Eliyahu Fadida is a construction project manager with 30 years’ experience in construction. He started out as a contractor and began managing projects, specializing in private homes, around 6 years ago. His vast experience as a contractor gives him a major advantage in negotiating prices and overseeing the quality of work on the projects he manages.
Why would a family need a project manager?
For most people, building a home is a once-in-a-lifetime project, with the biggest budget they will ever be handling. When you manufacture a car, you are dealing with thousands of parts. I you don’t watch
for quality control and plan for and anticipate problems, the vehicle is likely to turn out defective, needlessly expensive or require costly upkeep. The same is true with building. As a project manager, I ensure that you have the right contractor, supervise the quality of his work, help cut costs and make
sure that the professionals working with the contractor are up to scratch.
What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on?
Renovating and extending an existing building is the most challenging type of project, because you need to deal with all the mistakes that were made in the planning phase. I need to supervise these projects
carefully. I also need to ensure that the client understands what we have planned, what is possible to execute and what is not, what will be expensive and what will be economical, what is essential and what is dispensable.
How does a project manager help cut costs? Is it because you help stay on schedule?
A project manager saves money in a number of ways. Most importantly, I meet with the owner and build a realistic budget before we even begin to plan the project.
People want huge, expensive houses but don’t understand how much such a project will cost them. This is the most important step—planning your project according to your budget, not your fantasy.
Of course, staying on schedule is a significant factor, since the owners are probably renting in the meantime in addition to paying a mortgage.
Do you shop around for a few different price quotes to offer the client?
For every project, I shop around for a few different price quotes and compare contractors.Sometimes, if I see that one contractor is offering a good, fair price, I advise the client to go ahead with him. But the deciding factor is not always the price; there must be good communication and chemistry between the owner and the professional.
Have you ever started mid-project and taken it to the end?
Yes. Right now, for example, I have a project in Srigim that I took on a month after it started when the owner realized that the contractor and supervisor were not doing their jobs. As soon as I took over, I brought a different contractor—and saved the owner 200,000 NIS!
What is your favorite type of project and why?
I enjoy building private homes from scratch—starting from zero, without as much as a plan. It’s very satisfying when I can influence a project right from the beginning and watch it grow until it’s complete.
Is it part of your job to be involved with design, or just administration and management?
I am involved with the design of the home, as well. Many times, the original design conflicts with the execution, so I have to intervene and bring in a designer. Of course, I never change anything myself
and would never act as an interior designer.
In one project, I contested a certain design detail because I was concerned about it causing moisture issues. The owners agreed with my assessment and we found a better solution.
What’s important for people to know about project management?
A project manager is a professional, just like an engineer, an architect or an electrician. You would never dream of hiring someone lacking experience and training in those fields! Construction is extremely
complex with many pitfalls and even excellent contractors make mistakes. There can be problems with regulations that can lead to physical danger. An engineer may come to check the ceiling, but he won’t notice if something is crooked, not sealed well, improperly installed, etc. The courts are full of
lawsuits for severe construction defects and it’s a huge headache. A competent project manager can prevent all that. The name of the game is knowledge, experience, honesty and trustworthiness. My goal is to provide the owner with peace of mind, a good price and a high-quality product that will last for
years without the need for expensive maintenance.
Eliyahu Fadida is licensed as a construction supervisor and contractor with over 30 years’ experience.
He can be reached at 052-272-7516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.