Beyond The Build: Construction Management 101 – What You Should Know

Jennifer Hasamear
July 6, 2024|


 S. M. Wilson & Co. has been providing construction services for clients for 100-plus years, putting people first and going beyond the build to ensure that each project receives the quality and expertise it deserves.

“As construction managers, it is S. M. Wilson’s responsibility to take the time to get to know our clients and their projects to deliver a well-built facility that will be used and enjoyed by the current populations and for future generations as well,” says Chief Operating Officer Mark Cochran.

What is Construction Management?

Construction management is a professional service provided to a project’s owner that effectively manages the project’s schedule, cost, quality, safety, scope and function. It is compatible with all project types. No matter the setting, a construction manager’s (CM’s) responsibility is to the owner and to ensure a successful project. It requires coordinating and supervising a construction project from inception to completion. While crucial in any project, CMs ensure that the project is built according to the specifications, on time, within budget and, most importantly, safely.

Difference between General Contractors and Construction Managers

General contractors (GC) become involved in a project after the design is already completed, overseeing and executing the construction work. They are responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, managing vendors and trades and communicating information to all involved parties throughout a building project.

In contrast, the construction manager plays a critical role as early as possible, acting as an agent for the owner. The CM contributes to the design, offering insight into scheduling and procurement aspects. In addition, CMs can provide the owner with the perspectives of a construction expert well-versed in the building process. A full-service CM continues throughout the construction, acting as the general contractor and managing the subcontractors to ensure everyone adheres to the contract and owner’s requirements. The CM’s primary role is to manage the pre-construction and construction process to ensure the project is completed on time, within budget and to the required quality standards while meeting the owner’s goals and expectations.

The Value of a Full-Service Construction Manager

Full-service CMs have the construction staff plus the builder knowledge of a general contractor who can bond the project – limiting risk, in conjunction with front-end project planning and owner advocacy.

Offering value-add propositions and unique perspectives on material selections, schedule acceleration and subcontractor selection, before a shovel hits the ground “we can save clients 5 percent to 8 percent during planning and pre-construction,” says Cochran. During construction, full-service CMs offer full-time onsite supervision, scheduling, advanced communication and documentation, quality control and safety.

Other typical CM responsibilities may also include, but are not limited to:

Project Planning: Detailed planning is crucial before any physical work begins. This stage involves defining the project scope, including the detailed scheduling and budgeting for every phase.

Resource Allocation: Determining what materials, tools, and human resources are needed and ensuring they are used efficiently.

Staff Management: Full-service construction managers hire and manage the field teams, including the various trades needed for the project. They are responsible for ensuring all team members perform their tasks accurately and efficiently.

Safety Management: One of the most critical roles of a construction manager is ensuring that the construction site is safe. This includes complying with legal regulations and continuously monitoring potential hazards.

Cost Management: Construction managers must constantly navigate the challenge of keeping the project within the financial boundaries set during the planning phase.

Quality Control: Throughout the construction process, the construction manager is responsible for the quality of work performed, ensuring that everything complies and meets all necessary standards.

“As a full-service firm, our company has full-time OSHA 30 trained project superintendents who can be on your job site daily. We can manage all trades ensuring better safety and quality,” says Tom Burns, safety director at S. M. Wilson.

A project superintendent’s responsibilities in terms of safety management include on-site orientation, daily safety meetings, daily inspections using real-time applications, pre-activity meetings and safety recognition programs.

Construction Management in Practice

“Because S. M. Wilson is so careful to monitor our construction projects on a daily basis and works directly with contractors to ensure the quality of workmanship, it is able to identify any concerns and intervene at the earliest possible point,” says Kristie Baumgartner, superintendent at Alton Community Unit School District No. 11. “This not only saves us money, but also saves us time in the long run while delivering a quality product.”

  1. M. Wilson has been the CM for Alton Community Unit School District No. 11 for the past 20 years, delivering six building programs.

“S. M. Wilson holds high expectations for its deliverable outcomes while maintaining the most qualified, passionate staff members. Consistency in those areas is a critical component for us when we select a construction manager. That is why S. M. Wilson is always an excellent choice,” says Baumgartner.

For 30-plus years, S. M. Wilson has provided construction management services to the Blessing Health System for various projects – including new construction, renovations and additions. Through this long-time partnership, the team has continuously provided services to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

“Blessing Health System and S. M. Wilson & Co. have a longstanding partnership of more than 30 years. Over that time, S. M. Wilson has become our trusted advisor and construction manager on more than $180 million of projects for our health system. The firm understands the nuances of working on an occupied healthcare campus including the safety, care and consideration to ensure the patient’s experience and standard of care. To build a partnership that lasts more than 30 years, trust and transparency are key. S. M. Wilson highly exhibits those values and continues to provide great value to the Blessing Health System,” says Maureen Kahn, retired president and CEO, Blessing Health System.

As a construction manager, S. M. Wilson provides clients with a wider range of services and, ultimately, greater value than a traditional general contractor.

“Our team is comprised of not just builders but construction experts that evaluate the quality, longevity and daily use of your building so that we can provide our clients with a more efficient and effective facility that enriches the lives of those who live, work, heal, learn and play in the spaces we build,” says Cochran, who has been with S. M. Wilson for 25 years.

For more information about construction management and how S. M. Wilson & Co. will work with your organization to determine what delivery method best suits your next project, contact Cochran at

Jennifer Hasamear is communication manager at S. M. Wilson & Co.

About the Author: Jennifer Hasamear

Jennifer Hasamear

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