materials to requisition to stay within the budget. 

When you work with experienced and knowledgeable pros – like our team at Miller Architects & Builders – you can rest assured, we’ll do our very best to ensure you don’t get hit with any unexpected financial surprises.

The Role of Planning in Construction Management

Thorough planning and thought-out communication of what that plan entails is a crucial ingredient to every part of the commercial construction process, from client relations to the actual manual labor. 

Here’s why.

Prevents Surprises 

So many people come together for the successful execution of a commercial construction project. Architects, construction managers, manual laborers – the list goes on and on. 

Without a plan or a proper visioning process, these people are left in the dark, with little ability to envision what the work should look like at any given stage, or what success looks like in terms of any given project. 

How is anyone to achieve success if nobody is on the same page with what success even looks like?

Keeps Everyone Safe 

Proper visioning is much more than painting a picture of the ideal finished project. It’s also looking at the project with a critical eye, identifying possible areas of difficulty, and planning ways to mediate them. 

Preparing a well thought-out plan keeps workers safe while they work on the project and makes sure future building occupants will always feel safe inside.

Tracks the Budget 

Because possible problems have been assessed and every aspect of the project has been thoroughly examined, an accurate budget can be created during the visioning process. 

This process and the final plan enable everyone, from the client to the management firm they’re working with, to know what they’re getting into. 

Perhaps more importantly, it helps ensure the project and those involved don’t run into any nasty surprises.

Enables Good Communication

When written down and concretely established, a proper plan ensures that all parties involved spend time communicating about worthwhile questions and that important details don’t get lost. 

In fact, it’s almost impossible to communicate quickly and accurately in the construction management process without a concrete plan for guidance.

Communication Is Crucial to Construction Project Management

Many businesses have thrived or died by its communication skills – or lack thereof. At Miller, we fall squarely into the former category. 

We‘ve always placed a strong emphasis on open communication, both among our team members and with our clients, and here’s why.

Stick to the Plan 

In any business, it goes without saying that employees cannot follow a game plan if they do not know what the game plan is. However, communication is especially crucial in any commercial construction operation due to the sheer amount of people involved in any project. 

You’ve got your architectural design services, your commercial contractor, your project manager – the list goes on and on. How are these people all to work in sync if they’re not crystal clear on what the client needs? 

They can’t, of course. Which is where constant communication comes into play.

Miller works closely with all facets of its construction team; this includes the client, who we consider part of this team. We wouldn’t have stayed in business as long as we have otherwise. 

Relax the Client 

Investing in expansion can be an anxiety-producing situation for anyone. After all, that’s a big chunk of money you’re spending! 

And this is especially the case for at-risk construction management. That stress will only skyrocket.

In the interest of mitigating some of this stress, we at Miller strive to keep you informed at all stages of the construction process. Our success is directly tied to satisfied clientele, and communication is just one way that we can facilitate this. 

When you work with us, you can definitely rest easy knowing we’re on the job. We’ll keep you updated at every stage of the project to keep your nerves at bay and to help us understand exactly what you’re looking for out of this undertaking.

Construction Management vs. At-Risk Construction Management

Construction project management comes in two overarching types, general and at-risk. 

General Construction Management

If you prefer a more active approach to managing your build, consider general construction management. As opposed to at-risk construction management, this method allows you to pick your subcontractors, giving you more control over how things turn out. 

While your management company will still be around to advise, you’re in the driver’s seat. That also means that, unlike at-risk construction project management, you do incur some financial liability should your project go over budget.

At-Risk Construction Project Management

In this method of construction management, you give the reins to your preferred professional more than you would while using its counterpart. The construction management team handles everything from hiring subcontractors to designing the building. All you need to do is stay in contact with the management team and you’re as good as golden.

The “At-risk” part of the name comes from the construction management company assuming the risk when they take on the project. They are responsible for compensation should the work go over budget since they’re in charge of so much of the orchestration. 

While this may mean that you pay a little more for their services, it protects you from liability in the long run.

6 Advantages of a Great Construction Manager

A construction project manager must have solid financial management skills, know how to be assertive, have solid industry knowledge, and understand risk management. And that’s just a starting point! 

Regardless of what type of management you choose, when done well, it comes with more than its fair share of benefits.

1. Improve Project Predictability

With the implementation of construction management techniques, it is possible to predict the outcome of a project. Different construction and management techniques are implemented intentionally to influence the value of a project. It gives the owner a sense of control over the project. 

Project owners should choose construction management firms that have a good reputation. They should be experienced and professional.

2. Enable Cost Control

A construction manager collaborates with the construction team to develop a realistic budget. They are in charge of ensuring that constructors remain within the budget limits. 

The construction manager oversees competitive bidding, eliminates unnecessary costs, handles the negation of contracts based on merit, and ensures that all the resources are used efficiently.

3. Offer Advice

Your construction managers are there to represent your interests. They give you advice on who is most likely to meet the needs of your clients and who does not need to continue working for you. 

They may also advise you on how to maximize value and reduce costs. Most construction managers have worked with many teams, so they can recommend the best ones for you. 

The construction manager has a better understanding of the project than you do, so you can always go to them with questions.

4. Save Project Time

You may be too busy handling your other projects and developments to give a new project the attention it deserves. A construction manager does that on your behalf. 

The construction manager learns about your demands and interests and represents you. All you need to do is to give them a specific objective to work on.

5. Protect From Liability

In the unfortunate event that something goes wrong with your development, your construction manager takes liability for it in certain cases.

6. Improve Project Value

A good construction manager helps you to maintain the proper execution of processes. They help you pick the right contractors for the job to promote responsibility in all operations, which may improve the value of your development.

What a Long History Says About a Construction Management Company

What does a long, project-filled history say about a construction management company’s philosophy, skills, values, and overall craft? 

Here are just a few of the benefits of working with a company that’s been in the game for more than a century.

Customer-Focused Approach

At Miller, we always put the client first. We consider our architects and construction services as extensions of your business and understand what a well-designed, customized building means to you. After all, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have been in business for well over a century. 

Our staff is a steady balance of innovative and practical, pushing the boundaries of architectural design while also working to make something that suits your needs.

You won’t find this sort of approach in younger companies. We’re an old hand in the construction management business. We know when to innovate and when a tried-and-true approach might work better. 

In other words, we’re balanced, and we place your needs at the forefront of every decision we make.

At-Risk Construction Management Experts

With this type of construction management, we assume all risk for the project’s performance and also give the client a guaranteed price. 

We’ve needed to perfect a balanced approach to this aspect of business to keep doing it as long as we have.

Solid Background in Building Green Construction Projects 

Inherently, building sustainably requires innovation, but innovation can only go so far before it becomes impractical (and probably not very environmentally friendly). 

The fact that we can even begin to practice this method of construction shows an understanding of balance that can only come from a long history.

Architectural Design Experts

At Miller, we balance client desires and a talented team of architects that pushes the boundaries of the craft. 

This balanced combination allows us to create something your business can truly be proud to call its own.

How to Prepare for Your First Construction Management Appointment

When you work with our team at Miller Architects & Builders, rest assured you’ll never feel lost as a client when working with our construction project management team. Accurate communication is paramount to us at all phases of every project. 

However, we know that adequate project preparation often helps to ease anxiety for clients who are eager to get the ball rolling or who may have had less-than-stellar experiences with other builders. 

So – let’s take a peek at what you should do to prepare for your first consultation appointment.

Do Your Homework

Responsible construction management companies like Miller will always guide you through the consulting process. However, knowing a bit of industry lingo will help relax you before your first official appointment with the commercial construction company. 

Unsure where to brush up on the lingo? There are countless lists of common construction terms from reputable sources online. Even taking a few minutes to skim over these terms will help you understand what you’re in for and ease your worries. 

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you might even educate yourself on all the different types of work that go into a construction project. The architectural design process is quite fascinating, and it can definitely broaden your horizons to learn new things.

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to do this! Our team will help you through anything you don’t understand. 

Make a List of Wants & Needs

Deciding exactly what you want can eliminate a majority of the unknowns that come with construction, especially when it comes to architectural design. 

What features do you absolutely need in your new building? What kinds of things would you like but could ultimately live without? What features can you absolutely not abide by? 

Answering these questions before your appointment can soothe much of your anxiety. Even if you’re unsure about your needs and wants, this can serve as a talking point between you and your commercial contracting business. 

Rest assured that with Miller, we’ll always help you make the right decision.

Top-Quality Commercial Construction Management

We’re your allies in the construction process all the way from pre-to-post. Contact Miller Architects & Builders at 320-251-4109 for all your construction management needs in the St. Cloud Metro and the surrounding areas.