We talk to Neilson Projects, a long-established property consultant practice to find out what makes a project manager so valuable

What are the benefits of hiring a project manager?  

Most clients begin their focus on the intricate design of a project, but there is an entire development process that goes into achieving a client’s completed design aspiration. Utilising an effective project manager from the outset provides a holistic approach to each stage of the project from design and planning, interviewing contractors, construction, all the way through to the final interior design touches. They can cover all this, from conception to completion, whilst always managing the client’s budget.

What skills should a prospective client be looking for in a successful project manager? 

Communication is the key skill. Ultimately a successful PM communicates the client’s requirements to the design and professional team, and then onto the builders and tradesmen onsite. Most clients now want to be privy to the detailed aspects of the development process, and understand what they are paying for. Often problem solving is overlooked, but the best PMs bring solutions not problems.

What type of projects do you work on?  

Working in the industry as a PM for nearly 20 years, I’ve covered all types of projects – new-build housing estates, one-off exclusive homes, rural barn and annex conversions, even luxury boutique shop fit-outs. Recently through Covid, our client focus has been on residential extensions, conversions of annexe outbuildings, and new-build luxury residential. Retro-fitting renewable energy systems has also been a large influx of work – more traditional systems of electric heating, solar panels and heat pumps, but also evolving technology like Micro-Combined Heat and Power (Micro-CHP), a technology that generates heat and electricity simultaneously, from the same energy source.

Can you tell us about a really memorable project?  

The most rewarding project in recent years was a farmhouse refurbishment with equestrian facilities in Alfriston. Initially the client was working solely with an architect on the project, and huge cost and time overruns had occurred, resulting in the main contractor downing-tools and walking off site. The client’s mortgage loan was then in jeopardy. We were instructed to revive the project, working with a trusted team who understood the problems from the outset. The transformation in the development, and the ability to match the client’s design aspirations with their cost-budget, was a great experience.

Do you have a contact book of trusted local trades?

We work with trusted professionals, tradesmen and craftsmen, where a working relationship has been built up over many years. This is vital for any successful PM. Each project and client is different, and requires consideration of their price points, type of design and interior finish, so nominating and recommending the right contractor is crucial to the success of each project.

Visit neilsonprojects.co.uk to find out more and get help with project management, building surveying and development.

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