Who Should Be Running Your Building Project?

THERE ARE A NUMBER of ways to build (or renovate) the space you need; each method has unique attributes, techniques, advantages and disadvantages. Your decision as to which professionals you use will be determined by your business plan.


A mixed use design, for example, might entail locally based real estate agents guiding you on market demographics and desirable attributes. Purpose built space might entail quite specific architectural plans, so a fully qualified architect is advisable.

Client Side Project Manager (CSPM)

A CSPM is essentially a management consultant specialising in the property and construction business. They can manage the entire process and generally have management and logistics qualifications.

They put detailed and costed plans together and work with contractors, advisers and organisations to achieve an end goal and business outcomes.

CSPMs are professionals at sourcing services and can coordinate and facilitate the job to ensure the business plan's objectives are met. A CSPM can be viewed as an independent guide or treated as part of the business team.

Advantages of CSPMs:
  • Have unlimited scope across construction and are able to source all resources of the project.
  • They are management professionals, and can assist with planning, strategy and logistics and can assist from a very early period in the development process.
  • They take pressure off the business owner and act as the knowledge base for decision.
  • They are abreast of the day-to-day and commercial management of the project.
  • They are experts in their field and can prepare scopes and convert your intentions into instructions.
  • They are a centre of influence for the project.
  • They can identify and mitigate risks throughout the project.

Project Architect

The project size will probably determine whether you seek the help of an architect. It makes sense for many developments because of the complex development consent many commercial projects require and the difficult nature of some commercial builds.

Architects can facilitate the project and guide it through the process. Architects specialise in the design component but if a project is small enough, they will be able to manage it from concept to completion.

Often, architectural firms will also have their own in-house project managers to assist with their clients' needs.

Advantages of using an Architect:
  • They can produce ideas and concepts within weeks. 
  • They can keep project costs down by not over-resourcing with multiple consultants.
  • They specialise in the design and can give the business some control if it wants to undertake a more involved approach to the project.
  • They are experts at their profession and can provide excellent advice.
  • Architects are necessary to the project, without an architect you have no project.

Deal Direct -- The Builder

Dealing direct with the builder has the advantage of cutting out any middle-people -- decisions can be made quickly and you'll receive direct feedback regarding the feasibility of said decisions.

Builders know the 'coalface' process of construction and are able to source contractors, and often, project manage a build. Should you find a reliable builder that you create a good relationship with, then future projects can become a possibility.

You, as project owner, will need to take a much more hands-on management role with a builder to keep firm control on costs. Unless you have a good grasp of the terminology, processes, materials and legislation this can be daunting for many people.

Advantages of going direct through a builder:
  • Information is first-hand 
  • Can be cheaper than using professional managers and consultants.

Bottom Line: Simply make sure you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using a CSPM, Project Architect and Builder before embarking on your next project.