8 min

Project Manager: An Essential Actor in the Building Sector

Maître d’œuvre

A construction project manager is one of the professionals involved in the construction sector, handling projects ranging from construction, renovation, expansion, to interior design. Ever-present in architectural work, they play a pivotal role in coordinating the site. Are you planning to build or renovate your house? Have you heard of a construction project manager and want to learn more about this professional? Discover in this article the definition of this actor, their role, tasks, and obligations.

What is a Construction Project Manager?

By definition, a Construction Project Manager, also known as a "Maître d’œuvre" or MOE, is a participant responsible for overseeing the execution and proper completion of works on a construction site. They can be either an individual (architect or architectural engineer) or a legal entity (engineering firm, architectural firm, construction company). Mandated by the Client or Owner, known as the "Maître d’ouvrage" or MOA, this actor advises, supports, and implements the technical needs and wishes of the Client.

As a true conductor, the construction project manager acts as an interface with the various trades (craftsmen and companies) involved in the construction site. They take charge of the operational management of a construction site concerning deadlines, techniques, and costs. They must ensure compliance with the specifications and the contract to ensure the project's conformity with what was requested.

It is noteworthy that the construction project manager and the client are entirely different, especially in terms of their roles. The client is considered the customer, the one who commissions the work. They can be an individual or a professional working on behalf of a final client, who is usually the owner of the house or apartment. Indeed, the latter may seek a building specialist with whom they will sign a contract to entrust them with "project management assistance."

In some cases, project management and project ownership can be handled by a single participant.

What are the Duties of a Construction Project Manager?

Tasked with leading the project, the construction project manager is present from its conception until the keys are handed over. Therefore, they have specific duties before, during, and after the construction site.

Before the Construction Site

Prior to commencing construction, the construction project manager's duty is to assist the client in designing the project. They conduct in-depth studies on the technical and legal feasibility of the works by meticulously reviewing the local urban planning regulations (PLU). They identify any construction errors and technical constraints of the works and propose solutions to address them.

The client may also entrust the construction project manager with administrative tasks related to the works. This may include handling the application for a building permit or prior declaration of works. They may also assist in compiling the documentation to qualify for financial assistance in the context of renovation (such as MaPrimeRénov', zero-interest eco-loan, reduced VAT, etc.).

Once the preliminary studies are completed, the construction project manager translates the client's wishes into sketches. They assist the client in estimating and budgeting the project. Subsequently, they prepare a quote and estimate the overall cost of the works. They can then advise on the selection of craftsmen and companies to carry out the project. However, they cannot make decisions on behalf of the client. Their mission is simply to assist the client in selecting the participants.

Once various craftsmen and companies have been recruited, the construction project manager will handle their employment contracts. Then, they prepare site visits and coordinate meetings.

During the Works

During the construction works, the construction project manager remains primarily responsible for the works. They oversee and coordinate the site. They must ensure that the works are carried out within the deadlines, budget constraints, and quality standards. They establish clear and detailed work schedules and control all craftsmen and companies involved in the project.

Moreover, it is the construction project manager's responsibility to monitor daily material expenses. They also supervise all work costs according to the predetermined market. In doing so, they choose materials and equipment at each stage of the project.

After the Construction Site

As the primary responsible party for the successful completion of the project, the construction project manager ensures the perfect completion of the site. They must verify whether the works fully comply with the specifications. They then lead any necessary rectification procedures.

After the inspections, they assist the client in accepting the works. They draft the handover report, which may include reservations (non-compliance, defects, or material errors) or be without reservations (everything complies with the order). Once this document is signed, warranty periods (defects liability warranty, ten-year warranty, construction insurance) are triggered.

What are the Responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager?

As the individual responsible for overseeing the smooth progress and execution of works, the construction project manager primarily has a duty to advise the client. They must explain to the client the various aspects of the operation, including the risks, advantages, and disadvantages of particular architectural choices.

Moreover, according to Article 1792 of the Civil Code, the construction project manager is automatically liable to the client for damages that may compromise the structural integrity of the structure or render it unfit for its intended use. This liability extends for up to 10 years after the completion of the works. Therefore, a ten-year liability insurance is imperative to cover any necessary repairs.

Like all craftsmen and companies in the construction industry, construction project managers must have professional liability insurance. This coverage is essential in the event of bodily, material, or immaterial damage occurring during the construction site.

Who Can Apply for the Position of Construction Project Manager?

Primarily, the construction project manager is an architect. In fact, the intervention of this professional is mandatory if the ground area or floor area of the project house exceeds 170m2 and if the works require a building permit. Therefore, if acting as a construction project manager, they are involved in the establishment of plans and oversee all stages of the operation.

The construction project manager can also be an engineer. Depending on the scale of the project, the involvement of an engineering and architectural specialist is necessary. This is particularly useful if the technical characteristics of the site involve complex calculations.

A construction economist can also take on the role of construction project manager. This is a particularly relevant choice for large-scale projects where the budget must be calculated precisely.

Additionally, the construction project manager can be a consulting firm or a construction company.

How to Become a Construction Project Manager?

To be a competent construction project manager, numerous skills and qualities are required. Therefore, it is essential to undergo appropriate training.

Education

n principle, no specific education is mandatory to apply for the position of construction project manager. However, qualifications allowing this construction industry professional to practice their own profession (architect, engineer, construction economist) are required. Depending on the activity of this actor, different diplomas are necessary, such as:

  • A degree in construction engineering,
  • A BTS (Advanced Technician's Certificate) in construction studies and economics,
  • A BTS in building construction,
  • A degree obtained from a business school,
  • A DUT (University Diploma of Technology) in civil engineering,
  • A professional license in building and construction,
  • A state diploma in architecture (allowing one to become a licensed architect).

Professionals in the construction industry seeking to transition to construction project management can undergo various training programs to acquire the necessary skills for managing a construction site. In this case, they can specialize in one of the following themes:

  • Management of construction projects,
  • mastery of current regulations,
  • management of project management contracts,
  • understanding and identification of the legal framework of a construction site,
  • project management in BIM (Building Information Modeling).

There are therefore several ways to enter the profession of construction project manager. They can then work as an employee or on their own (by creating a project management company) depending on their skills and experiences.

Required Qualities

The qualities of a good project manager depend on the criteria and requirements of the project owner or client. In any case, it should be noted that project management is a role that requires a good understanding of construction and current regulations, as well as versatility.

Thus, in order to successfully carry out their mission, project managers must possess the following qualities :

  • Service-oriented to advise and support the project owner in all stages of the project.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills to establish effective dialogue with all stakeholders on the site.
  • Reactivity and stress resistance to manage the various uncertainties of the project.
  • Rigor and punctuality to ensure adherence to the project schedule.
  • Organizational skills and attention to detail to optimally coordinate the various activities on the site.

Tasked with overseeing the entire project from start to finish, project managers must have strong management skills. Additionally, proficiency in computer tools, such as CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software, is a significant asset.

What are the benefits of hiring a project manager?

If you're considering construction or renovation work, you're probably wondering if it's worthwhile to hire a project manager. Here are the 5 main advantages of engaging the services of this project conductor:

Expert Advice

Do you already have an idea of your future home in mind? Do you want to know if your project is feasible or not? The project manager can help you gain clarity. You'll have the opportunity to be listened to. Simply communicate your needs, concerns, requirements, and budget to them. From there, this expert will develop plans to interpret your ideas in a professional language to the artisans and workers.

Tailored Project

By contacting a project manager to renovate or build your house, you'll ensure the realization of a unique project, tailored to your expectations. Indeed, this professional won't present you with a pre-prepared project. They will rely on your descriptions, desires, and budget. For each of their clients, they'll provide personalized services and propose a one-of-a-kind project.

Reliable Technical Studies

The project manager will primarily assist you with technical studies. In a construction project, in particular, land studies are more complex. Indeed, the nature of the soil and its characteristics are important criteria in determining the construction techniques to adopt. This expert will provide you with reliable analysis to ensure the success of your project.

Best Choice of Materials and Partners

Depending on the nature and scope of your project (construction or renovation), the project manager will select teams with the required skills. They may recommend a particular artisan based on their qualifications and propose them at the appropriate time during the progress of the work. They'll also assist you in choosing quality materials. In this case, they'll advise you on the most reliable suppliers.

Better Site Management

The project manager is mainly tasked with organizing the site, supervising the work, and coordinating the stakeholders. All of these steps require know-how and skills. As a construction professional and conductor, this expert has the technical knowledge to successfully manage the project until the keys are handed over.

Effective Budget Management

Thanks to their professional contacts and experiences, collaborating with a project manager will allow you to anticipate the costs of materials to be used in advance. You'll be able to establish a more realistic budget forecast. Moreover, each contract will be detailed for each trade in all stages of the project. In this case, you'll have no difficulty in tracking and managing your budget.

Mathieu Amara

Mathieu Amara

Graduated in political science, I have always been passionate about renovation and construction work.

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