Our proactive approach to project management distinguishes us from other high-end builders in the Bay Area. Our project management process puts particular emphasis on cost control and scheduling, and the relationship between the two. Our construction team, in partnership with the architect, owner and owner's representative, is able to continually monitor, assess and meet quality, schedule and cost objectives using in-house project management tools that have been developed and refined as we have built over 150 high-end residential projects. We excel at identifying project constraints and challenges, and quickly finding solutions. Additionally, we have intentionally remained small enough in scale that each project we take on receives direct attention from one or both of FMA's principals, giving every client the direct benefit of their expertise and experience.
We prepare an initial budget based on all current information available (drawings; finish schedules; input from owners, architect, engineers, designer, etc). The intent is to identify all known and anticipated scopes of work, and establish reasonable budgets for all components. Where possible, we work with one or two subcontractors and material suppliers in each major trade (foundations; framing; MEP; finish carpentry; cabinetry & millwork; doors & windows; stone and tile; painting; etc) to establish scope and budgets. (These subcontractors and material suppliers may or may not be awarded the work, but assist during the budget development process based on our relationships with them.) If portions of the work are unknown or are still being developed, we establish amounts to be included in the budget and provide the assumptions that were used. The budget is broken down by cost code using a CSI format.
The budget is presented to the project team for review and revision (as needed) as part of a value engineering process. Upon completion of this process and approval of the budget by the owner, construction documents are put out to competitive bid in phases agreed upon by the team. Bid results are presented to the project team and compared to the initial budget. The owner, along with the rest of the team, can then make informed decisions about each phase of the project prior to commencing work on that phase, and in the context of the entire budget.
Portions of work are put out to competitive bid and awarded to subcontractors only when the scope can be identified, quantified, and documented. For trades where part of the work can be quantified, but other parts are not fully known, budget amounts are reserved for the future work, and the parts that can be quantified are bid out and awarded.
After the budget is established and approved, anything that represents a change (either up or down) to the budget (bid result; scope change; unforeseen condition; etc) is documented in a written "Budget Change" and presented to the owner for review and approval. These changes are also tracked through the billing process using AIA-type billing forms (both at our level and the subcontractor level).
This system of budgeting, bidding, and cost control allows the vast majority of the work to be done under competitive bidding and fixed price contracts, and keeps the project on schedule and on budget.
We develop the project construction schedule based on the construction budget and the document phasing determined prior to the competitive bid process. Each budgeted component is translated into a schedule timeline including design, documentation, submittals and approvals, fabrication, delivery and installation. Thus, our schedules address not just the work required by us onsite, but also the decisions, documentation and work required by the project team. The schedule is reviewed regularly and distributed monthly to all team members, consultants and subcontractors. A tightly monitored construction schedule is a key element in controlling costs on a complex construction project.