When executives at HMS Partners Advertising wanted to construct offices in a new building downtown, they hired an architect, a construction manager and a policeman.
Well, not really a man of the law, but rather, an owners representative someone with architecture and construction experience who could act as an advocate for HMS.
Alan Moser, executive vice president of HMS Partners, says Ron Kyser, president of R.C. Kyser & Associates Inc., policed the budget and scheduling for the $850,000 project.
He was an objective point of view, Moser says of Kyser, who has more than 25 years experience in construction management. There is a tendency for individuals building a home, just like a business building, to think youre being ripped off on every turn. You need someone to tell you, This ones fair, and this ones not.
Any construction project, Kyser explains, involves a triangle of people: the building owner, the architect or engineer and the contractor.
In that triad, the contractor and architect/engineer are very familiar with construction, Kyser says. The fellow that doesnt know anything about construction for the most part is the owner, and the owner is the one who pays the bills.
His role, he says, is to provide the owner with equal footing during negotiations, bidding and construction.
Moser points out that someone at HMS could have coordinated the project but might have created adversarial situations where none existed. That person also would have had to do a great deal of homework to understand the entire process first.
The HMS project was particularly difficult, Kyser says, because the companys old lease was expiring, but the new building wasnt quite ready for renovations. The six- or seven-month job to convert the new HMS space on Civic Center Drive ended up being compressed into five months.
Initially, Ron was HMS as far as our direct dealings, says Gary Rutledge, director of business development at Bovis Construction Corp., the projects construction manager.
Use of an owners representative, Rutledge says, provides a comfort level the client may need depending on his or her sophistication and availability of in-house staff. Kyser says his fees vary, because he charges based on the time hes involved in the project. However, some estimating manuals advise an owners representative fee should not exceed 1 to 2 percent of the construction cost or less for projects larger than $10 million, he adds.
Rutledge stresses that any successful construction project will involve parties communicating their needs and desires in a direct fashion as soon as issues come up.
Its better for everyone if it becomes a team development and open communication of, I dont understand that; can you please take the time to walk me through in better detail what it is this is all about? Rutledge says. On the other side, people who do this day in and day out use terminology and quickly go through things. They forget not everybody is at their level of understanding.
Its a combination of the contractor, construction manager and designer working in harmony to the benefit of the client to reach their objectives and manage their budget in the timeframe they need to, says Ed Hoffert, director of interior design at URS Greiner Woodward Clyde, the HMS project architect. If the owner can put together that kind of a harmonious team, everybodys the winner.
Joan Slattery Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor of SBN Columbus.