Project managers vs construction managers … The differences explained

One of the essential elements of setting up a hotel or resort development is the project planning aspect. Project planning should be taken into account even before an operator or an architect is on board. That’s because the outcome of early and proper project planning can be the difference between a good project and a great project.

Any hotel development, whether a new build or renovation project, requires extensive planning and leadership. Sadly, in Thailand, some developers, especially family-owned businesses, do not understand and appreciate the benefit of having a project / construction manager.

What is the role of a project manager?

Project Managers are instrumental in handling a project from inception to completion and could consist of an entire team overlooking different project areas.  For example, at the front end of a project, project managers can be responsible for consultant procurement, such as architects, interior designers, engineers and cost planners. They could also assist in operator selection based on their experience in the industry.

Project managers would also be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Management of the overall design process to ensure the design conforms to the requirements of the Client’s brief and project schedule.
  • Provide input to the project’s designers on appropriate construction techniques, design implications and program advice.
  • Monitor the adequacy of the design team’s co-ordination in respect to the interface between architectural, structural and building services design and provide advice on remedial action to be taken where necessary.
  • Organization of value engineering reviews of the key building components and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) systems (as appropriate) in liaison with, and input from, the Design Consultants and Quantity Surveyor.
  • Master programming of the total development to establish key dates for design information, approvals, award of contracts, construction milestones, placement of material orders and all items having a critical effect on the project.
  • Preparation of the tender and contract documents for design consultants and contractors as well as reviewing their adequacy.
  • Organization of the tendering / bidding process including analysis of submissions, negotiations and selection of design consultants and contractors.
  • Organize and chair meetings with Consultants, Client and other key stakeholders to monitor all aspects of the project to ensure it stays on program and within budget.

Project managers can be an individual or a team of professionals overseeing each area of the project – depending on the project’s size. They can also be part of the in-house development team or externally contracted consultants.

Where does construction management fit into large scale projects?

Construction management generally starts in the construction pre-planning stage and runs through to the completion of construction and hand over. The term “construction management” pertains to all activities relating to the construction, including sub-contractors, demolition, building, the MEP, and procuring the materials and finishes.  The construction manager will also be vital in ensuring compliance with the regulations and building codes.

The Construction Supervision team is a combination of senior management who are ably assisted by full-time engineering and technical staff. The principal responsibilities are:

  • Site Staffing
  • Site Administration / Document Control
  • Programme
  • Quality Control
  • Safety/Housekeeping
  • Contract/Commercial
  • Reporting
  • Meetings
  • As Built Records/Operation Manual
  • Commission/Close Out

Construction management is also crucial to the successful delivery of a project.

Hotel and resort development is more than construction – it includes the project’s overall lifespan!

Many developers fail to understand the significance of a project’s overall lifespan and therefore, the project manager’s role. As a result, they tend to focus only on construction. Sometimes this is done in an attempt to reduce costs. However, failure to engage in proper project planning and set-up can cause an escalation of construction costs due to poor programming, coordination and review.

Both project managers and construction managers are independently essential to successful project delivery. Applying both project and construction management expertise can significantly enhance the quality of project delivery while ensuring timely completion within budget parameters. Northcroft provides independent, objective advice throughout the construction process – from project planning and inception through to completion and handover. To explore how we may be able to assist you achieve your hotel or resort development goals, get in touch here.

Photo courtesy of Scott Blake.