“So, what do you guys do anyway?” In many respects it’s an honest question. Certainly, there are no shortage of consultant jokes out there. In reality, the owner’s representative plays a crucial role in your project. An owner’s representative oversees and manages every facet of the design and construction of a project on behalf of a dealership owner or ownership group.  Some projects can go seamlessly, alternatively, at times it can seem like trying to herd a bunch of cats. Regardless of which way a project goes, it is always our goal to deliver a project that our clients can be proud of.

A number of times when we sit down with clients to discuss an upcoming project we hear some version of this.  “I know how to sell cars. I know nothing about construction. I need you guys to help me get this project done.”  Weve synthesized this sentiment into the tagline of our business:  “Helping our clients manage their projects so they can focus on their business”.  While its always a collaboration with the client. A good owner’s rep can manage all the minutiae while keeping the client informed and involved to the extent they want to be. 

So back to the original question. What does an owner’s representative do? The following list, (which is by no means a complete list or in any particular order) is a high-level overview of our various functions. It’s why the owner’s representative plays a crucial role in your project.

1. Expertise

An owner’s representative typically has significant experience and expertise. Most commonly in construction management, engineering, architecture, or related fields. This expertise allows the owner’s rep to effectively represent the owner’s interests throughout the course of the project.

2. Project Management

Owner’s representatives are responsible for managing the project on behalf of the owner. This includes selection of, and coordination with architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors. All to ensure that the project stays on schedule and within budget.

3. Risk Management

Construction projects often involve various risks, such as budget overruns, delays, or quality issues. An owner’s representative helps identify and mitigate these risks. They closely monitor the project’s progress and address any issues that arise promptly.

4. Quality Control

Ensuring that the construction meets both the owner’s specifications and quality standards. It is also essential that the fit and finish meet the requirements and standards of the automotive brand. The owner’s representative monitors the quality of workmanship and materials used throughout the project to ensure compliance with the agreed-upon standards of all parties.

5. Communication

Effective communication is vital in any construction project. The owner’s representative serves as the primary point of contact between the owner and the project team; They facilitate clear and open communication to ensure that everyone is aligned on project goals, expectations, and timelines.

6. Cost Control

Keeping the project within budget is a critical aspect of project management. The owner’s representative tracks expenses and review change orders. They identify opportunities for cost savings to help the owner achieve their financial objectives.

7. Decision Making

Every day of a project there are decisions which need to be made. These range from design changes to unforeseen challenges. The owner’s representative provides valuable input and guidance to the owner. This helps the owner to make informed decisions that align with their goals and priorities.

8. Conflict Resolution

Conflicts and disputes can arise at various stages of a construction project. The owner’s representative acts as a neutral party to resolve conflicts and disputes efficiently. All in hopes of minimizing disruptions to the project’s progress.

9. Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment Procurement

This can be a delicate balancing act between automotive brand requirements and the owners wants and needs. An owner’s representative also looks for cost savings where possible without sacrificing quality of fit and finish. They secure competitive bids when there are multiple approved vendors or flexibility in the brand’s requirements.  They also work not just with ownership, but with the whole dealership team to ensure that the entire staff have input on a successful end result.

photo on the construction site of the owner pointing at something with other people standing nearby.

Summing it up…

Overall, the owner’s representative plays a crucial role in your project. They help to ensure the successful planning, execution, and completion of a design and construction project. This allows the owner to focus on their core business while having confidence that their interests are being represented and protected, and the project moves in a timely manner to completion.

Some might argue that a good General Contractor should be able to provide this service. Consider this. Allowing a General Contractor to be your Builder, Owners Representative and to steer your Architect is quite simply putting all your eggs in one basket. There is no independent check and balance, or oversight of their work. You’re essentially leaving them to self-audit for quality of work. We feel in doing that, you’re putting yourself in a difficult spot.

We’ve written a blog previously about getting the details right on a construction project. You can read it here: The Devil is in The Details – ID Automotive It is full of images where GC’s had “missed” obvious issues with fit and finish. It’s always the last 10% of the project that’s the hardest.  Here again is where the owner’s representative plays a crucial role in your project. In getting all the little things completed just right, and the project across the finish line.  

Plan to put a small percentage of your project budget aside to hire an Owners Representative. In almost every case, you will save more in time and money than you will pay to have an Owners Representative manage your project. If you are reading this and about to embark on a project, we would love to help you. Even if it’s not us, please hire someone to represent you. That way you can focus on your business and not worry about your project.