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Owner's Project Manager
Construction Manager

One of the most common questions we receive from prospective clients is “Do I need  an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) if there will be a Construction Manager (CM) assigned to the project?"

 The answer is 100% YES!

An OPM works on behalf of the Owner’s interest, serving a broader role, by overseeing the entire project-planning and execution process.

Over the course of a project, the OPM will be able to share a wide range of  experience and expertise gathered from years of previous projects. Many times, an OPM advises the owner not only on site selection, proper permitting, and identifying Owner costs outside of the CM budget, but also key design considerations of which many owners may not be aware.  All of this can save the owner considerable time and money on the overall project.  As the construction industry continues to become more detailed and technical, both with construction and technology upgrades, it is increasingly more difficult for an owner to know how a critical decision will affect a project in the long term.  


While a good Construction Manager will perform the work with the interest of the Owner in mind, having a knowledgeable advocate on the Owner’s team, can be invaluable. As OPM’s, our interest is in protecting the Owner and ensuring the Owner’s project Requirements are successfully met. 

Here are some key considerations on why OPM’s should be on each project:

  • An OPM is involved with the entire project including, site selection, design and contractor selection, permitting and move in.  This allows a project-wide perspective to prevent costly delays and set realistic expectations to the owner as the project progresses.

  • An OPM works on behalf of the Owner’s interest, acts as the Owner’s eyes and ears on the project,  and can advise the owner on all aspects of a project.  Bottom line, an OPM has no hidden agendas and protects the owner during all stages of the project.

  • A CM’s primary goal is to get a project built at all costs. CM’s track the construction schedule with input from the construction sub-contractors and the Owner’s Project Manager.  

  • CM’s manage personnel issues as well as proper job performance from each trade allowing OPM’s to focus on aspects of the project for which the owner may require additional attention.

  • An OPM’s primary goal is to protect the owner’s time, budget and overall project performance.  An OPM tracks the entire project schedule with special attention to owner related items.

An OPM works very closely with the client to gain a collective knowledge of the project.  More than knowing just the physical space needs of the client, an OPM has deeper knowledge from close collaboration with the client that brings an understanding of specific needs. It is this client relationship that yields a final result that is precisely what the client wants.

Paul Stafford is a new Project Manager at PCI Capital Project Consulting and wrote this article.

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