7 ‘Must Ask’ Questions For Your Renovation Project Manager

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Home Renovations Project Management System

7 ‘Must Ask’ Questions For Your Renovation Project Manager

Selecting and structuring your project management in the right way will set up how your home extensions/renovation plays out during the construction phase.

So, to help you start in the right direction, here are 7 questions you should cover with them:

1. Are They Registered?

Anyone can call themselves a project manager, however you should always check if they’re registered with the Victorian Building Authority.

Residential construction in Victoria is a heavily regulated ‘system’. If they’re registered you know they understand industry requirements, regulations and insurances. They understand the ‘system’ required by government and how it works. They play a recognised role within that regulatory system.

If your project manager does not hold registration with the VBA, they are probably operating outside the regulatory system and may expose your project to risks relating to work quality, warranties, insurances and more.

2. Do They Have Construction and Project Management Qualifications?

Always look for qualifications such as Cert IV or Diploma in Building & Construction plus training in project systems such as Prince 2, PMBOK, etc.

A project manager who’s qualified is more likely to use up to date/best practice methodologies for your home extension/renovation.

3. What Construction Experience Do They Have?

Solid construction experience means they understand the construction process and the hurdles that arise from time-to-time.

An experienced operator will know how to work with Builder and Client in no fuss way to keep things moving when your home extension hits a speed bump.

Importantly, they’ll possess a working knowledge for your project.

4. Who Do They Work For?

If things get tricky, will they look after the builder’s best interests or yours?


•  If the builder pays the project manager, they work for the builder

•  If you pay the project manager, they work for you

This is important because in the event of difficulties or a dispute, you want the project manager to be your advocate. That’s why most people want a project manager involved.

If they’re employed by the builder, experience shows they will simply echo or implement the builder’s requirements.  That is, they are a working part of the builder’s business.

Most disputes in home extensions and renovations are between the builder and client. So, paying the project manager directly, keeps your best interests as the project manager’s priority.

5. What system do they use to Manage Your Project

Project Managers used to use MS Project for their projects however there’s now a variety of construction specific software systems for delivering home extensions/renovations.

Typically, these systems are cloud-based giving you online access to budgets, progress reports, on site photos, scheduling, discussion boards, variations, defects lists and more.

If you're looking for best of breed, make sure your project manager uses this kind of software.

Be careful with someone who simply uses email, phone calls and texts as you’ll be relying solely on the person rather than a best practice, purpose-built system.

6. Do They Have the Right ‘Soft’ Skills?

Are they communicative? Can they assert themselves in a friendly, professional manner? Have they met timelines and kept their commitments to you so far in the process?

The project manager will set the standard for everyone’s behaviour on the project. So, they need to be professional operators who know how to motivate people - by example.

7. How Do Your ‘Feel’ about them?

The way you feel about your project manager is important. If you don’t get a good feeling, that’s only going to become worse as the project progresses.

Look for a person that will show informed leadership if things become difficult. Ideally, a professional who will adopt a conciliatory approach to resolve issues and keep your home extension/renovation moving forward.

Asking these 7 simple questions will help you get things in track right from the beginning.


Author, Richard Armstrong is a Director of Melbourne firm The Makeover Group. With more than a decade of home-renovation/extension experience, Richard has helped hundreds of Melbourne clients undertake renovations to their inner metro homes. Contact us