New Series: Construction Management vs. Project Management

“Symbiotic relationships are a special type of interaction between species (Professional Service Providers!). Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, these relationships are essential to many organisms (Projects!) and ecosystems (Capital Programs!), and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.”

Anyone who has spent any time in the ICI Project world will have much to say about the relationships and conflicts between Project Management Consultants and Construction Management Professionals.  Much ink (or keystrokes) have been spilled (or typed) arguing the virtues of each profession and what value they bring to any capital project.

Over my career, I have been fortunate to work for the Client side; the Project Management Consultancy realm and now with a Construction Services firm that delivers 70% of its projects through the Construction Management contract model.  I have heard all the pitches and the grumblings; seen the pitfalls; and experienced the good and bad sides of each.

My major takeaway from these experiences is that there is great confusion on the Client side with respect to the various functions and duties that both PM Consultants and CM firms provide.  This confusion is further compounded by the PM’s and CM’s themselves as they go about positioning their roles on any new project and carving out their respective turf.

Over the next several weeks I intend to publish a series of short posts with the overly ambitious intent of breaking down the two roles as they pertain to construction projects and how both PM firms and CM firms must ultimately rely on one another in order to deliver a successful project.  My target audiences are companies, institutions or individuals that are contemplating how to structure their project team for an upcoming capital project.

My topics will include:

1.      Project Management is a discipline, Construction Management is a form of contract.

2.      A Client’s Guide to Overlap of Scope:  How not to pay for the same service twice!

3.      Symbiosis:  PMs are here to stay; and why that’s great for CMs

4.      The Care and Feeding of your Project and Construction Managers…

My hope is that this series will start a discussion among Clients, Project Managers and Construction Management professionals.  If there are topics that you would like to have me visit that aren’t covered above; by all means reach out and say so!

The reality of today’s procurement methods is that both PMs and CMs will be involved in any significant construction project.  The onus is on the Client to question how to best leverage the talents of any project team in order to deliver a project that meets or exceeds their own success criteria. 

The hypothesis of my argument is that if the Client is informed, curious and firm; they can leverage the symbiotic relationship between these two professions to exponentially increase the chances of success and create “the best possible construction experience”.


Stay tuned.  Josh. 

Project Collaboration - Lundy Blog #1

We're excited to announce the launch of our new website!  Over the coming months I will be sharing my views on our company, what we're doing and where we're going.  Undertaking the full scale redesign and update of our website has been a collaborative process between our management team, our web designers at Industrial Media and myself.  This lead me to thinking that this site; while a relatively small project; was a project nonetheless.  One that presented its own challenges and constraints, but ultimately has achieved the vision that we had intended.

This site was not unlike any new project that Lundy undertakes for our own clients.  It's successful outcome required vision, an integrated team and a focus on open collaboration.  These parallels dovetailed nicely into our review of a recent new build...

Collaboration is the key...

I recently did a “home stretch” walkthrough of a building with my client. The project was a construction management contract to build a training facility, primarily targeted at hockey players. It was about 97% complete. The place looked amazing. The ice pad was icy, paint was drying, and the gym area equipment was mostly ready to receive athletes and start inflicting serious pain and the corresponding gain.

Building new facilities or renovating for clients is like having a front row seat to a business being launched or reborn. I’ll always feel grateful for this privilege. There is so much at stake: Hopes, dreams, and financial risk to name a few. I relish that opportunity to shadow a client and “see” the building, through their eyes, as a walkthrough happens. This was no exception. As we talked about the future of the building, the client’s vision for the place was palpable – and he knew he was on the cusp of finally achieving his vision that had been only in his mind for years.  

Eventually, our conversation came around to the subject of how my client experienced the construction process. This kind of feedback is critical to me so I can understand how Lundy needs to evolve over time. This was, like most projects, a process that had some City, trade and weather issues – perfection in construction is very rare. My client had been very “hands on” and played an active role in seeing the details of the job through. We’d both felt some of the bumps along the way. What I have come to realise is that it’s all about how you handle the bumps.

“What really stuck with me”, he commented, “was that we put our heads together as a team when issues came up. We figured out a way forward together.” This was music to my ears.

Establishing a collaborative team effort on a construction project is often sold as a simple proposition. In reality, it is often much more challenging. I’ve spent a great deal of time channeling the efforts of my team towards this goal. In the process, I’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t. I’d like to share some of these ideas.

Identify and communicate project goals

On our construction management projects, we press for a design charrette, a high level review of the project concept, right at the beginning. This offers the chance for the team to hear, first-hand, from the customer what the goals and objectives are in detail – while establishing a team dynamic centered on brainstorming ideas and solutions for the good of the project.

Build trust through transparency

Creating a sense of trust and confidence is the foundation to a successful collaborative team effort. One of the most efficient paths to this goal is though pure and unrestricted transparency. Transparency on cost, logistical concerns, scheduling issues, and past lessons learned. Being transparent with a customer is like being honest to an important friend. It feels good to us.  

Client Advocacy

The construction process is a series of trade-off decisions for the Client. Our role as construction managers is to provide the expert guidance to the client and design team to ensure the project contains the right balance of cost, speed of delivery, and quality. The Lundy difference is that we go several steps further in order to proactively address an Owner’s risk on the project. Some examples are:

·        Design reviews to suss out problems that could lead to change orders 

·        Robust subcontract negotiations to ensure best pricing from qualified trades

·        Careful review of trade change order pricing


Delivering projects with a clients best interests at heart is the foundation of successful construction management. As I'll suggest in future blogs, giving a client Value with a capital V means matching our efforts with client priorities - not the other way around. As Lundy continues to grow, we are taking proven CM strategies to new heights.  I look forward to sharing these with you in the future.

~ Sean Lundy

Next Time: How we eliminate  80% of site issues before we even break ground.  





Ottawa Architects Invite Sean Lundy To Present On "Sustainable Redevelopment Of The Built Environment"

On October 7th 2012 at the National Arts Centre, Sean Lundy made a presentation on the sustainable development of the built environment to an audience of local architects.

Lundy introduced Green Energy Performance Contractracting (GEPC) to the Ottawa building rejuvenation market; using GEPC, our clients can pay for sustainable building improvements using the money they will save on energy and operating costs in the future due to those improvements.

During the presentation, Sean identified the key business drivers of GEPC, the benefits to owners and tenants of sustainable improvements, and the Lundy Approach. Lundy focuses on the financial advantages for owners, property managers, and landlords when building rejuvenation programs incorporate sustainable initiatives.

The integrated design process central to the Lundy Approach benefits both the owner and occupant and provides our clients with a clear and attainable path to LEED® certification.

Lundy Take Home Award of Merit!

During the 2012 Annual General Meeting in January, the General Contractors Association of Ottawa presented representatives of MP Lundy Construction with the Award of Merit for the company’s work on the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Renovation and Addition project.

The COLE+Associates-designed addition has provided the Museum with much-needed space and additional educational resources to accommodate increased attendance and public interest. Lundy is grateful to the GCAO for recognizing the company’s involvement in this important project, and thanks all the parties, including MHPM Project Managers, that helped to make the project such a success.