Do you have what it takes to project manage your own renovation work?


The success of a renovation project is often determined by the project manager in charge. What happens if you want to take on the management of your project yourself?

From planning the various stages of the construction project and monitoring its day-to-day progress on site to seeing it through to its eventual completion (on time and on budget) the job of project manager is very varied in nature and entails much responsibility for the success of a renovation project.

As project manager, not only is it your responsibility to ensure that what’s happening on site corresponds with the building drawings themselves, you’re also in charge of sourcing, employing (and paying!) the right tradespeople for the job, ensuring on-site security is up to scratch and maintaining adequate toilet facilities. As you can see, it’s not a job role that should be taken on lightly!

The benefits of being your own project manager

  • You don’t have to rely on hoping that another project manager’s interpretation of your vision is the same as yours. You’re in charge. This means, you’re able to do everything in your power to get your renovation project looking the way you always imagined it.
  • By doing it yourself, you can potentially save money that you would otherwise have spent on hiring a project manager to churn back into your renovation project.
  • You have more flexibility over work speed. For instance, if you hit a rough patch financially, you’re more easily able to take control and immediately halt, or delay, any non-essential work from taking place until after you’re more financially secure – and vice versa.
  • You have full control over deciding exactly who you employ and how much they are charging them. By sorting these arrangements out yourself (and taking the extra project management level out of the project management hierarchy) to deal directly with the tradespeople you employ, it’s much easier to determine whether or not you’re getting good value for money.

The downsides of managing your own project

  • The hours are incredibly long. Aside from being on site each day from eight in the morning until late, even when it’s your ‘day off’ you’ll need to be on site promptly to deal with any unexpected deliveries and unforeseen issues (fire or burst water pipes) and to meet various building inspectors. You’re constantly on call for the duration of the renovation project. How will you manage this around your current job which is financing your renovation projects?
  • It can be stressful and emotionally draining. You can’t expect your project to be all plain sailing, no matter how much planning and preparation you do. As a project manager you constantly have to deal with and adapt to changing situations – and the stresses these bring with them!
  • If you’re not already in the industry, you probably won’t have the necessary trades contacts – meaning you may end up choosing an unreliable tradesperson or feel like you’ve been ripped off. Take a look at our partners page for a list of the professionals whose services we trust and recommend to others.
  • Be aware of your insurance obligations! While individual tradesmen will more than likely hold their own insurances, these are quite limited in scope in general to the value of the works being carried out by them. Take a look at our handy knowledge base to see whether you need specific liability insurance or a JCT contract for your works.

What are your other project management options?

Not sure whether you have quite what it takes to be a project manager? You could always try enrolling on one of these construction project management course in advance of your renovation project. Otherwise, you could go down the route of hiring a main contractor, whose job it would be to oversee the day-to-day running of the site.

Alternatively, you could get in touch with a design and build company who offer full ‘turnkey’ service packages to see your whole renovation project through from start to finish. These companies can help with everything, from drawing up the initial building designs to sourcing construction materials and labour for the whole of your project.

One further option would be to opt a ‘mix and match’ type approach by blending certain aspects from each of the different strategies listed above. The choice is absolutely yours.

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