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Jan 18, 2021
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Owner’s Representative vs Project Manager: What’s the Difference?

Post by 
Justin Dubrow
I

f you’re thinking about, or in the middle of, building a custom home in the Hamptons, you’ve probably decided that you need someone to oversee the project for you. And, you may have wondered about the difference between an Owner’s Representative vs Project Manager. Actually, it’s not an either/or decision.  The Owner’s Representative and various Project Managers have very different roles.

The Owner’s Representative is Your Advocate During Custom Home Construction

There is only one Owner’s Representative for each custom construction project. You hire that person because you don’t have the skills, time, or desire to monitor and coordinate all the moving parts that are required to complete the construction of your new home in the Hamptons. The Owner’s Rep is responsible only to you, and has a fiduciary responsibility to protect your interests and advocate on your behalf. A custom home build requires the skills of a variety of professionals, including architects, designers, construction workers, landscapers, and more.  It’s the responsibility of the Owner’s Rep to track the activities of those professionals, and coordinate their efforts to produce the final product. This central coordination has a number of functions, some of which are:

  • Monitoring the design team to make sure all required elements are incorporated into the plans without over-designing the project, which can cause budget and schedule overruns.
  • Monitoring construction progress to ensure quality expectations are met.  
  • Monitoring change orders to determine why the change order was issued, and if it will affect cost and timing because of a change by the owner or an oversight by a contractor.
  • Reviewing schedules and applications for payment.  

(Learn more here on our website if you’ve been wondering, “why hire an owner’s representative?” )

An Owner’s Representative doesn’t manage the project. Contractors are responsible for managing their employees, costs, and timelines to meet project obligations. The Owner’s Rep is responsible for working with all the contractors to ensure that they are putting your interests first, and to avoid miscommunications or disputes. As a result of their efforts, an Owner’s Rep can help you save money because they’re skilled at spotting opportunities for cost savings. In addition, they can prevent miscommunications or disputes among vendors that can result in expensive delays or cost increases.

Project Managers are Responsible for Completing the Work

You don’t choose between an Owners Representative vs Project Manager. It’s likely that each of the contractors working on your house will have a Project Manager responsible for completing their part of the project. The Project Managers will create a plan, assign tasks, procure materials, and hand over a completed project. The General Contractor will assign a Project Manager, who is typically the most visible manager on the job. The General Contractor’s Project Manager is the main point of contact for construction and is responsible for the day-to-day activities on the site. That person will:

  • create the construction schedule
  • communicate with subcontractors
  • procure materials
  • submit pay applications
  • ensure that the construction is delivered in accordance with the design team’s specifications

The other professionals involved in the project may assign their own Project Managers. For example, an architect may assign a Project Manager to create the design schedule and assign tasks to the design team to complete their scope of work. All of the Project Managers will provide regular updates to the Owner’s Representative. The Owner’s Representative will collect questions from all the Project Managers that require you to make a decision, and any requests for changes.  

It’s Not an Owner’s Representative vs Project Manager Decision

The Owner’s Representative makes it easy for you because you’ll only need to work with one person. The Owner’s Representative will stay in close contact with you to report on progress and to obtain your direction, regardless of which contractor needs you to make a decision.  If you want to ensure that your new home in the Hamptons is completed to your satisfaction without straining your time or budget, an Owner’s Representative can help you achieve that goal.

For more information, send us an email.

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