Whether renovating existing space or building a new veterinary hospital, using a professional construction manager (“CM”) on your veterinary hospital project increases the potential for successful project completion – on time, within budget and free of financial or legal complications. Construction management is a professional service to oversee the planning, design, and construction of a project.
Construction management is particularly vital to veterinary hospital projects because the typical hospital owner is a veterinarian, not a contractor or real estate developer. A CM will advise the veterinary owner in making decisions on the design, the selection of the contractor, the budget and the schedule. Further, when a veterinary hospital project includes a CM early in the process, the CM is not only able to better plan for potential problems, but the project also benefits from the CM’s ability to make recommendations that save money and time on the project.
Planning and Designing
The first step in working with your CM is the planning and organizing stage. This involves creation of design plans and budgets. A qualified CM will coordinate between the veterinary owner and the designer to ensure that the design meets the veterinary owner’s objectives for the project, while also fitting within the project budget. A CM experienced in veterinary hospital projects can provide valuable insights into the design process. The CM will also manage the construction schedule to make sure all project parties have realistic expectations.
Pre-construction construction management services also include bidding and selecting contractors, and coordinating with the local construction officials and zoning and planning boards to make sure all required permits and approvals are properly in place. Having a qualified CM on the job allows the veterinary owner to focus on their practice and not get sidetracked by the details of the construction process.
The other key role played by the CM is to facilitate the flow of information among the parties. A CM that is integrated into the project early on in will ensure that all of the players have the information they need to finish their part of the task. By aiding in the flow of information, CMs can ensure that costly delays resulting from stagnant communication don’t occur.
The CM also acts as the owner’s eyes and ears on the project and monitors the progress and quality of the construction. By keeping tabs on the process, the CM may anticipate and avoid delays by guiding the contractors in timely ordering materials and ensuring proper sequencing of the different trades, i.e., carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.
Indeed, troubleshooting is one of the main charges of the CM. If the CM becomes aware that the project is not moving along in accordance with the schedule or budget, the CM can make adjustments and improvements to assist in keeping the project on track.
Construction managers also provide centralized communication between contractors, owners and designers. A veterinary owner who has a qualified representative overseeing the project on their behalf that speaks the language of all of the players is a great tool for ensuring fewer problems and disputes.
A CM’s role does not end with the completion of the work. Rather, support in the form of resolving disputes, making sure no liens are filed, approving the work and making final payments removes that burden from the veterinary owner. The CM will also work with local government to obtain temporary certificates of occupancy and certificates of occupancy, which are crucial at the end of the project.
In the event a project issue evolves into a dispute, owners and their attorneys heavily depend on the CM for aid in the claims process as the CM was on the front line of the project.
Benefits of Construction Project Management
Some owners attempt to avoid costs by scrimping on construction management costs. This does not make sense. However, the reality is that if an effective CM is in place, budget overruns, delays, defects, conflicts and claims can be avoided – all of which result in significant cost saving to the owner.
Finally, the improvements in overall construction project communication, efficiency, and cost provided by effective construction management cannot be disputed. Having a great CM on the job makes sure the right people do the right things at the right times, the result = project success.