Assigning the Project Team
One of the very first tasks that must be taken care of by the project manager is putting together the project team. Depending on the size and complexity of the administrator, general superintendent (maybe even an assistant superintendent) and at least one field engineer. The onsite management team in the form of estimating, contract administration, accounting, job costing, and payroll.
Having the right project team makes all the difference in the world when it comes to a smooth-running job. The members must get along, support each other, and be able to work together under stressful conditions. The construction site is a unique environment – and the team must be up for the challenge.
Let’s take a closer look at the individual team members and consider their respective rolls:
- Project Manager (PM) – The project manager is the captain of the team. Project managers usually have extensive experience in construction and a broad background in all aspects of the management process. Although the size of the company and the size and the size of the project ultimately influence the specific duties of the PM, generally the PM is charged with four fundamental management tasks: Assembling the best possible team for the project, developing the overall project schedule, setting up the cost control system, and establishing a quality control plan. The PM guides and directs the project team and monitors the schedule, cost, and quality, making adjustments as needed to bring about a successful outcome.
The manager’s accountability is twofold: they must see to it that the obligations spelled out in the contract documents are met to the owner’s satisfaction. They must also make sure that the project runs as efficiently as possible, taking advantage of every opportunity to save time and money to ensure a fair and reasonable profit to the construction firm.
- Contract Administrator – This person assists both the project manager and the superintendent with many of the details of the contract. For example, the contract administrator may process progress payment applications, change orders, or submittals on behalf of the project manager. The contract stipulations and provisions and accustomed to working with all of the common forms, policies, and procedures.
- Superintendent – If the project manager is the captain of the team, then the superintendent is the first lieutenant. The superintendent is responsible for coordinating all of the construction activities on-site and keeping the project on schedule. Superintendents must be very knowledgeable when it comes to construction methods and details because they are in charge of all direct labor and subcontractors and must ensure that the work complies with the requirements of the contract documents. The superintendent must also manage the flow of materials, deliveries, and equipment to create the most efficient and productive environment possible. And, of course, safety planning and management is a major function for which the superintendent is responsible.
- Field Engineer – This entry-level position is usually the first step to becoming a project manager. Field engineers are responsible for handling much of the paperwork that passes through the field office. They are usually assigned the tasks of processing and tracking requests for information (RFI’s), submittals, and shop drawings. They may also assist with the project layout, payment verification, and any other tasks assigned to them by the superintendent. Although the field engineer is an entry-level position, the role is a vital one on every project.
Once the project manager has established the project team, the person needs to bring everyone up to speed as soon as possible, especially the superintendent. The PM and superintendent will usually spend several hours (or even days) planning for the project. Developing schedules and strategies for a successful outcome. It is important that they become as familiar as possible with tractor bids and every other aspect of the job. Once the work starts, it can speed along like a runaway train.