Project management is a crucial aspect of any build to ensure works carry on at pace and to schedule. It needs knowledge and experience to ensure trades and materials are arriving on time and are secured.
Self-builders may opt to do this job themselves, but need to be aware of the scope and commitment involved. Realistically this means you need to be able to be on site every day.
Project managing sounds very professional and difficult but it is in fact what anyone running a building firm does all the time. Arranging sub-contractors to come in on the right day, and checking that they know what to do; organising materials; co-ordinating with architects and building inspectors, keeping the site safe and tidy and secure; and keeping the client happy. A DIY project manager does all these except the last.
You need time and energy to do your own project management. Experience and contacts are useful but not essential.
Ask yourself “Could I sack someone?” If not, maybe you aren’t cut out for this.
You need to be able to identify, hire and brief contractors and also ensure the quality of their work.
As a rule, it takes about one hour of project management for every seven hours worked “on the tools.” So if you have three people working on site (say for a total 24 hours a day), you will need to spend two to three hours managing the process, of which ideally one hour should be spent on site.
Don’t undertake DIY project management unless you can be on site at least once a day most days. Don’t even think about it if you are living more than an hour from site.
If you have more time to spare, then don’t sit around on site doing nothing. Become a labourer. Or lift up a broom. But don’t stand around talking to (and watching) your sub-contractors — this will slow them down and wind them up.
If you don’t know what you are doing, get help from someone who does.