Who's Project Managing Your Construction Project?

The RIBA’s recent feedback from their ‘Working with Architects’ survey throws up some interesting points about the role an architect plays in the overall design and construction of a project.

The survey was part of ongoing research led by the RIBA’s Client Liaison Group and builds on the evidence summarised in their Client & Architect: developing the essential relationship’ report from 2015. 

958 clients took part, equally split between private domestic clients, contractors and commercial clients.  Whilst Architects scored well across a number of disciplines, the survey throws up issues clients have, in particular contractors and commercial clients, with their ability to manage the overall construction/build process.  The survey highlights only 30% of contractors were very or fairly satisfied with architects’ process management, their commercial understanding, the ability to add value and adhere to the programme of work. 

The majority of contractors felt that architects need to ‘improve their understanding of commercial drivers’ and the way they collaborate with other members of the project team.  The technical design specification and BIM were also cited as areas of concern.

From reading the conclusions of the survey it seems that employing a project manager on a commercial construction project seems the best option for commercial clients and contractors looking for commercial understanding and process control throughout a project.

Vitruvius is one of a small number of construction project managers recognised and professionally accredited by the Association for Project Management, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Chartered Institute of Building.  Through a combination of Project, Cost and Construction Management services, they provide one complete solution throughout the lifecycle of a construction project, working with clients to define key objectives for the project and then leading and managing the entire construction process from start to finish to deliver the project on time and on budget. 

Just under half the projects in the RIBA survey exceeded their budgets due to reasons such as unforeseen works, client changes, briefing issues and ‘design creep’.  By employing a project manager, these costs are carefully managed throughout the build. 

In the survey’s report, Dale Sinclair, RIBA Ambassador for Collaboration and Technical Advancement CIC BIM Champion Director, AECOM states: “We need to address the crucial relationship between architects and specialist subcontractors…. The second issue is the lack of quality assurance processes.”

Project Managers, such as Vitruvius, work with the client to build bespoke teams around each project, ensuring they have the right specialist contractors in place and then manage the day to day relationship between those team members. Through the effective and efficient management of resources, they manage the risk, cost, time and quality of every phase of the construction process.

Whilst architects are good at the design and design coordination when acting as the lead designer, at Vitruvius we harness these strengths while taking the management and contract administration role.

Traditionally Architects administered the contracts and while this may still be relevant on smaller or domestic schemes, Vitruvius has found that by taking on the management role on commercial projects the architect is left to focus on the aspects that they enjoy and can add value too, that of design.

If you’re concerned about the extra cost appointing a company like Vitruvius would add to your overall budget, don’t be, through competitive bidding, contract negotiation, value engineering, reduced change orders and reduction in build time, they normally reduce overall project costs well in excess of their fees.

"Our ability to put a plan together and to deliver the required outcomes for the project is based on us being able to recognise the skills that are required and to build a delivery team specifically for that project,” said Mark Price, Managing Director of Vitruvius.  “We’ve worked on projects across a wide range of industry sectors from schools to dairies.  I think if you were to ask our clients the key benefits they’ve found from working with us, they’d say, control and value for money.”