The Most Important Project Team Member
You Didn't Know You Needed

You're not alone if you’ve never heard of an owner’s representative or are unclear about what one does or why you need one. The role of an owner’s rep is often overlooked, undervalued, or misunderstood. Yet, engaging the services of an experienced owner’s representative can mean the difference between a project fraught with delays and cost overruns and a project that progresses smoothly, with team members engaged at the right time and contractual deliverables met.

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The Owner's representative: The Most Important Team Member You Didn't Know You Needed.

Consider this scenario. Your latest capital project finally has all the necessary approvals and funding to move forward. You’re ready to finalize a site, request bids, and assemble your project team of architects, contractors, designers, engineers, financial institutions, etc.

But…

How do you know which architect will best execute your vision? Have you requested all of the necessary contractor bids? And who will review their costs to ensure the reasonableness of the bids?

If issues arise, how will project team members be held accountable? Are there any areas for potential cost savings?

Regarding the site, are there any environmental, zoning, permitting, or infrastructure challenges to tackle? What about FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment) vendors, Security/IT, or any other specialty consultants to consider?

And ultimately, how will you ensure the work is done correctly and your construction project stays on track, on schedule, and within the approved budget?

To answer these questions, one of the most important members of your project team comes into play—the owner’s representative.

What Exactly is an Owner’s Representative?

You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of an owner’s representative or are unclear about what an owner’s rep does or why you need one. The role of an owner’s representative is often overlooked, undervalued, or misunderstood. Yet, engaging the services of an experienced owner’s representative can mean the difference between a project fraught with delays and cost overruns and a project that progresses smoothly, with team members engaged at the right time and contractual deliverables met.

You may wonder why you need to bring in the services of an owner’s representative, especially if you already have a qualified project team of designers, contractors, and others. But an owner’s rep is different from the rest of your team in one fundamental way—they work for you, the Owner. The owner’s representative is the only member of your project team whose overriding interest is to execute the Owner’s goals and objectives.

As the title implies, the project Owner engages an owner’s representative to advocate and represent their best interests throughout the development process—including site selection, planning, design, permitting, construction, and closeout. Functioning as an extension of the Owner, the owner’s rep serves as the central point of contact, establishing clear lines of communication among all project team members and confirming they are aligned with the Owner’s mission and actively working towards achieving it.

Wait. Can’t the Owner and the Owner’s Staff Handle All of This?

Sometimes, they can, but often not. Capital projects are becoming increasingly more complex and demanding of time and resources from the Owner. Many moving parts are involved, and a lot of money is at stake. Any oversights or errors may add risk to the project and lead to expensive cost overruns and project delays. Project goals may go unmet, causing the Owner to question their decisions, the abilities of the participants they’ve chosen to work with, and whether the team really has the Owner’s best interests in mind.

This complexity requires a high learning curve, making it challenging for the Owner—even one with construction project experience—to execute their goals and objectives successfully. In addition, the Owner already has a full plate of responsibilities outside of undertaking a capital project, and their time may be better spent elsewhere.

Bringing in the expertise and guidance of an owner’s representative is the best way to help mitigate the inherent risks associated with construction projects and ultimately deliver a successful project outcome.

Still Unclear? Let’s Look at Six Key Reasons Your Construction Project Needs an Owner’s Representative

1. The Owner’s Representative Ensures a Successful Project Execution and Outcome

Construction projects are complex, involving many moving parts and multi-faceted teams composed of various consultants and contractors, each with their own ideas and sometimes conflicting interests. An owner’s representative is the only project team member whose overriding interest is to execute the Owner’s goals and objectives.

Acting as their advocate, the owner’s rep represents the Owner throughout the entire process of a project’s development, ensuring the teams’ performance and that the project stays on track, on schedule, and within the approved budget.

Just like the conductor in an orchestra knows the precise timing to bring in the various instruments in the correct sequence and in just the proper harmony to create a beautiful concert, an owner’s representative keeps the project running smoothly – making sure everything progresses as it needs to, team members are engaged at the right time, and everyone is meeting their contractual deliverables.

2. An Owner’s Representative Facilitates Communication & Collaboration and Promotes Accountability

The primary role of an owner’s representative is to facilitate communication across team members to ensure information is being shared efficiently and timely. Functioning as an extension of the Owner, the owner’s rep serves as the central point of contact, establishing clear lines of communication, identifying communication bottlenecks, preventing miscommunication, and promptly resolving issues before they lead to costly delays.

Their collaborative approach focuses on accountability and assurance that all project team members are aligned with the Owner’s mission and actively working towards achieving it. The actual value of the role of an owner’s representative is in providing a process in which the success of all team members is encouraged, not hindered.

3. The Owner’s Representative Provides Unbiased, Objective Guidance

An owner’s rep is valuable to a construction project in one significant way—they work solely as an extension and advocate of the Owner, without any bias or conflicts of interest. Because the owner’s representative has a fiduciary responsibility to the owner, they act only in the Owner’s best interests. Their guidance is objective, and they are in no position to financially benefit from any particular project outcome.

An owner’s representative places particular emphasis on verifying that deliverables from the design and construction teams are aligned with what is contractually required and coordinated with the deliverables of the other specialty consultants and contractors. This allows the owner’s rep to confirm that the entire project team is working towards the Owner’s goals and that the information they report is accurate.

4. The Owner’s Representative Can Help You Assemble the Right Project Team

Rushing into a project without the right plan and team in place may result in costly errors, budget overruns, and schedule delays. Consequently, it’s essential to build a team that is best suited to the project at hand. When an owner’s representative is engaged at the onset of a project, they can help create a team that best meets the Owner’s goals and objectives. For example, using industry knowledge, site knowledge, and experience, the owner’s rep may recommend specific contractors, architects, engineers, specialty consultants and vendors.

Additionally, an owner’s rep can provide an invaluable service during the interview process by asking questions the Owner might overlook. They will also work to generate RFPs, help review competing bids, and negotiate contracts as needed.

5. The Expertise of an Owner’s Representative can Result in Time and Money Savings

It is the job of an owner’s representative to help deliver a project on time and within the approved budget. While most owner’s representatives will not claim their services alone save money, their industry expertise and experience often result in time and money savings.

An experienced owner’s representative recognizes when project costs are too high or low and will look for opportunities to bring the schedule and budget back into line. Moreover, engaging the services of an owner’s representative means that the Owner can continue their day-to-day operations without getting diverted by the project and losing focus on their other responsibilities.

6. An Owner’s Representative Gives You Peace of Mind

Capital projects can be burdened with inherent risks. For example, project budgets can quickly be overrun, deadlines missed, and regulatory requirements overlooked.

Want greater peace of mind? A skilled owner’s representative can identify where these inherent risks exist and implement a project management plan to help the Owner appropriately manage and mitigate them. As an experienced construction consultant, an owner’s representative can help explain complex issues, manage conflicts, and advise on matters outside the Owner’s sphere of knowledge. They can also assist the Owner in making informed decisions that keep the project on track.

Ready to learn more?

A successful project outcome depends on the critical attention to managing the project budget, schedule, quality, and communication. For more information on owner’s representation services and how our development and construction consulting firm can help support your project vision and goals, contact The Concord Group.

The Concord Group is a development + construction consulting firm providing a comprehensive and fully integrated suite of project management controls that mitigate risk throughout the lifecycle of a project or capital program. We specialize in the fields of Owner’s Representation, Cost Estimating, Technical Services (including Energy Modeling, Commissioning, and Facility Condition Assessments), ESG and Sustainability Management, and Real Estate Advisory Services (including Cost Segregation and Loan Monitoring).

Since 1996, our team of highly skilled construction cost consultants, project managers, owner representatives, cost estimators and engineers have successfully completed over 4,000 projects throughout the United States. We have built a reputation for delivering high quality, accurate and timely work for governmental agencies, healthcare organizations, institutional clients and architectural/engineering firms along with retail, residential and property development companies.

About Concord

Guiding you through the complexities of construction projects, one decision at a time.

Concord is a group of skilled engineers, owner’s representatives, project managers, cost estimators and technical construction advisors.

We offer a fully integrated suite of project management controls that mitigate risk throughout the lifecycle of a project or program, giving you the tools to make informed decisions to reduce risk, drive collaboration and streamline efficiencies across the entire project team.

From concept to creation, our development and construction consultants leverage technology and experience to deliver exceptional results on the most complex of projects.

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Let’s successfully turn your vision into reality.

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