Architects Vs Construction Managers: A Game Of Thrones

The building construction industry is a wide industry that encompasses many professionals. Recently, a bill has been introduced in parliament touching on the little known profession of construction management. According to the bill, each construction project should have a a professional manager who will oversee the construction process. Traditionally, this role was reserved for the architect and as expected the bill has raised mixed reactions largely by virtue of the fact that role of the construction manager is still a new concept in Kenya.

An architect is primarily a design professional who will come up with plans that will form the basis for construction. A construction manager or CM will plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise the construction project from start to finish. The purpose of the CM is to control a project’s time, cost and quality. The profession is not new per se since “management” of construction has been around, of necessity, for as long as construction itself and was provided as an ancillary service by architects or engineers in other instances, and as a routine part of what construction contractors do.

The argument behind having construction managers as a separate profession relates to the changing times and demanding requirements of the industry. Construction projects have become complex as different professions are involved in one single project and all these have to be managed and coordinated in order to achieve a project’s objectives. In addition, tough economic times means that every penny counts. This results to a need to exercise higher level of control while executing the construction process so as to minimize delays and at the same time giving best value for money. The building owner’s needs have also evolved. While, originally most owners were concerned with the initial cost, nowadays they will prioritize sustainable development and look at the overall asset life cycle performance to make decisions relating to the project. For this, they will need an expert well versed in construction techniques and technology to advise them This is the niche that a well trained and experienced CM will be able to fill. The Construction Management Bill, therefore, is a definite step in the right direction.

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