Hands-on design management is undervalued

There is potential for real value to be achieved throughout the design process by applying a hands-on approach to design management based on practical experience and technical expertise.

The standard approach – focused on roles and responsibilities and sign-off gateways – is too process driven. There is always a place for the process, but the application of practical construction experience and knowledge can make a significant impact on staying within the project budget, while still meeting design quality and sustainability objectives. This is an often overlooked role for the project manager.

Project managers should actively engage in the design process with an understanding of how the project will be built, maintaining budget and how design efficiency can add value – as well as how it will look.

To do this today’s project managers need to have more than a basic understanding of construction methodologies and a deeper understanding of materials, logistics, programming and modern methods of construction.

Some clients will seek this input from a contractor rather than a project manager or design team, however far too often contractor involvement is left to the value engineering stage. In the context of Modern Methods of Construction this intervention needs to happen at the earliest stage so that the project is developed around the right methodology.

With our team having worked as main contractor, consultant and client we understand the different pressures and requirements each role has on a project but we strongly believe that by applying a construction management ethos through a ‘Project Management Plus’ service, we project managers should deliver real value on projects, using our knowledge and construction experience.

How many project managers really engage in the design process early in the project lifecycle? How many go into design in detail, from reviewing every drawing as it is issued to fully understanding intricate junction details or waterproofing designs?

Our belief is that robust, hands-on design management is under-valued and that it delivers a significant proportion of the benefits we bring to our clients. By investing in our people and providing project leadership we ensure that this ethos and mission is continually developed and delivered.


Project: Mercedes Benz Dealership, Stockport