Saturday, December 15, 2012

Owner's Representative not to be confused with Construction Manager or Project Manager

I believe many owners simply are not aware of how beneficial Owner Representation is and what it does.  And in some instances confuse Owner Representation with Construction and/or Project Management:
Project Management is the coordination of Time, Equipment, Money, Tasks and People;

Construction Management is the process of organizing and directing men, materials and equipment to accomplish the purpose of the designer; and

Owner Representation is the effective third party hired by the owner in the absence of any or little experience and/or knowledge of the building construction process by the owner. 

Usually Owner Representatives have experience and/or knowledge in planning, design, construction, construction management, project management, real estate and the overall development process with the ability to anticipate and solve problems in a timely manner.

The following is a partial list of common tasks and activities appointed to Owner Representative by the Owner:


Liaison between the project participants and the owner (sometimes the owner’s management staff or team); 

Advises and assists the owner in the need for a project team, who should be on the team, team selection, qualifying the team, and hiring the team;

Advises and assists the owner in the need for a project schedule and budget including the respective tasks and activities;  

Attends and participates in municipal  planning, design and review meetings on behalf of the owner;  

Monitors the design and development process pursuant to the owner’s best interests, desires, and expectations; 

Oversees the overall design process to insure that the contract documents are prepared and completed on a timely basis and the final design complies with the owner’s expectations; and 

 When given the authority executes documents and contracts on behalf of the owner

 During Construction
Insures compliance with the contract/construction documents by recognizing, resolving and responding to issues and problems for the purpose of avoiding conflicts and delays; 

Manages and responds to costs and payment requests from project resources such as the Construction Manager, Architect, Engineer, Contractor(s), and owner’s vendors; and

Insures that the contract documents are being executed correctly.

Post Construction

Assists the owner in occupying the property/project;  

Monitors the project for defects and/or deficiencies as reported by the occupants of the project and prepares and transmits such information to the contractor and/or responsible parties; 

and Organizes and attends the one year inspection if mandated by the contract documents and/or statutory requirements. 

Perhaps others can comment on and/or offer addition benefits of Owner Representation or even services needed by owners when undertaking building construction projects.



  1. CPC Consulting specializes in Construction Planning],
    Project Controls Consulting, Construction Scheduling], Construction Project Controls]
    providing clients with detailed quantity and pricing for all project phases.

    1. Misu, all of your links are broken making it difficult for anyone to see the services you are offering.

  2. Hello. Thanks for the informative post. I was wondering what is the average cost to hire an home owner's representative for a construction cost of about one million dollars in Northern California. I appreciate your comment on this.


    1. Minoo,

      Depending on the scope of work, duties assigned and complexity of your project will drive the cost of the Owner Representative services. However, using the Wage tables for the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics it appears that the mean average annual wage for Construction Managers (there are no statistics for Owner Representative) is between $100,000.00 to $110,000.00 or $50.00 plus per hour for the Northern California area. However, it is not uncommon to see fees ranging from 1.5 to 10.0 (sometimes more) percent of the cost of construction plus reimbursable expenses. Negotiating a fee that is mutually beneficial for both parties and the project is the best rule of thumb. If you have further questions please post again. Or take a look at our publications "Construction Management Made Easy" and "Construction Like Sushi" both of which can assist in screening and hiring professionals. Good Luck.

  3. As a registered Architect in several states and nationally certified for decades, I find the whole Owner's Rep (O.R) business to be quite redundant. We, as licensed professionals, which most O.Rs are not, not only do all the tasks that O.Rs do and far more, but have always done so. When the market crashed and professional fees got cut, many Architects, not all, gave up many of those tasks. Hence the insurgence of O.Rs. Today, we find that O.Rs are more focused on "beating" the Architect's and Engineers fees down to below their cost, than they are on making all members of the "team", work seamlessly together, in harmony, assure the proper value from all consultants and contractors and to manage the entire process to meet the client's schedule and budget. To "beat" the professionals down to or below their costs is a foolish place to save money for surely, the "A" teams can no longer be part of the team, but rather the "C" teams and ultimately, the Client or Owner will suffer tremendously from unnecessary Change orders that will surely amount to several times the amount of money carved away from the professionals.

    1. The role of the owner's rep is to be the knowledgable person who is looking out for client when the client does not have the time or expertise to do it themselves. The O.R. helps define the project, write the RFP to select the architect, select a contractor, coordinate the needs assessement, and oversee the whole process from the point of view of owner. He is there to make sure everyone is doing their job to meet the needs of the client. The time and experience to oversee ones own construction often is not "in house". An owner's representative is not required for every organization, but is required when the "right" person is not available. If the OR's or the owner's beat the price down to below cost, it does not serve anyone, I agree.

    2. ChristoHug,
      Very well written but I have one question. What do you mean when you say "If the OR's or the owner's beat the price down to below cost, it does not serve anyone"?

    3. wow some sour comments above - as a construction professional for over 40 years and an OPM on many large projects throughout the world it would be foolish to think that this service could or should be conducted by the AE firm. The OPM is the only party in the typical Owner, CM, AE trio that has only the Owners interests in mind. Whilst the CM or GC and AE entities are all profit driven businesses the oversight of an OPM and an OPM that can manage a team is often worthy on projects of any magnitude. OPM services should be limited in a residential environment as this industry is not always driven by logic and more by personal connections that an Owner has with their home. My only bad project in the last 40 years is that of my own home.

      We have a small OPM firm that services the healthcare world and have not advertised for ten years, Owners look to us to hire design teams, financing, CM's, FF&E, permitting and approvals, federal procurement procedures to name a few… I don't expect an Architect to cover every one of these items as I do not tell an Architect how to detail a window flashing, or a CM how to build such a detail. When a project falls behind schedule or exceeds the budget will your AE errors and omissions insurance pick up the check, No. So in summary, just because you have had a negative experience with someone managing a project don't reduce the profession and what it brings to an Owner in a sentence. If we work together our clients will end up with the product that they deserve.

  4. As experience has taught many of us in the industry, the key to a successful project and one without too many unnecessary layers, is to select the right professional team of, but not limited to, Architects, Engineers and Code consultants. If that team is experienced and strong in their respective fields, there is not and never was, any need for an additional layer of redundant costs.

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  6. Nice post. It's great that you are sharing your insights about construction management.

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  7. Great post that should aslo help increase construction site safetyfor project managers and team members alike.

  8. Our firm believes this is an important service that is needed and vital especially in major cities like NYC.
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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I think you should have a general contractor to oversee the entire construction project and if you do then that's good enough!

  11. Unfortunately most general contractors are not looking out for the interest of the client. If the client is not educated in construction the GC can take advantage. An Owner's Representative is there to watch over the GC to be sure you are getting what you paid for. They are carefully seeing to it that all the work is being done as designed with no short cuts taken. A GC is not good enough, in fact it can be detrimental to your bottom line.

  12. The PMP Certification establishes a common language among project managers and helps each other work within a common framework. Once you have the PMP, you need to consider how you're applying the processes, tools, and techniques to projects. I took a training course for my preparation in and got ready for the exam on day 5!

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  16. I'm an Owner's Rep and I consider my job to be making everyone's job easier and the job go smoother. I am overseeing $30M in projects currently. I help the GC get what they need from the architect, I help the Architect get decisions from the Owner, I manage a lot of details for the Owner where they don't have the time or expertise. I make sure everyone on the job gets paid. As the GC on my last job said, I do what most PMs don't - reduce everyone's suffering!

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