Development Managers and Project Managers. What is their value proposition?

The development manager together with the project manager is primarily responsible for the successful realisation of your project, on time and within budget. They effectively serve as the developers direct representative in dealings with all stakeholders including architects, town planners, councils, builders and engineers.

The developer may choose to either employ a team of development and project managers directly or outsource this role to a firm dedicated to providing these services.

In most cases, the development manager is involved right from the project’s inception through to completion whereas the project manager steps in to appoint the builder and manage construction delivery to close out the project. A visual break-down of the two roles is presented below:

NB: Arrows represent direct responsibility whereas dashed lines represent overseeing of the relevant phases

NB: Arrows represent direct responsibility whereas dashed lines represent overseeing of the relevant phases

Good Development Management

A development manager worth their salt will have the ability to foresee potential risks and know when to pivot to avoid/mitigate those risks. They must also be proficient at seeking out opportunities to maximise the profits of a project.

1. Knowledgeable in all aspects and phases of property development. A development manager must be a ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to the many disciplines involved in a project.

2. Great people and communication skills. Dealing with so many consultants and moving parts means clear communication is absolutely key to running a project smoothly.

3. Excellent ‘helicopter vision’ of where the project is currently sitting and where it needs to be heading

Good Project Management

A project manager will oversee all aspects of the design development and construction of a project whilst managing the critical tensions between cost, quality and time.

1. Cost Control

A project manager will continuously monitor all project costs incurred and to be incurred in future and ensure that total expenditure is in line with the feasibility as approved by the developer.

Effective design management and tender management ensures that variations are kept to a minimum and the builder is kept under control and held to the fixed price contract.

2. Quality Assurance

A project manager conducts ongoing evaluations of all the relevant design consultants and contractors as they work on the project to ensure the expected quality of the end product is delivered and uncompromised.

A good project manager will always keep the builder on their toes throughout all stages of construction to ensure there are no cutting corners and skimping on the details. Many first time developers simply give their builders carte blanche and in most cases this means they have free reign to save themselves costs everywhere possible and leave you with a substandard quality building.

3. Time Management

Time is money and delays equals money out of your bottom line.

A project manager will strictly ensure that builders are tracking on time and in accordance with the construction programme. For those unjustifiable time overruns, a project manager will ensure an appropriate penalty clauses is incorporate into the building contract to compensate the developer from any unjustifiable time overruns.

It is prudent to bear in mind that every project involves a multitude of people conducting tasks that are dependant upon others completing their tasks which means the various people involved will require constant co-ordination. This is where a good development and project manager can heavily influence the ultimate direction of your project and ensure your original vision is delivered successfully.

James Choi