Thailand Project Management

If you are building in Thailand or considering construction in Thailand, then you may well need the help of a project manager. We have provided some basic information, tips and points that may well help you in this task. Always remember building in Thailand is not always easy and you should carry out sensible steps, checks and always use professional experienced people. Mistakes in construction can be very costly to solve, so do take care and make sure you use people with experience. Building in Thailand can be fun and very rewarding, but you need to take careful steps to assure a successful project: you do this by using good experienced construction personnel and by choosing the right builder.

If you require a project manager or project management in Thailand for a particular project then please do contact us. Many are listed in our project management database.

What is a Construction Project Manager?

A project manager in the construction industry refers to a professional person who is skilled and experienced in the field of project management. A project manager can have the responsibility and job of the planning, execution and completion of a construction project. A project manager is the person responsible for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Their key project management responsibilities are normally to create clear and attainable project objectives, liaising with various parties involved, building the project requirements, choosing a builder, supervising the Thai builder or Thai contractor; in addition to managing building works, building costs, time, scope, and quality. A project manager is a very important part of the construction process in Thailand.

Thailand Project Managers

Project managers in Thailand include a wide range of varying types of people. Some are professional project managers with lots of experience and some are inexperienced people who are best avoided: You have the professional Thai and foreign project managers, professional architects with project management experience and professional contractors who deal with project management themselves. You then have experienced foremen turned project managers and other knowledgeable personnel who are adept at managing people and construction projects. A project manager is a chosen career and it is important he/she is experienced. They need to know a lot about construction materials, methods, processes and dealing with the numerous tradesmen involved. Thailand project management is very important and choosing well is essential.

Careful consideration needs to be carried out if you wish to employ a project manager in Thailand; and you need to decide in what capacity that person is employed. A project a manager can be employed merely to oversee construction works and manage the day to day construction of the project; or they can be fully involved in every aspect from finance, organization of architects, contractors, costing and certificates of final inspections etc. See project manager's role below.

Cost of a Project Manager

There is no exact set salary and it varies. However to give you some idea: a professional project manager in Thailand can cost anywhere from 50,000 Baht per month to 300,000 Baht a month. A good professional one with plenty of experience will cost anywhere from perhaps 50,000 – 150,000 Baht. Above 150,000 Baht will be for the best professionals with lots of experience; who are more likely involved in large scale development projects. But cost varies and much depends on the size/ scope of construction project, their involvement, their experience and what is agreed in their employment contract. These are only meant as a basic guide. Each project manager and the project involved in varies so check yourself if you wish to employ one.

There are also some good professional builders in Thailand who include project management within their prices; which means you do not have to finance a project manager. It is included in their contract with you. Unfortunately, a fair number of builders do not employ professional project managers as it increases the costs. So by not having it, they can give a quote that is lower than what it should be. Or simply they do not think they need one. All construction projects need professional supervision. To not have someone who is experienced in managing a construction site and its people, is naturally a disaster waiting to happen. It is why you may see cheaper prices or lower quotes; problems on site, unfinished work, homes abandoned by the builders, long delays, and inferior quality. Always check what the builder provides as what may seem a high price at first glance, may actually be the correct, fair price. It may well be because the more expensive builder is giving you the correct project management and build service that is required to successfully build your project to a good standard. If you would like to ask us about project management, or know a good builder please contact us.

Project Management is not an easy job. You need experience.

Although there are excellent professional project managers in Thailand with lots of experience in Thailand, there are also ones you really do not want to use. The types you should avoid are anyone who pretends or believes they are a project manger but has no experience or understanding of the construction industry. They normally do not have a work permit and think project management is easy. It is not. Check their credentials. And we do not mean by seeing some simple course they have done in a month on the internet but their actual physical performance in the construction industry. Get references and speak to people.

Be Careful:

A project manager can save you money, increase quality of work and use time productively. However a bad one or inexperienced one can ruin a project; cost you huge sums of money, upset the other workers and cause terrible problems. Be careful. Check their credentials.

Warning: Project Managers to Avoid

There are various people who dabble in project management, or find themselves in Thailand with nothing to do, so wrongly think it is a job they can carry out. Please do be very careful. Avoid them and avoid problems. Project management is not easy and requires strong personality, experience, honesty, knowledge of the construction industry and the different parts/ processes; as well as an understanding of the people who work within it.

There are many people who come to Thailand and run out of money. They then desperately need something to do to finance them staying here. Some set up real estate web sites as it is easy to do and requires no effort and others grab at anything they can. Many try to reinvent themselves as something they are not, without any previous experience within that industry. Many have no qualifications or physical experience in construction, nor do they have the capability to do the job correctly. Project management unfortunately is one of the jobs or services they pretend they can do. Avoid them or it could be a costly mistake.

Currently the internet offers many cheap and insufficient courses. Some naive people do these simple, free or low cost courses in project management, with no prior construction experience; or any inclination or talent towards it. The courses are simple, designed to be easy to pass and make the internet seller money and certainly do not give that person even the smallest amount of required knowledge to carry out project management works. They do something in writing on a computer and then wrongly think that makes them a project manager. It is a shame as often they pay for the course with great expectations. But project management is not something one learns on the internet. It is a chosen professional career, and/or one that someone has worked for many years to become; and if you want your project to run smoothly, on time and to budget, then it is only sensible to employ someone who has years of construction experience; a person with aptitude for managing projects and people; and one that can prove his credentials and abilities as a project manager. A piece of paper does not make you a project manager. Check their credentials, speak to previous employers and visit the projects they have been involved in.

Project Managers to Employ

Many good professional project managers have completed construction courses at college or university and have had a passion for construction from first leaving school. In addition they learn and gain experience working for a construction company; many started as carpenters, plasterers and some chose the college course route and then did site management, working for many years in the building industry. Some of them, when they have enough experience then go in to the contracting industry. They are then contracted to project manage construction projects. They are often employed as project managers for construction sites through employment companies and job agencies. Alternatively their professional reputation is solid enough and they contacted direct to help with a project. These are guys you should employ; the professional project managers. They can save you a lot of money, time and frustration. They are worth every Baht you pay them and are essential for top quality projects to be implemented successfully.

Questions to ask a Project Manger before Employing Them

Project management is a complex and serious part of the construction process. It is a hard job as so many things can go wrong. There are a multitude of things that can go wrong which could destroy your project and cause you enormous over costs and problems. So to avoid this as much as possible and to filter out bad ones we suggest asking the following:

  • Do they speak Thai and do they understand building language and terminology ?
  • How many years have they been working as a project manager in Thailand ?
  • Where have they worked and what projects have they completed ?
  • Ask them to provide names, references and contact details of past employers and check if the employers were satisfied with their performance. Ask to be taken to see projects they have built and ask to speak to the owners or developers to verify it is true.
  • Ask to see their official Thai work permit and get their passport copy signed and their home address ?

"The above could save you a lot of money and a lot of problems."

Project Managers Role

A project manager's role can vary. On say building a house in Thailand it will probably involve the managing of the day to day construction works. Making sure it is built on time, to a good quality and to make sure the workers follow plans and carry out all agreed works. But on larger projects there is much more involved; including checking bills of quantities, organising multiple sub-contractors, quality control and time scheduling. It all depends on the capacity you have employed them in and what you have agreed for them to do. So this needs clear agreement before finalising their employment. Do make sure they have many years of experience, can provide references/recommendations and can show you projects they have managed.

Project management is a very important part of the building process. And for any construction project to run smoothly with as few problems as possible you need good professional project management; whether that project management is carried out by a specific individual project manager, or the builder himself.

Project Managers Roles and Tasks

There is a lot involved in managing a house-building project and a project manager has to be on the ball every day making sure the project is correctly built. The main tasks include:

Preliminary Stage of the Project
  • To arrange the financial aspects and continually check project costs.
  • To organise and arrange the design of the project.
  • To choose the architect.
To Choose and Organise the Builder and Maybe the Subcontractors
  • The project manager may be involved to in asking selected builders and/or subcontractors for prices and tenders to do the work.
  • They have to then select the form of legal contract that best suits your requirements and work with the builder to insure it is agreed upon and kept to.
Legal Permissions from Local Authority and Consents:
  • The project manager has to assist and apply for building permissions and any other local authority conditions.
To Manage the Construction of the Project
  • The project manager has to sure subcontractors are available on time when they are required.
  • Keep in regular communication with you and be available by e-mail and phone.
  • Manage and deal with suppliers and making sure materials are ordered and delivered on time.
  • Continually monitor the progress of works from the start to the finish; making sure everything complies with the contract and consent documentation (including architects drawings and specifications).
  • Arrange for inspections by your own professionals, such as the designer or architect.
  • Arrange for inspections if required by the building inspectors at the end of each stage of construction.
  • Answer questions that arise during building, and clarifying anything in the construction documents with the contractors.
  • Keep on time with and make sure when progress payments are due and check claims for payment.
  • At the end of their job, also negotiate with the builder and subcontractors to come back and fix any work not completed or done properly.
  • Process variations orders and manage anything else that crops up along the way.
  • Arrange amendments to the building consent where necessary and deal with local authority.
  • Arrange the final inspection for the code compliance certificate.

We hope this has helped with information on project management in Thailand. Please always do your own due diligences and check what people tell you. It is so easy to avoid most of the problems by doing the proper checks. Asking for references, going to see projects and making sure the project manger you employ is the real deal.

If you would like help finding a project manager please contact us. We have an extensive list of professional project managers who may be able to assist you.

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