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Working with project managers

Having a contract and clear lines of communication will enhance your working relationship with the project manager.

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Have a contract

There are many different arrangements you can come to with a project manager. And that means there is room for misunderstanding. Whatever combination of services and responsibilities are decided on, for everyone’s protection, make sure everything is recorded in a written and signed contract.

Communication is the key

In any relationship you enter into, the key is good communication. With your project manager, have agreed channels of communication for things like approving variations, or getting updates on progress, or knowing when progress payments are due.

Have regular meetings. This is particularly important if you are managing part of the contract, for example, supplying some of the materials or bringing in your uncle who is an electrician. The project manager needs to be happy that the materials are right for the specifications and that the electrician will turn up when required.

Your project manager has the crucial role of keeping everyone involved in the project informed so that everything happens on time.

Pre-contract conference

Your project manager might organise a pre-contract conference or you can suggest it to them as a good way to set the project up. If you are managing the project yourself, this is essential to get off to a good start.

The project manager will invite you, the main contractor, the subcontractors, the architect or designer (if different from the project manager), the engineers, quantity surveyor or anyone who will be working on your house project.

Everyone introduces themselves and says what they will be doing. An outline of the project is discussed – the programming of all the stages, the budget and terms of payment, the channels for communication, and the quality checks. Any special requirements or likely problems can be gone over and solutions suggested. At the end, everyone should feel like they are working in a team and can work together so that delays are minimised.

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