The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strengthening its position as a hub for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Announcements on ground-breaking medical research, the launch of space missions, and the deployment of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing and robotics, are on the increase.

To prepare students for careers at the forefront of technology, leading universities are investing heavily in cutting-edge facilities such as wet and dry laboratories for health, biosciences and chemistry; centres for innovation and technology; and containment facilities for plant and animal research. When high-value CapEx projects like these are combined with stringent sustainability targets such as Net Zero or LEED Platinum, it’s easy to understand why many university administrators call on the services of a project management consultant (PMC) to ensure these complex projects run smoothly.

Managing the different phases of large construction projects is what PMC's do every day. They provide an important level of expertise that your in-house team may not have, and act on your behalf to oversee the entire process and make sure your project is completed successfully.

Here are five reasons you need a PMC for your next academic construction project:

1. Improved communications

A PMC works as part of your project team through every step in the construction process. Unlike other team members, however, their sole responsibility is to represent your educational institution's best interests.

A PMC manages the communication between all team members, which leads to better collaboration. They also keep you, as the owner, fully informed of any project changes or potential issues.

2. Better risk management

All construction projects include some level of risk, especially more complex projects like higher education facilities. There are many challenges that can arise during a project, from unforeseen costs to unexpected snags that lengthen the schedule. In the worst case, the project will not be delivered on time and/or meet all requirements.

Having a PMC on board helps to mitigate those risks. This is because they provide another expert pair of eyes reviewing designs and plans. They can spot potential challenges, avoid issues and resolve problems quickly.

3. Access to a large pool of experts

Working with a professional project management firm also provides your university or college with access to a large pool of experts. From architects to engineers, a good PMC should be supported by a multi-disciplined team with a range of knowledge and skills able to provide oversight during every phase of a project, not just during construction.

You gain peace of mind knowing that your project is in expert hands. This means you and your staff can spend less time worrying about the project and more time focused on your other work.

4. Improved schedule management

Part of a PMC’s job is to develop and manage the project schedule and make sure everything stays on track. They take proactive steps to keep the schedule moving, and address issues that may cause delays.

A project that is not completed on time can have serious consequences. Project delays can leave educators with nowhere to teach, or students with nowhere to live. In addition, last minute scrambling to make other arrangements is no way to start a new semester and can damage your institution’s reputation.

A PMC’s oversight is vital to avoiding these issues and keep your project on schedule.

5. Control costs and expenditures

Another key role of a PMC is to oversee project budgets and expenditures. They work on budget development to create an accurate financial picture for a university or college. They also track spending to make sure expenses do not go over budget.

A PMC can also help with value engineering and identifying savings measures to keep your project budget as low as possible. In short, they help your institution develop the best budget possible and make sure your project stays within it.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries recognise the value of investing in higher education to create sustainable, diversified economies that will deliver future jobs and prosperity for their citizens. If you are planning such an investment, then hiring a PMC should be your first step.

*Originally posted on the Colliers Project Leaders USA site with minor revisions