The Other Side of the Table

Prior to working with Vigilant, my experience in the field of construction had led me to believe that it was a fairly straight forward process.  It was simple; the Owner identifies what they require for their project and then the contractor constructed what was needed from ‘a pile of drawings’. My past working experience had only involved working with companies whose projects were past the planning stage and were nearing completion.

When I joined the team at Vigilant I realized just how wrong I was when I said “construction is a straight forward process”.  As an Owner’s Project manager, Vigilant has introduced me to the pre-tender process, which can involve many hurdles that as a team we have to jump to insure smooth transitions throughout the project. 

To those reading who may have been in the same position as me and are currently wondering “what is this guy talking about?” Well, construction doesn’t start when the General Contractor arrives on site for the first time. Construction starts when the Owner consults an Owner’s Project Manager detailing what they require for the project. From there, we take those specifications and form a preliminary cost estimate, a scope of the work, and a request for proposal, which is sent out to design firms in order to convert the Owner’s idea into that ‘big pile of drawings’ I mentioned earlier. 

However, those drawings aren’t formed in just a few days; they originally start off as concept drawings which are sent to the owner for approval. Following approval, detail is added and issued for review to the Owner and Owner’s Project Manager. Finally, the drawings are built up to 99% completion and can be then issued for tender. This process, while seemingly quick and simple, doesn’t always work so smoothly. During the process many challenges and issues can develop (delays, corrections constantly being made, mismanaged communication, etc.), but this is where the Owner’s Project Manager intervenes as a middle ground to effectively keep the timeline on track.

While I am still a student and I have yet to decide which direction I want my career to go, whether it be an Owner’s Project Manager or not, the valuable knowledge and methods I have learned during my time at Vigilant will always carry through in the projects which I undertake after graduation.

-Robbie