Q & A with Jonathan Levy

Principal and Founder, Beezley Management

  • Q: What are Beezley Management’s core services?

    A: We are primarily an owner’s representation, construction management and project advisory firm. Our clients hire us because, though experts in their own fields, they need someone who is an expert in design and construction to ensure their interests are protected and the project is properly designed, permitted, bid/negotiated, contracted, built, equipped and coordinated for overall occupancy and ongoing maintenance.

    The best way to think of an owner’s representative/construction manager is the way you do your accountant or lawyer. They represent you and only you, but they happen to have an expertise in the construction/development process too. And, they will be there every step of the way— from team formation/development to post completion occupancy and turnover, to operations. Statistics show that projects without a strong owner’s representative/construction manager are three times more likely to fail than those with a strong owners representative/construction manager-led team.

  • Q: Isn’t that the same role that the designer plays?

    A: The answer is no. The designer is responsible for understanding the needs and wants of the client and creating documents that express that vision into a set of permittable (agency-approved) plans and specifications. We make sure the design firm is focused on build-ability/constructability and designing to budget and schedule, and that nothing falls through the cracks. We also manage the bid process to get a contractor onboard, and manage the general contractor from construction to building occupancy. Overall, we ensure owners are protected and well-informed to make critical decisions that will ultimately impact the overall success of their projects.

  • Q: Can the general contractor manage themselves, or can owners hire a design-build firm to manage everything?

    A: You could, but owners will always be challenged with needing someone to provide overall project leadership, oversight and management, and to represent their interests apart from the interests of other stakeholders. General contractors should not manage themselves. And, design-builders aim to build the product at the lowest possible cost and highest profit for themselves. Owners need to beware of their needs being cut out of the job in areas like finish levels, technology, equipment, quality, etc. If the designer is part of the general contractor team, the owner has lost an advocate, leaving just the owner’s representative or construction manager to protect their interests during the construction process.

  • Q: If we have a developer responsible for design, build and financing, do we need an owner’s representation/construction management firm?

    A: In doing so, you face the same issues of self-interest as previously mentioned for a design-builder, but perhaps to a lesser extent due to a developer’s longer-term interest in the built facility’s operations and maintenance. However, if a developer plans to flip ownership to another party, they effectively function as the design-build-finance entity with all the same issues as above.

  • Q: How large is the owner’s representative/construction management team and what does it cost for a project?

    A: The size ranges from one person to a team of two to four people depending on the project. Cost approaches vary from hourly to flat fees based on a percent of budget. Typical owner’s representative/construction management fees average between four to eight percent of the budget categories they oversee. For example, a $5 million project over a 12-month period would average about $300,000. However, a $15 million, 15-month project may fall under four percent. Size, type and duration of the project determine the fee. Don’t be fooled by someone who throws out random percentages. It is most important for the owner’s representative/construction manager to evaluate the project, recommend a staffing level and cost per month, and then build a customized plan that results in an affordable cost. Time and time again, our clients find that the cost more than pays for itself over the life of the project.