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What Is Professional Project Management? by Corinne Maddox, CCM, CFM

Construction project management (PM) has evolved as a professional specialty in the last 20 years in response to the increasing complexity and sophistication of the design and construction industry. Significant financial, contracting, regulatory and litigation risks related to construction have created a need for specialists to represent an owner's interests. A PM professional applies management techniques to control project cost, schedule, quality, scope and safety. Contract management includes evaluation of alternate delivery strategies, pre-qualification of consultants and contractors, bidding, negotiation, specially designed contract terms, risk management, and administration of contract completion. Cost management includes budgeting, financing and tax alternatives, cost estimating, value engineering, cost tracking, invoice management, and techniques to minimize changes and claims. Schedule management includes development of computerized schedules, contract incentives and penalties, progress tracking and expediting. Quality management includes analysis of owner priorities, plan reviews, operations and maintenance considerations, review of product literature and substitution requests, construction inspections and troubleshooting. The more complex the project, the more difficult the schedule or budget, and the higher the cost and risk, the more a project can benefit from professional PM services.

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