Real Estate Journal — New Jersey — October 10 - 23, 2014 — 3B


M id A tlantic

N ew J ersey By Beverly Blum, DesignWorkBuild

The role of the construction manager in office construction & renovation

D eveloping and build- ing for owners has been traditionally bidding and hiring a GC ( g e n e r a l contractor). They in turn build at the lowest pos- sible cost for them, while r e c e i v i n g the highest possible fee for the services rendered. Construction management (CM), an alternative method of building, was developed in the 1960’s to provide owners and tenants with knowledge- able construction expertise. Acting exclusively as their representative, the CM is charged with minimizing costs while preserving the quality of construction. This method works well when the CM is retained at the inception of a project. In doing so, the CM can assist with drawings and specifica- tions, helping to avoid any unworkable details upfront. Interaction between the cli- ent, the architect/designer and the construction manag- er often results in a fully coor- dinated, workable set of con- struction documents. As the representative, the CM may be asked to find alternatives for the architect’s sometimes- costly design plans; this is called “value engineering.” Working with the architect/ designer, the CM assists in selecting the various teams of consultants for the project. A typical project may include MEP consultants, audio/ visual firms, IT specialists, lighting specialists, Inte- rior design professionals, and landscape designers. When the consultants are onboard, the CM prepares detailed schedules listing established target dates for every aspect of the project. During the drawing de- velopment phase, the CM prepares budgets, tracks the progress of the drawings and advises of any possible cost discrepancies. In this way the client is assured that draw- ings are proceeding properly. The CM is charged with ana- lyzing and suggesting alter- natives in mechanical and electrical systems depending upon short and long term cost strategies, this too is ‘value Beverly Blum

engineering”. Throughout the document preparation phase, the CM works with the architect and consultant team members to simplify details and to provide input on possible material substitution. Union jurisdictions and other prob- lems are also ironed out dur- ing this time. Additionally, applications for permits from local governing agencies that have a long and complex pro- cess are filed. Upon completion of the CD’s (construction documents) the CM arranges the documents

into individual bid packages, solicits bids, analyzes them and awards the contracts to the appropriate contractor or subcontractors. Subse- quently, the CMmonitors the cost of the actual construc- tion keeping their eye on the budget. On site, the CM directs the work of the subcontractors, ensuring orderly, expert con- struction and timely comple- tion of the project. The CM is a pivotal player from the construction of the core and shell, through interior fit-up and furniture installation.

Many times, the CM assists in the relocation move. In per- forming these duties, the CM assures the client of a smooth and efficient occupancy. The most critical and most difficult phase of a construc- tion project is the final com- pletion and close-out of the job. The CM coordinates ship- ping and installation dates for the office furniture. The CM arranges for on-site assem- bly of systems and seating furniture thus avoiding the expense of off-site warehouse delivery and assemblies. In summary, by serving

as the representative of the client in both the design and construction phases of the project, the CM joins with the consultants in the review of plans, actively drives cost evaluations and alterna- tives, aids in the selection of contractors, recommends appropriate cost reductions and oversees the construction of the project from inception to completion. By leaving the construction to the competent hands of a CM, the client can devote their time to their business, not to the business of building. n

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