Project Management Services
- Welcome to our Project Management page.
Selecting this page means that you are on the first step to taking on your development seriously, limiting risk and maximising efficiency. It does not matter if you are a residential homeowner or a professional developer, failing to prepare is how you will prepare to fail.
At MSK Design, we believe:
“A well-executed project is a project that is delivered on specification, on budget and on time. To get there requires good project planning, a thorough tender process, robust contract writing, continuous monitoring, and management.”
Since 2008, we have been delivering real projects to real clients, with real budgets, real problems and real emotion. At MSK Design, we have seen first-hand how a project can go right, and also how a project can go very wrong.
- Project Management services provided by MSK Design
At MSK Design, we do not force our Project Management services upon our clients, but we do offer Project Management services to all of our clients.
Our Project Management services include:
- Contractor selection and vetting
- Contract drafting and administration under the JCT format
- CDM – Health and safety matters
- Preparation of project programmes and client delivery programme
- Preparation of schedules
- Weekly monitoring and reporting
- Management of flow of information between contractor and client
- First stage dispute resolution and mediation (prior to formal action under the JCT route)
- Certification of practical completion (under the JCT route)
- Project handover
- Management of defects period matters
- Certificate of Completion (under the JCT route)
- What happens if I do not choose to use any Project Management services?
If you choose not to use our Project Management services, we are still retained to provide technical assistance in delivering the content of our drawings and address regulatory and building control matters.
Many small projects still operation this way however please note that:
- Their will be no management and checks in place over the selection of the right contractor, with the correct insurances and reputation.
- Their will be no management of the tender process, and drafting of contracts between client and contractor though we would be happy to comment if asked.
- Their will not be regular monitoring of the works in place, and checks for compliance with any agreement in place.
- In the event of a variation or dispute over agreed works, their will not be a representative in place to check and validate, leaving the relationship between contractor and client unaided professionally.
- We will not be in control over the quality of work, time it has taken to complete and how much the entire development is going to really cost.
- But my builder says that they will provide project management…..surely that is enough?
A construction company that is organised should have a project manager, but we often find that the role of a project manager working for the construction company rarely results in a service that is unbiased.
It should be noted that a project manager working for a construction company will come in at the point that you appoint the contractor’s services. The management of the tender process, including contractor selection, background checks and drafting of contracts in this scenario will not be addressed in a manner that seeks to protect your interests as a priority.
So here is a real scenario to ponder on……What happens when there is an issue on site resulting in additional works, and additional costs? Will the project manager working directly for the construction company seek to:
- Mediate what is right and what is wrong?
- Identify any faults, delays or omissions made by the contractor, intentional or not at tender stage?
- Ensure that your interests are properly protected if there is a dispute?
Can any project manager appointed by/working on behalf of the construction company really say that their will not be any conflict of interest in the event of a dispute?
It is our opinion that a Project Manager appointed by a contractor should only be seen as a ‘Contracts Manager’. The role of this person is often operates as the friendly face of the construction company, to ensure that the client pays on time, and if any additional works are requested, that this is charged for every time.
Many people are swayed by very persuasive salesmen and builders, who claim that the requirement of a Project Manager is not required. It is often claimed that ‘your project is too small’ or that they will ‘do it for you’. The alarming truth here is that any Project Manager that is not solely appointed to the homeowner or developer, is a Project Manager primarily appointed to manage the client, not the project.
At MSK Design, we offer Project Management services to developments of all sizes, we strongly believe that the requirement for project management is not reserved for expensive developments or professional developers, and can assure all clients that the cost of using our services to deliver will often be less than the total cost of starting a project with no management.
- Can I afford Project Management Services?
If you are a professional developer or have had a bad experience with a project or builder going bad, you would already know this answer to this…
The short answer to this is YES.
Speak to anyone who has faced the actual cost of a badly managed project and ask them:
- How much more money did you spend over what was originally ‘agreed’?
- Did the development take longer, if yes why, and did this add to the overall cost?
- Was the quality of the work delivered as expected or worse? Do you think the quality of work paid for is what was received?
Incorporating proper Project Management services into your development in our opinion is a necessity over delivery, not an option over affordability. The cost of such a service should be factored into your overall budget, as the manner in which your development is delivered is just as important as what is being delivered.
- Not convinced that you can afford Project Management?
We hear too often that people cannot afford Project Management services, and that they would rather manage the project themselves to save money. Such a task is not for the feint-hearted. Without Project Management, we believe that you risk:
- More money being spent, on variations being made to an agreement, that are often too difficult to justify whether they are part of an development as agreed or not.
- More time being taken, with timelines being moved because either the contractor or client is not meeting critical milestones across the development
- Substandard work being delivered, because nobody is vetting contractors or checking the quality of work being delivered, often until it is too late
- Or in many cases, all of the above.
We have found that projects lacking real Project Management are often developments valued up to £250k. This is the market for homeowners, small and first-time developers.
- So why are so many developments not considering Project Management services?
We believe that part (not all) of the problem is routed within the bad tendencies of the construction and architectural design industry in the UK, which are generally:
- A lack of skill amongst today’s design community, with the ability to undertake Project Management, delivering designs to realisation.
- A lack of realisation on the importance of Project Management, and a failure to convey this appropriately with clients and small developers.
- Poor cost cutting decisions being made after the design stage is completed.
It is our opinion that the importance of Project Management services is not being weighted seriously enough on projects of small sizes (up to £250k), because the design professionals leading clients into the tender stage are only providing a design service, and are not focussed on the complete delivery of a project. This is where MSK Design differs from so many architectural design companies across London.
- My friend/neighbour recently completed a development without a Project Manager, why is my development any different?
You may be faced with a dilemma where a friend or relative has completed a development without any professional advice or leadership in the form of Project Management services, and wondering why you should go to the extra expense of appointing someone to undertake Project Management.
Over the past 15 years we have seen many developments completed well without such services, and this has become the ‘norm’ however, we can confidently say that most if not all of these developments would have benefited from such services, whether through controlling the costs, timeline or quality of finishes.
In contrast, we have seen many projects spiral out of control with costs and timelines due to a poor tender process, often managed by clients who had chosen the cheapest contractor or managed to force a contractor to drop prices prior to signing contracts, only to find these costs (and significantly more) working their way back through variations claimed by the contractor mid-way through a development.
In our experience, we believe that there is a direct correlation between conflict on site over contractual agreements (money and agreed works) when:
- You appoint the cheapest contractor,
- You appoint a contractor who is able to start immediately,
- You do not carry out the correct background checks
- You do not engage the services of a builder through the correct contract documents,
What is disappointing is that when conflict in this scenario is reached, we have found so many clients admitting that they ‘should have known better’, that they have ‘seen so many programmes about cowboy builders on TV’, and that they ‘would never had taken such a gamble in their field of work’, but most claim that they did so because all of the other contractors seemed ‘too expensive’.
- Still questioning if Project Management services is an optional extra?
If you really want to proceed with a development that does not have an element of Project Management, consider this question:
“In which other industry is it acceptable to hand your savings or borrowed money to a complete stranger, and trust them with one of your largest investments (house or development site) without a mechanism for safety or security in place?”
We know that it is hard enough to get to the stage where you have achieved your planning permission, obtained your construction drawings, been issued a party wall award and found a builder that you can afford…..but can you really afford at this point to disband any professional guidance appointed to protect your interests in favour of saving a few pounds because the builder seems friendly and says he/she will ‘project manage’ the development for you…?
Without a Project Manager looking after your best interests, who will be monitoring, regulating and ensuring that what you have in your plans and on your contract is going to be delivered?…and who is going to ensure that you have the right builder in place?
Companies will all have their strength and weaknesses, and we know that no two developments can be the same, but no development can confidently start off on the right foot without being prepared. This is where MSK Design makes the difference.