29 July 2021

How to know when you need a project manager

By Renovation Plan
Project planners

Carrying out any project demands a certain degree of management. Whether you are building your own home or making significant changes to your property, there are a vast number of details to organise and oversee – from sourcing suppliers and contractors to buying the right self-build insurance. And with so many important decisions to be made at every stage in your renovation journey, some self-builders may choose to hire a professional project manager. But how do you know if that’s right for you? Let’s take a look at what you need to consider.

How big is your project?

Firstly, the scale of your project will determine how much management it will require. Let’s start with self-build projects. The term ‘self-build’ is fairly broad – referring to the commission and creation of a property to your bespoke needs. Despite the term, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be building it yourself, with many people who choose to self-build employing service-providers to do it for them.

As a rule, the higher the budget and the more complicated a project is, the more value you will get from a dedicated project manager. This could be your architect, builder or an independent brought in purely for the role. As planning professionals, a project manager can save you a lot of stress, especially on projects such as building a large house from scratch. Their sole role is to take your plans and turn them into reality within a set timescale and cost ­– and, for that reason, you will be more likely to stay within (or even under) budget with the help of a project manager. In fact, 90% of projects that are unprofessionally managed exceed their budget by up to 20%*, which is worth bearing in mind.

However, professional services will come at a price, and a good project manager will charge accordingly. So if your project is of a smaller scale, you might find the cost outweighs the benefit. Generally, the management of projects such as a kitchen extension or an attic conversion should be safe in the hands of your contractor, with a general oversight by you.

What benefits can a project manager bring?

By taking responsibility for the delivery of your project, a project manager will save you considerable time, effort and stress. This is important if you are in demand in other areas of your life, whether professionally or personally. They will take on the day-to-day monitoring of building progress, budgeting, sourcing and hiring contractors, and quality assurance for you – giving you the freedom to focus on other parts of your life, safe in the knowledge the work is under control. They help keep overall costs down, so while you may be expected to pay 10-15% of the overall project price in fees, you could still save money overall down the line. What’s more, you typically get more value for money from a project manager on larger jobs compared to shorter-term, fixed-price projects.

When will I be better off doing it myself?

A project manager should only ever add value. So, depending on your funds, you might be better off managing it yourself. This is because project managers can be expensive and the investment might not be worth it if you are already on a tight budget. However, providing you can dedicate your own time to overseeing the work and you have done your research into what managing a project involves, you should be able to oversee completion yourself without having to pay out the extra fees for a dedicated manager. In fact, it can be incredibly rewarding to manage a self-build project yourself, as long as you are prepared for months of hard work!

This is also true for smaller-scale projects, such as adding an extension. Generally, these projects will be simpler to manage and run to a shorter time frame than constructing a property from the ground up, meaning it makes more financial sense for you to take on the management yourself.

Cover yourself for every eventuality

Ultimately, whether you need to hire a project manager will depend on your project, budget and individual needs. The good news is, a professional project manager is not a requirement for renovation or self-build insurance so it will not impact your premium if you choose to manage your project yourself. But whatever you decide, just make sure you take out renovation or self-build insurance so, if anything does go wrong with your project, you are always protected.


Want to find out more about our self-build insurance cover?

You can find further useful information on our self-build insurance page. If you’re not ready to get a quote yet and would prefer to speak to someone you can find the right details by clicking here. We can’t wait to find out all about your project!