Finding the right construction project manager can make a huge difference in your experience bringing your project to life. A professional and proactive project manager can identify and anticipate problems before they become larger issues, and work to minimize the impact of any issues that arise on both the project completion timeline and budget. Effective construction project managers have a deep knowledge of all facets of the construction industry and are able to tap into that knowledge base to ensure that your project comes to life seamlessly.

The advantages of working with a great project management company are numerous, yet finding the right company to work with can be challenging. There are a large number of construction project management firms out there. Yet despite this fact, finding the right one can be tedious.

In this article, we’ll outline some helpful tips that can guide you in finding the best San Diego project management company for your specific project. We’ll explore strategies to filter down your list of potential companies to work with, and explore tactics to minimize your time spent searching. It should be noted from the outset that not every project manager will be the best for your company or project. Understanding this from the beginning will allow you to tailor your search to the construction project management companies that offer the services and experience that matches the demands of your project.

Define Your Expectations

The first step in finding the best construction project management company is to define your expectations about the service you would like them to provide. There are quite a few construction project management San Diego companies around, and each has a unique philosophy towards how they interact with their clients and bring their projects to completion. Throughout this search, a certain level of due diligence on your part will go a long way towards ensuring that you are interacting with a project management company that is reputable, professional and capable of delivering on its contractual obligations.

Before even beginning to look for a project manager to work with, take some time to consider exactly what type of services you’ll be wanting or needing. For example, are you looking to take a more hands-off approach to the project? If so, you’ll want a project manager that is capable of providing a full suite of liaison and oversight services for all aspects of the construction process. An area where this is often seen is in interactions between vendor and client. Some project management companies may serve as a primary point of contact between vendors and clients, whereas others may give the client greater flexibility in how and when they interact with vendors.

Your level of interaction in the construction process is a good starting point for figuring out what types of services you want in the project management company you utilize. It is also sometimes helpful to take some time to think about the whole construction process, and how you fit into it. If you want your project to be ready the day it is finished, you’ll want a detail-oriented project management team that offers some type of project completion service ensuring they will be guiding the project until all of the finishing touches are done. In this case it is important to find someone with great leadership and communication skills who will keep you in the loop when any important steps are made or when obstacles are in the way.

These examples are by no means exhaustive, but they should serve to highlight the importance of having clear expectations for the project management team that you choose. This will assist you in avoiding project management companies that don’t offer the service and background you are looking for. By choosing a project management company that does offer the services and type of expertise you want, you are much more likely to be satisfied when the project is finished.

Think About Scale and Industry

You’ll need to narrow down your search field somehow. There are simply too many construction project management companies out there. Like any other profession, project managers and project management firms tend to specialize in specific areas. For project managers, this can mean predominantly working on projects in a specific industry or of a certain size. These are two crucial areas that you can use to help narrow down your search field for a potential project team to work with.

You’ll want to work with a project management company that has a demonstrated experience successfully completing projects that are of the same size and complexity as your dream project, so that you can rest assured they will have the expertise, knowledge, and capability to bring your project to life.

In contrast to this, project management companies that don’t have a track record of working on large, complex projects may not be the best choice to start off with if your project is both large and complex. This isn’t to say that they wouldn’t be able to do it. Rather, it introduces a level of risk into the venture that could otherwise be minimized by going with another, more seasoned, project manager. Consider the fact that as construction projects become larger, the job of a project manager becomes increasingly complex. They must juggle an ever-increasing amount of entities and priorities, all while keeping information flowing and ensuring that your project remains on schedule and under budget. Because of this, if your dream project is complex, you should choose a company that has a track record of successfully tackling complex projects.

You will also want to narrow down your search field to project management companies that have demonstrated experience in your particular industry. Different industries have vastly different considerations, and project managers need to be intimately aware of the potential hazards and pitfalls inherent in the project they are working on in order to be most effective. If you are remodeling a building in the healthcare industry, you’ll want to work with a project manager that has experience in the healthcare industry themselves. At a basic level, this is giving you access to a greater level of understanding. At the same time, you are reducing the risks of running into problems by working with a project manager that has knowledge in your specific industry.

Look at Their Philosophy

Each project management company has a different philosophy that guides the construction management process and their business decisions. It is helpful to take some time to get to know the underlying philosophy of an organization before you work with them. This is especially true when you are deciding to work with a project management company. Working with a project manager requires a certain level of trust, given their autonomy in making decisions that guide the course of your construction project. As such, it is generally helpful to work with a project manager whose philosophy aligns with your own.

When thinking about a company’s fundamental approach to project management, consider some key factors that will influence your interactions with them. Foremost among these is how they approach interactions with the client. Do they prioritize listening to their client? This should be a high priority so that you can be assured that the outcome of your project is closely aligned with your goals from the outset. If you are working with a project manager with poor communication skills who doesn’t make your goals a top priority, it’s probably a good idea to find a new project manager who will.

You’ll also want to see how the project manager values communication. A large part of what project managers do is facilitate communication between the parties involved in a project. While this isn’t the only thing they do, it is an important part of their position. An understanding of the importance of communication between parties involved in the project should be embedded in their underlying philosophy. A project management company that prioritizes communication will most likely keep you better informed throughout the process, while also ensuring that each party involved in bringing your dream to life has the information they need to do their job.

Look at Their Qualifications

During your search, your due diligence efforts should include closely checking a company’s qualifications. Ultimately, you want to be assured that the company is capable of successfully guiding your project to completion. Effective project managers need a deep understanding of the construction process as a whole, from the design stage all the way through to closeout. This takes years of on-the-ground experience. You’ll want to work with a company that has a reasonably long background in project management if you are risk-averse, so keep this in mind when assessing potential project management companies to work with.

Researching what projects a project management company has successfully completed in the past can give you a great sense of whether they are qualified to take on your project. Set aside some time to look into and examine each company’s portfolio of completed projects. The company you choose to work with should have a history with a scope of work that aligns with both your industry and the scale of your project. Some construction project management companies have a diverse portfolio of finished projects, which can be advantageous as it demonstrates project managers that have extensive experience bringing their projects to completion successfully.

Look at Their Services

Just as not all general contractors are ideal for a specific project, not all project management companies are the best fit for every company. A large part of what makes a project manager a good fit for your project often comes down to what construction management services they offer. Project managers make life easier for the client by guiding the process from concept to finished product. The services they offer will give you a good sense of how exactly they go about doing this.

You will want to focus on how their services facilitate communication between parties involved in the construction process. You’ll also want to see how the services a project manager offers fulfill an oversight function throughout the construction process. Project managers should be involved in every facet of the construction process, and the services they offer should be a reflection of this. At the same time, their services should draw on their extensive experience. You will probably want to work with a project manager who is capable of handling the day-to-day realities of your project, including helping you select design and engineering teams, as well as helping you navigate the bidding process for general contractors.

A project management company’s services should be a reflection of their underlying process for completing projects. There should be a strong emphasis on facilitating communication between both the client and project manager, and between the different teams and entities working on your project. There should also be certain safeguards built into the services that reflect a mindfulness towards ensuring that each party meets their contractual obligations. This goes a long way towards completing your project on schedule. Lastly, the services a project management firm offers should be comprehensive enough to cover your project from beginning to end. Make sure that the project management team will engage you in the process of developing a strategic plan that aligns with your project goals, and has a breadth of services that allows for end-to-end supervision of the entire construction process.

Make Sure The Size Of Their Company Meets Your Requirements

When shopping for a construction project manager, you likely will come across smaller firms or individuals. They may not have the bandwidth to handle the size or complexity of your project. It is important to make sure any firm you consider is well equipped to handle the requirements of your project without being distracted by simultaneous projects. One of the benefits of hiring a larger firm is that they have multiple project managers under one roof (ensuring that your project manager will be focused on streamlining your project from A-Z.)

Final Thoughts

Finding a project management company in San Diego that is the right fit for your project can be challenging. You will have to exercise a certain level of due diligence in your research to ensure that you arrive at the best option for your particular project. You will also have to invest some time getting to know the project manager who will be assisting you with your project. Ultimately, there is no single answer for which project manager is the best, you will have to do the research to find a project manager that you trust, that communicates well with you, and has the knowledge and experience to capably turn your dream into a reality. Please contact Gilliland Construction Management today to find out how a project manager can help you turn your vision into a reality.

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By Kirt Gilliland

Nov 30, 2018