The Case for Project Management

self-build project manager

The build route you choose will ultimately depend on what’s right for your individual circumstances. Self-managing the coordination of your build can be advantageous if you are well researched, organised, a confident negotiator and have the time to dedicate to keeping your project on track. In this article, Harry Burt of Century Project Management highlights the reasons why appointing a Project Manager can be beneficial.

In the process of building the average one-off house, it has been estimated that over 10,000 decisions will have to be made. These range from the initial decision to go ahead with a self-build project rather than buying a “ready built” option, right through to choosing what kind of doormats to have at the front door of your finished home.

Many of these decisions are personal and based around preferences and knowledge but the majority concern the relatively complex processes involved in constructing a house from the open site to the completed dwelling.

Once you have made the initial decision to self-build, you can make the second decision to hand over all subsequent decision making and management of the project to a Building Contractor and simply “sign the cheques”. This can be the correct route if you are happy to devolve decision-making to a third party. It will however likely be the most expensive of the 3 build routes available to you.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can decide to act as your own Building Contractor and be in sole control of everything. Theoretically, this can be the least expensive way to build your home but, and there is a big but, it should be remembered that the processes involved are complicated, bound by complex regulations, time-critical and can sometimes be difficult to manage. Getting it wrong always has cost implications. The levels of management, time, and versatility should not be underestimated if you choose to self-manage your own build.

The third route involves appointing an experienced Project Manager to make your new home a reality.
The principle of Construction Project Management originated in large commercial/industrial contracts and is now applied successfully to the one-off house sector. The Project Manager is an independent, experienced construction professional who has a full understanding of the processes and procedures involved in bringing together all the elements which make up your new house.

A good Project Manager will make it their business to understand the needs and preferences you have for your home. They will work with and for you, act in your best interests, and always on your behalf in every aspect including Health and Safety on-site, selection of materials, appointing and coordinating suitable sub-contractors, achieving quality control, and meeting timelines.

Usually, a Project Manager will agree on a fee with you for their services and this is paid in monthly drawdowns. The earlier a Project Manager is appointed the better, as they can be very beneficial from the early planning stages right through to the time activity starts on-site.

They will have knowledge of the current costs of labour and materials across all sectors and their negotiating skills should ensure that the total project cost is kept as competitive as possible. The avoidance of costly errors over the complete project should ensure that the project management fee represents excellent value for money.

A Project Manager ultimately removes the day-to-day pressure of ensuring contractors and materials are on site when needed as well as looking after the overall coordination of all technical and site safety matters. They will also negotiate costs with the selected contractors authorising payments only when the work packages are completed satisfactorily.

In summary, using a Project Manager offers the self-builder the opportunity to remain involved with their self-build, with the security of having a building professional embedded in the project who will take the strain on all the tricky matters which can and often do happen in the building process.

You can find out more about project management options in the Central Scotland area by visiting

Article Archives

2024 (4)2023 (7)2022 (11)2021 (5)2020 (6)2019 (5)2018 (8)2017 (8)2016 (2)2015 (1)2012 (1)