Managing an office build-out or renovation can be overwhelming, with numerous tasks requiring simultaneous management to ensure project timeliness and budget adherence. This is where a project manager proves invaluable. Their primary responsibility is to handle these tasks, allowing you to focus on your regular duties.

In this article, we provide a comprehensive understanding of the role and responsibilities of a project manager in assisting you with your office build-out project.


What is a project manager?

The role of a project manager in the construction process is to serve as the tenant or owner’s representative. They oversee multiple vendors involved in office build-outs or renovations, such as general contractors, architects, and commercial movers.

An effective project manager maintains regular communication with the client, providing updates on progress and setbacks. They also seek feedback regarding decisions that could impact the project budget or schedule.


What does a project manager do?

Site Selection Process

Engaging a project manager at the site selection stage is highly beneficial. They can provide valuable assistance with the following:

Test Fits

Engaging a project manager in the early stages allows for expert guidance in assessing optimal spaces and visualizing their suitability for your firm’s requirements.

Project Budgeting

When evaluating multiple spaces that may require build-out, the project manager offers preliminary budgets to streamline the selection process and identify the most suitable option for your needs.

Read Now: Cost to Build Out Office Space, How to Plan and Budget

Project Scheduling

Considering a comprehensive demo and rebuild of a space but concerned about meeting the project deadline before your lease expires? Engaging a project manager during the site selection stage ensures project feasibility. They will provide preliminary project schedules for each option under consideration, enabling a clear understanding of the time required for design, permitting, and construction.

Design Process

The project manager takes charge of the design process, guiding it from initial exploration to the development of final blueprints, even before lease finalization.

GLG Space in Austin Texas | Construction Project Manager AQUILA Commercial

The design phase is where both the creative and the practical sides of your project will be developed, from how the office will lay out to the specific style you want your office to embody.

Design Discovery

In close collaboration with you and your team, the project manager assists in defining the project scope and facilitates engagement with suitable architects and engineering firms to fulfill your requirements.

Conceptual Designs

This stage aligns with the test-fit phase of site selection. Engaging an architect enables the creation of suitable test fits to ensure the space meets your requirements. Based on this preliminary plan, the project manager generates an initial project budget and schedule.

Schematic Design

Once the lease is signed, the project manager and architectural team will begin designing the look of the space, including layout, style, finishes, and more.

Design Development

After the lease signing, the project manager and architectural team initiate the design phase, encompassing space layout, style, finishes, and other elements.

Bid & Permitting

During the bid and permitting phase, the construction drawings from the design phase are utilized to obtain competitive construction estimates and secure the building permit from the city. Throughout this phase, the project management team provides assistance with the following steps.

Austin City Hall in Austin Texas | Construction Project Manager can help you with the permitting process with the city

In the Bid & Permitting phase, construction drawings from the design phase will be submitted to the city for permitting.

Building Permitting

In Austin, it is customary for the project manager to collaborate with a permit expediter to efficiently navigate the City’s permit acquisition process. By working with an expediter, you can bypass any potential delays and initiate the project promptly.

Permit processing times can vary, but for a standard office build-out permit in Austin, it typically takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks from plan submission to permit issuance.

Read Next: The Expert’s Guide to Getting a Permit for Your Office Build-Out in Austin, TX

Solicit & Select Vendors

The project manager initiates the procurement process by sending a “request for pricing” (RFP) or “bid invite” to pre-approved general contractors for your project. These contractors are vetted and approved by all stakeholders involved, including the landlord, tenant, and project manager.

Upon receiving the pricing proposals, the project manager presents them in a user-friendly format for easy side-by-side comparison.

A similar process is followed for engaging various other vendors, such as cabling, security, IT, furniture, and more.

Awarding Contractors & Vendors

The project manager will facilitate the selection of the optimal project team by evaluating received bids and leveraging market expertise. Subsequently, the project manager will procure and assess contracts from the chosen vendors, ultimately delivering the final contract documents for execution.

Construction Process

As the project consultant, the project manager will serve as the tenant’s representative throughout the construction process. They will lead construction meetings, maintain a proactive presence at the job site, and regularly provide status updates, including meeting minutes and an updated project schedule. Their primary objective is to ensure that the project stays within the allocated timeline and budget.

In the event of any setbacks that may affect the schedule, the project manager will promptly inform you and present viable solutions to maintain project progress.

Additionally, the project manager will take charge of coordinating vendor installations in collaboration with the general contractor.

Construction at 801 Barton Springs | Construction Project Manger can guide the construction process

The construction process is when your project comes to life.

Construction Kick-Off

The project manager will conduct a pre-construction meeting to ensure effective communication and alignment among vendors before commencing construction. This meeting will cover crucial aspects such as specifications, plans, scheduling, and more.

Key objectives of the meeting include a comprehensive review of the contract, clarification of any queries, analysis of construction drawings and specifications, as well as outlining job site policies and procedures.

Progress Updates

Your project manager will facilitate regular meetings or calls to provide you with timely updates on the progress of your build-out.

Furthermore, they will diligently review all change orders and invoices submitted by vendors to ensure compliance with the executed contract terms.

Job Site Inspections

To ensure optimal project execution, the project manager will conduct frequent visits to the job site and maintain active involvement with the vendors. Typically, they will arrange weekly on-site project meetings involving key stakeholders such as yourself, the architect, general contractor, and vendors.

During these visits, the project manager will assess the construction progress to ensure alignment with project plans and specifications, while also inspecting the workmanship quality.

FFE Installation

During the final stages of construction, the project manager will oversee the coordination of FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) installations.

Punch List

Upon project completion, the project manager will arrange a final punch list walk-through involving all team members.

During this walk-through, the project manager and architect will collaborate to identify any unfinished or substandard work that deviates from the construction plans. These identified items will comprise the “punch list,” which must be addressed and rectified by the responsible party (general contractor, vendor, etc.) before the final payment is issued.

After the punch list has been satisfactorily addressed, the project manager will conduct a thorough inspection of the space to ensure compliance with the construction drawings and executed contract.


Beyond the completion of the build-out, the project manager will provide ongoing support during the move-in and occupancy phase.

Google Office Space | Construction Project Manager Help with Move In Process

The project manager’s job does not stop with construction; they will work with you throughout the move in process and occupancy.

Move In

Your project manager will efficiently coordinate commercial movers, furniture delivery, cable installation, and other essential finishing touches to ensure your space is fully prepared for day-to-day occupancy.

Read Next: What Are the All-In Costs of Relocating My Office?

Now that you know what a project manager is, and how they can help you with your next office renovation, find out the three biggest benefits of hiring a project manager or how much it costs to hire a project manager.

Read Now: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Project Manager for Your Office Build-Out

Read more about planning for and budgeting for your office build-out with the following articles:

Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Project Manager for Your Office Build-Out
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Dustin Hogzett | Commercial Project Management in Austin, Texas | AQUILA Commercial

Dustin Hogzett

As a project manager with AQUILA, Dustin leads and manages fast-track and task-critical design and construction projects.

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