A common question our tenant representatives hear from our clients is “when is the right time to bring in a project manager on my office build-out project?”

The simple answer is that it is never too early.

Read Now: What Is a Project Manager & How Can They Help Manage My Office Build-Out?

Whether you’re building out your new space, renovating your current space, or building something from the ground up, it’s never too early to engage a project management professional.

In this article, we will explain more specifically what we mean by “early,” why engaging a project manager at this stage is important, and if it is ever too late to hire a project manager.


How Soon Should You Engage a Project Manager?

As we said before, the sooner you bring on a project manager, the better.

When you’re looking at leasing new commercial space, we recommend that you engage a project manager during the site selection process.

Bringing a project manager in before you’ve even selected your real estate, will allow them to facilitate test fits and provide preliminary project budgets and schedules so that you and your broker can better determine which spaces will meet your needs best and negotiate for a sufficient TI allowance.

These same advantages apply when looking at any type of new commercial space, no matter if you are looking for:

If you are planning a remodel of your existing space (or maybe to develop on land you already own), it is a little trickier to define what we mean by “early.”

Essentially, as soon as you know you’re interested in renovating, you should bring in a project manager.

The advantage of bringing in a project manager first is that they will work with you to define your project, provide vendor recommendations for designers, architects and contractors and take on the bidding and permitting for you.

To learn how to interview potential project managers to make sure you select the right one, read our article: Hiring an Office Build-Out Project Manager: 7 Must-Ask Questions

Does it Cost More to Hire the Project Manager Early?

No, it does not cost more to bring in your project manager earlier in the process.

Because project management fees are structured as a portion of your project cost, rather than by their time, there is no added cost to you by bringing them in early.

Read More: Cost to Hire a Project Manager for an Office Build-Out or Renovation (Fees/Rates)

In fact, by having their additional insight into the touring and negotiation process, you are more likely to save money on your overall project cost (and therefore the project manager’s resulting fee).

Imagine you had a big game coming up and, for the same price, you could either bring in a coach for just the game itself or you could have the coach attend all of your training sessions and the game, which would you choose?

You’d have him there for the training session, of course. This is essentially what you’re doing when you hire a project manager early. You end up benefiting from their expertise throughout your entire project.


Free Resource: 30 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Project Manager

Is it Too Late to Hire a Project Manager?

If you are currently in the middle of your construction project and are having a hard time handling everything yourself, you might be wondering if it is too late for you to hire a project manager.

The answer to that question is almost always no.

While hiring a project manager early is definitely recommended, that does not mean they can’t add value to a project currently in progress.

Even if the build-out is mostly complete, a project manager can still look over the budget and timeline to see if accurate estimates have been made and whether there are any potential points of cost savings. They can also review the work of contractors to make sure everyone is in line and producing a high-quality end product.

The only time that it could potentially be too late is if the project is nearly complete and there is no time for changes to be made.

Go back to our coaching example. So you trained by yourself, but now you’re in the game and struggling. Do you turn away a coach? Or do you bring them in as soon as you can?

St. John Neumann Renovated Sanctuary Space | Project Managed by AQUILA

During the renovation of the St. John Neumann Catholic Church, the church had already begun the budgeting and bidding process with a project manager. However, when the project began to climb well above budget, they brought in the AQUILA Project Management team in order to bring the project back on track and under budget.


Need A Project Manager?

We hope this article helped you understand the best time to hire a project manager and why. When it comes to any project, hiring a project manager early on can not only alleviate stress but help keep costs down and the project on time.

To learn more about hiring a project manager, check out these helpful articles:

Or if you’re ready to talk to one of our project management professionals, schedule your consultation today.


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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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