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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

MPLCP Library Building Programs: What does an OPM do?

Do I really need one?

M.G.L. c. 149, §44A1/2 requires that a qualified Owner's Project Manager be engaged for all public projects estimated to cost $1.5 million or more. This will apply to all but the smallest of public library renovation projects.


Your city or town may have an in-house employee who can serve as the OPM, or you can hire an independent consultant or firm. Massachusetts law sets the criteria for qualification: whether a municipal employee or an independent consultant , they must be:

  • registered with the Commonwealth as an architect or professional engineer and have at least 5 years experience in the construction and supervision of construction of buildings, OR,
  • if not registered, they must have at least 7 years experience in the construction and supervision of construction of buildings of similar size and scope of complexity.

In addition, the OPM must be independent of the architectural firm and the construction firm. They must be hired before either the architect or the contractor is selected.

Your new best friend

The Owner's Project Manager's job is to represent the interests of the owner (either the municipality or the library association) in any decision that arises during the project. This includes the hiring of and contract negotiations with the architect, the bidding process, and working with the contractor and his/her subs. According to Fair competition for bidders on construction — M.G.L. c. 149, §44A1/2:

The duties of the owner's project manager shall include, but need not be limited to, providing advice and consultation with respect to design, value engineering, scope of the work, cost estimating, general contractor and subcontractor prequalification, pursuant to section 44D.5 or 44D.75 when applicable, scheduling, construction and the selection, negotiation with and oversight of a designer and a general contractor for the project, ensuring the preparation of time schedules which shall serve as control standards for monitoring performance of the building project, and assisting in project evaluation including, but not limited to, written evaluations of the performance of the design professional, contractors, and subcontractors

OPM responsibilities

Specifically, the OPM can help with:

  • Optimum use of available funds
  • Architect selection
  • Oversight of the programming phase and development of the scope of the work
  • Contractor/Subcontractor prequalification
  • Contractor procurement
  • Project schedule control
  • Value engineering and cost estimating
  • Avoidance of delays, effective management of changes during construction and effective dispute resolution
  • Payment procedures
  • Construction risk assessment and allocation

List from Recommended Practices For Hiring Owner’s Project Managers:
A Guide for Municipal Construction Projects
by the MMA