What Are the Benefits of a Program Manager?

By AIA Contract Documents

July 31, 2023

A program manager is a professional hired to oversee and advise the owner over the life of a program beginning with project planning and continuing through to final completion and closeout. If you have multiple structures that you plan to build at one time or you plan to build them over the course of several years, there are many benefits to having a program manager support you through the process. Below are some of the key benefits.

  1. Program Oversight: The program manager provides comprehensive oversight of each project in the program. They monitor design and construction progress, schedules, and review documentation to ensure compliance with the program management plan. This oversight helps to minimize delays, cost overruns, potential conflicts, and ensures that each project aligns with the program’s objectives and goals.
  2. Communication and Coordination: A program manager facilitates better coordination among project teams and stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and consultants. The program manager develops communications plans that promote effective communication and collaboration among all parties involved. This helps to streamline the decision-making process, maintain transparency, and efficiently resolve any conflicts that may arise during design and construction of each project in the program.
  3. Cost Control: A program manager develops and monitors the program budget, which includes the costs for the program managers services, costs of the services of the owner’s other consultants, costs for design and construction of each project in the program, reasonable contingencies related to all of these costs, and additional details necessary for the owner to prepare a complete program budget. The program manager works closely with the owner to establish a realistic budget and evaluate changes in the work on the project level that may impact the overall program budget.
  4. Scheduling: A program manager develops and monitors the program schedule, which includes priorities, sequences, durations, and responsible parties for major design, pricing, construction, and owner activities. The schedule also incorporates dates for approvals and permits, project specific milestones for design and constructions schedules, components that need to be procured by the owner, and the owner’s occupancy requirements.
  5. Quality Control and Design Review: A program manager establishes quality control guidelines that define the obligations of the program manager, owner, and owner’s consultants and contractors, and reviews any project specific quality control plans for conformance to the quality control guidelines set forth in the project management plan. The program manager also periodically reviews the development of design for each project in the program to ensure conformance with the program requirements. To the extent that either the design or the quality control plans deviate from the program requirements, a program manager reports the observed deviations and discusses potential options for resolution with the owner and, as appropriate, the owner’s consultants and contractors.

Overall, a program manager brings the management oversite and expertise to ensure successful completion of complex construction projects by ensuring they are well-organized, cost-effective, and completed in a manner consistent with the program’s objectives and goals.

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AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.