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Behind the List with William Morgan

William Morgan is president and CEO of Eastern PCM LLC, a Cumberland County-based construction and project management firm. Photo/Amy Spangler

president and CEO of Eastern PCM LLC

Q: What is an agency construction manager and how does it differ from a general contractor?

A: An agency construction manager provides services to their clients … from the initial conception of the project through the budgeting period, design procurement, construction and ultimate project closeout for that particular client.

We’re generally responsible for managing the entire project budget, including the hard costs and the soft costs related to financing, design, permitting, plan review, furnishings and equipment costs. We also manage the entire process — focusing on time or schedule, cost, quality and the scope of the work required under the particular assignment.

A general contractor is engaged after all the construction plans and specifications are prepared. The documents are completed, the plans and specifications are completed, and they are asked to provide a price to perform the work as defined by the construction documents.

What types of businesses need your services? Who is your average customer?

It’s typically an owner or investor that is considering a construction project and doesn’t have the expertise or the desire to manage all the varied tasks necessary to plan and organize the work and have it executed in the field. We work with a number of clients who are certainly educated and somewhat experienced in the process, but they have businesses of their own to run. They don’t want to deal with the day-to-day details in managing all the parts and pieces that go together to complete a project.

What are some common mistakes a company makes when tackling a large construction project?

The first mistake a lot of people make is they don’t spend enough time in the planning stage to really understand the project, the costs and the schedule.

They’ll think the construction cost is the project cost and maybe the design fees, but there are a number of things we advise them on to at least consider as their project costs. They don’t prepare a realistic schedule, particularly in the planning stages, to realize how long the design will take (and) the permitting will take.

Some fail to really understand what has been designed versus what they want. One other thing is most people that don’t do this on a daily basis and don’t have the information available in order to analyze certain aspects of the project are inexperienced in evaluating changes. They’ve all got the ugly change order that appears. It may be all in order and it may be justified, but to have someone show them why it is justified or it’s not justified is important.

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