What Is Involved in Project Management for Property Renovation?

April 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Project management is something that we encounter every day.

It may not seem like it, but even putting on a child’s birthday party requires some level of project management. There are a series of tasks that much be completed in the right order, at the right time, with the right people and using the best materials to achieve the desired result.

This, essentially, is what project management is: coordinating people, materials and tasks to complete work in a timely, efficient and successful way.

Property renovation is something that obviously requires project management to succeed. If you are able to oversee everything yourself, the savings can be huge.

But how do you decide whether or not you’ve got what it takes to run your own renovation project management? Here is a quick overview of the skills, knowledge and resources you’ll need to run your own project.


The first question you should ask yourself is this: will you have time to spend on site almost every day?

As a project manager, you will be responsible for identifying the work that needs to be done, the style that is required or desired, sourcing materials, hiring, firing and negotiating labour as well as signing off each task as it is completed.

With mobile internet and telephone, you would be forgiven for thinking you could do all of the necessary tasks remotely. However, it’s a simple fact that some problems may need to be solved face-to-face, especially if the dispute is over payment or problems arise relating to resources – or lack thereof.

While it may not be necessary for you to be around every minute of every day, you must have the flexibility to be able to attend at short notice.

As the old adage goes, time is money – if there is a problem at midday, it takes three hours to travel to a site and you can’t go until tomorrow afternoon, there’s at least a day of your schedule lost. Not only could this be a day of paying contractors for not completing work, but could knock the timescales of the rest of the project out.

People management

As mentioned above, project management is as much about coordinating people as it is anything else. In a kitchen, for example, once you’ve identified that you want to move the gas stove and install granite work surfaces, you need to think about hiring a carpenter to pull and replace units, a gas-registered plumber to move the appliance and safely seal connections and perhaps a specialist joiner to fit the worktop.

You will need to be confident in finding people who can do the job, negotiating a suitable price and timescale and ensuring that each task can be completed within the time and monetary budgets.

If you do not feel comfortable challenging contractors when quality or timescales do not meet your requirements, or are shy of bartering on price, project management could turn out to be an expensive exercise for you.

Organisational skills

As you would imagine, project management has a great deal to do with organising. You must know exactly what needs to be done when, and what and who are required to do it. If you struggle to manage meetings in your work diary, self-managed property renovations are probably not for you!

Industry knowledge/research

Knowledge of the construction and renovation industry – or at least the ability to research it thoroughly – are absolutely essential to project management of property overhauls. You must know what prices are commonplace and expected, and ensure you have the budget to work within these parameters.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that going in blind to the value of materials and services will likely lead to you paying over-the-odds as individuals see an opportunity to take advantage. This is why so many people choose to hire professional project managers, particularly for larger renovations and building jobs. It can be a real false economy trying to do it all yourself, particularly if you don’t have experience in this field.

Vincent Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. For Project Management Services in London, he recommends Tyler Mandic.

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