Robert Merry is an independent Stone Consultant and Project Manger who also runs training courses on project management. He continues this series of his thoughts on successful estimating and project management with a discussion of: Who’s who on a building site.
As well as the abbreviations of contract speak, there is the dramatis personae of the Theatre of Contracting. A brief sketch of most of the players follows below. Each contract and Main Contractor will have a slightly different set up, but generally the cast is the same.
Site Manager/Agent: Very important, runs the site, knows all and is high on your list of people to get on with. He may not know much detail about your profession, but will have a basic working knowledge. A large contract will have managers looking after different levels or trades who report to the main Site Manager.
Programmer: On a larger site. the programmer will be writing weekly or monthly updates to the programme.
PM – Project Manager: Invariably works directly for the owner, has a ‘helicopter’ view of the whole project and will have little to do with the subbies – that’s you.
Contracts Manager: Middle management for Main Contractor or Sub-Contractor, looking after several jobs probably, turning up to meetings, making notes, pricing extras, running the team on site and keeping the administrative wheels well greased and turning.
Contracts Director: More ‘helicopter’ vision but from the Main Contractors side usually.
QS – Quantity Surveyor: A person I have much maligned in previous articles, probably with some justification. When they work for the builder their job usually entails making sure you don’t get paid all you ask for. Equally, they can be very reasonable and highly intelligent people when they work for you.
PQS – Project Quantity Surveyor: The client’s Quantity Surveyor. They’re the ones who can withhold money from the main contractor and are probably high on the list of most disliked Quantity Surveyors. Equally they can be very intelligent and… (cringe).
CA – Contracts Administrator: Named in the contract and usually signing off the contractor’s valuations for payment. Often the architect, but can be the PQS or the PM.
Project Architect: Quality control, in the muck and bullets on a daily basis. At first appearing to make everyone’s life easier by making decisions on the hoof to keep the work flowing. Later carrying out detailed snagging lists that would make a saint blush. I have seen them wander round a room with pencil lights, peering at every joint, as the sub-contractor beside them changes colour with rage and indignation.
Designer: The fun, cuddly one, who questions every item’s aesthetic appeal, decides nothing (in most cases) but is the arbiter of all good taste.
The client: The reason the rest of us are here, of course. Some seem to be missing completely, only visiting after we have all gone home, leaving tell-tale signs such as menthol cigarette butts in the garden. Others live nearby and drop in regularly to see how things are progressing while leaving the nasty stuff to their team of architects, designers, project managers and PQSs. Others visit and close the site, so important is their status.
All in all a mixed bunch and all doing a job or providing us with one, so let’s not knock them. Happy contracting.
Robert Merry ran his own stone company for 17 years and is now an independent Stone Consultant and Project Manager. He also delivers training programmes on all aspects of Estimating and Project Management – details and dates on the website.
Tel: 0207 502 6353 / 07771 997621 [email protected]