• Duane C. Barney

Do you need an owners' representative for the construction of your dream project?

Why do you need a construction consultant, for the same reasons you hire an accountant, lawyer or financial planner; they are professional who know their business and are looking out for you. Construction has its own pit falls, it has its own language, processes and procedures. None are that complicated; you can either spend the time to learn or hire someone who already knows the pitfalls. Just like the man who hires himself to be his own lawyer; overseeing all the aspects of your next construction project can produce the same results.

You need to surround your self with the best team possible. The architect will take your ideas and vision and create a fantastic design that will achieve your goals. From there the process begins to get a bit confusing. The architect with take those great design sketches and produce Construction Documents, CD’s consisting of Blueprints, specifications and proposed contract terms.

These documents are the first pivotal step in the process, the problem is most clients cannot comprehend blueprints or understand the specification, let alone actually try to read them. However, these documents will be the basis for EVERYTHING going forward. They are your dream written in the language of construction, every line, note and symbol mean something to the GC and the tradesmen who will complete the work. These documents will also be the basis fop the project pricing, everything that is shown is budgeted but if not indicated it is not included. To give you a fair price for the work the GC can only price to provide and install what is shown. They are not obligated to guess or even account for the code; their job by contract makes them responsible for means and methods to execute the work as shown, nothing more; nothing less. Accordingly, these documents will be the primary reference document for the construction contract and your legal relationship to the contractor. The CD’s will also be the basis for any proposed changes or unforeseen conditions, so they are extremely important to the financial outcome of the project.

In summary, you are building your dream, spending a large amount of money, you are managing a process you are not familiar with, based on documents you don’t fully understand. What could go wrong?

A Construction Consultant or Owner Representative, is your COO to manage and oversee the entire process, they can be hired on a retainer basis, full time or both based on the project needs. The OR is there to look out for your interest, they are fully adept at construction and can smell a problem long before it is an issue. Depending on your needs they can be retained from inception to assist in everything from land acquisition, design, government regulations, architect and contractor selection and the management of the myriad of consultants, engineers and designers outside of the architects and GC’s scope of work. The OR will have in depth knowledge regarding the project financials and will provide oversight with regards to billing and change orders. Your role will still be quite extensive as it is your home and you make the final call, but the OR will work closely with the team on your behalf to sort out issues and bring solutions instead of problems to your desk.

Consider how you manage your business and affairs then decide if you need a professional to mange the construction of your dream project.

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