Project Management Options


Project management

Project management is generally a major consideration for anyone planning to build/renovate in the Coronado area. There are many options. You can do it yourself which of course requires considerable personal time, a high degree of construction knowledge/ability and a good facility with the Spanish language. In this capacity will learn all about the intimate details of the Panamanian Social Security System, as well as the meaning (and extra cost) of “liquidacion” and “decimi”. Although you might know all about wood frame construction for North America you need to have a detailed knowledge of construction techniques for Panama which has absolutely nothing to do with “wood frame” techniques. Your knowledge should include the full range of materials available for each task, the unit costs of building materials, the major local suppliers of these materials, the average productivity of construction crews and how to stay on on top of “quality control” issues.

As an alternative, you could engage a “General Contractor” on a “fixed price basis”. You would typically provide him with a set of approved architectural plans, a building permit and the necessary cash flow. and hope for the best in a timely manner understanding that “manana” in Panama means something a bit different than what the dictionary might say.

You could also engage a General Contractor on a “labor plus materials” basis with a mark-up ranging from 18-25%, depending on the type of project. You can do your quality control work as desired.

Project Manager

Or you could engage a “Project Manager” to oversee your “General Contractor” if you are not up to speed with the local building trades, the Spanish language, material options and suppliers and/or you are not living in the Coronado area. This role is sometimes performed by the architect but typically the architect lives elsewhere (such as in Panama) and/or is not a “contractor” in a practical sense. He may ensure that your plans are implemented as approved but he can sometimes be relatively expensive for the services provided.

For some people, an inability to solve this initial problem in a satisfactory manner can result in a perpetual delay or even cancellation of the project.

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