5 Reasons You Need an OPM for Your Higher Education Construction Project

Construction projects are common for universities and colleges. So common that 47% of higher education institutions predict increases in construction activity on their campus in the next three years.

Building new residence halls, academic buildings, and student centers are complex projects that require expert oversight. Most administrators don’t have that expertise because managing construction projects is not their daily job. That’s why hiring an owner’s project manager (OPM) is an essential step in ensuring these large, complex projects run smoothly.

Managing the different phases of complex construction projects is what OPM's do every day. They provide an important level of expertise your in-house team may not have. And they act on your behalf to oversee the entire process and make sure the project is completed successfully.

Here are 5 reasons you need an owner’s project manager for your next academic construction project:

1. Improved communication

The OPM works as part of the project team through every step of the construction process. Yet unlike other team members their sole responsibility is to represent the institution's best interests.

They manage the communication between all the team members, which leads to better collaboration. They also keep the owner fully informed of any changes or issues that may occur.

2. Better risk management

All construction projects include some level of risk, especially more complex projects like higher education facilities. There are many challenges that can arise during a project, from unforeseen costs to unexpected snags that lengthen the schedule. In the worst case, the project will not be delivered on time or to requirements.

Having an OPM on board helps to manage those risks. This is because they provide another pair of expert eyes reviewing designs and plans. They are able to spot potential problems, avoid issues, and resolve problems quickly.

3. Access to a large pool of experts

Working with a professional project management firm also provides universities and colleges with access to a large pool of experts. From architects to engineers, a good OPM should have a multi-disciplined team with a range of knowledge and skills. They provide oversight during every phase of a project, not just during construction.

You'll gain peace of mind knowing your project is in expert hands. This means you and your staff can spend less time worrying about the project and more time focused on your other work.

4. Improved schedule management

Part of an OPM’s job is to develop and manage the project schedule and make sure everything stays on track. They take proactive steps to keep the schedule moving. They also spot and address any issues that may cause delays.

A project not completed on-time can have serious consequences, such as classes having nowhere to meet or students having nowhere to live. Last minute scrambling to make other arrangements is no way to start a new semester. Such issues can also damage your institution’s reputation.

An OPM’s oversight is a vital way to avoid these issues and keep your project on schedule.

5. Control costs and expenditures

Another key role of an OPM is to oversee project budgets and expenditures. They work on budget development to create an accurate financial picture for the university or college. They also track spending to make sure expenses do not go over budget.

An OPM can also help with value engineering and identifying savings measures to keep the project budget as low as possible. In short, they help your institutions develop the best budget possible and make sure your projects stay within that budget.

With the recent boom in campus construction, hiring an owner's project manager should be the first step you take when planning your next higher education project.

Contact us to learn how our expert team can help your next project run as smoothly as possible.