It is true; not all projects need an owner’s representative. Determining if you need one is complicated, but here are some points to consider:

  1. Project Size. The smaller the project, the less the likelihood that a third-party project manager is required. Generally speaking, projects under $1.5M lack the complexity and scale to absorb the additional costs. Consider engaging project managers’ on-call services to procure your the architect and general contractor, negotiate contracts, and serve as an advisor throughout the project.
  2. This can be tricky because often, in-staff believes they have the capacity and experience to manage all phases of a project, but many times, they don’t and become overloaded. Owner’s representatives typically average about three to four projects simultaneously; this specialization keeps us at the top of our game and can make us a better match for the tasks at hand. Leadership has to determine how to procure outside consultation while not undermining existing staff.
  3. We don’t pitch our services by claiming that for every dollar you spend, you will save two. Approach those service providers who do with caution. Our team reduces the owner’s time and risk and has established processes that can lead to cost savings through proper scope clarification, design reviews, and project setup. Hiring additional consultants can be a challenge as many times, it appears that there is an overlap in scope between ours and other team members. Like hiring a qualified attorney or CPA, it isn’t easy to define the value until you go through the experience.
  4. Many architects and general contractors don’t outwardly promote our services. There are good reasons for this. Introducing a consultant that they don’t know could lead to more work, increased risk, and costs. Additionally, the added consultant could create distance between the ownership team and themselves. An effective owner’s representative will work on behalf of the project and shoulder the owner’s workload, not create more work for the team.
  5. Although owner’s representation has been around for some time  — Darth Vader was the owner’s representative on the Death Star–many clients faced with managing a capital improvement project don’t know our services exist and what value they bring. Unlike architects and contractors, we don’t produce a deliverable such as drawings or the built environment. The lack of a tangible product makes our services less comprehensible.
  6. Although organizations like COAA and PMI exist, they don’t have the brand recognition of the AIA and AGC. The owner’s representative role lesser-known but typically delivers a significant return on investment.

We are here to help! Our team respects the challenges related to the point of entry owners faced in working with an owner’s representative. Over our sixteen years, we have established a reputation and brand that brings value to projects. Reach out to me our any of our team here to discuss your project and vet what services would be of benefit.

Paul Wember, President