Project management glossary

Coming to terms with who's who on a renovation project can be confusing, particularly as many of the job descriptions applied to occupations in the construction and building industries cross over, with different 'titles' requiring similar areas of expertise.

Wooden table with a yellow construction helmet, laptop and plans
ARTICLE Patricia Moore and Refresh renovation specialist Jim Gleeson

There are certain key functions which must be done on any renovation project and, in the first of a series, we look at who is responsible for what on site, and how their input in a management capacity is important to a successful outcome.

Project manager

A project manager runs and controls a project usually from off site and may be involved in a number of different projects concurrently, making site visits two to three times a week. Responsibilities include putting systems in place to ensure the smooth execution of a project from concept to design to construction and delivery, providing a safe working environment, sourcing suppliers and managing contracts and reporting on progress both verbally and in writing. A project manager should also have a thorough knowledge of the Building Act and the Health & Safety at Work Act.

Quantity Surveyor 

A quantity surveyor is responsible for preparing a ‘schedule of quantities’, in other words, calculating a budget based on a client’s requirements and preparing detailed estimates to ensure the budget is sufficient to meet each stage of construction. They are also responsible for ensuring construction costs and production, are efficiently managed.
Quantity surveyor qualifications, which include skills and knowledge relating to all types of construction and building services, plus analytic and administrative competence, may also be held by estimators, cost engineers, cost analysts, project coordinators, project cost controllers and cost planners.


A subcontractor contracts to perform part of the duties of the main contractor taking instructions from, being paid by, and responsible to, the main contractor. ‘Subbies’ or ‘tradies’ have skills and qualifications in specialist areas, such as plumbing, brick-laying, roofing, tiling and electrical.
Many subcontractors will be Licensed Building Practitioners or qualified in their field of expertise, belong to professional bodies and employ apprentices.

Site manager

A site manager oversees the day-to-day operation on site, ensuring work is done safely, on time, within budget and to approved quality standards. Unlike the project manager, he or she is on site for the duration of the project and has a hands-on role in everything that happens on site. The role may include issuing RFIs, maintaining health and safety standards, and supervising and liaising with contractors and subcontractors. Site managers are more likely to be employed on commercial or large residential builds, because of the number of personnel involved.

Programme manager

On larger projects the programme manager creates the schedules and Gantt Charts that indicate the timeline involved and the resources required across all aspects of the particular project, when each stage will start and when it is expected to finish. This ‘programme’ then becomes the responsibility of the site manager who ensures the trades people involved are on the job as per schedule, and that their work is completed according to the timeline indicated.
On a residential renovation project this task will be probably handled by the project manager.

Remember you also need to know what kind of design specialists you need for your renovation.

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If you would like to discuss options for your home renovation, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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