Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Owner's rep: the why and what

Having spent the past nearly 10 years in an "owner's rep" role, I can endorse what the American Bar Association (to whom I would not ordinarily look for project management topics) says about being an owner's representative, why the construction industry in particular has room for the role, and why the public sector is in the game.

Of course, before 10 years ago, while I was in the defense systems domain, it was common to have an "SI", a "system's integrator" that more or less extended the reach and expertise of the PMO (or PEO), particularly coordinating scope and sequence for specialty contractors to come in at just the right moment with a unique skill.

From the ABA:
ABA on Owner's rep
The reasons for increased use of third-party owner’s representatives are likely driven by a combination of the growing technical complexity and economic risk associated with modern construction projects, the evolution of new and more complex project delivery methods, and increased specialization of design professionals who have historically served the role of owner’s representative.  Both private owners and public-sector awarding authorities are retaining project advisors to supplement their internal management and administrative capabilities and address gaps in services rendered by the design professional, commissioning agent, and construction contractor.

On public projects, use of owner’s representatives is proscribed by law in many states and local jurisdictions.  Where use of owner’s representatives remains discretionary, owners must consider whether they have the internal capabilities and resources to successfully manage the construction process and whether the additional expense of the owner’s representative will have a positive impact on the schedule, cost, and/or quality of the project.

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