Whether the construction project is new building or rehabilitating an old one, there are a few things that every manager should keep in mind. Managing construction well can save time, money and resources.
Setting realistic expectations is key to success on any project. This is especially true for construction projects.
Know Your Role
There are many ways to be involved in the management of a construction project. Often, projects involve a team of people including contractors, subcontractors, managers and employees, as well as vendors, safety inspectors, and customers. Project management software like Bridgit makes it easy for all parties to stay in sync on a construction project, no matter where they are located. However, even in the best-managed projects, problems will arise. A construction project manager should be able to deal with the unforeseen and remain cool under pressure.
A major component of this is a thorough knowledge of project management principles and processes. Fortunately, there are many online resources to help with this. These how-to guides, software reviews and advice pieces provide an excellent base of knowledge for any construction project manager. Additionally, a project management manager should be able to quickly adapt to new methods and technology that show up. A good construction project management team should keep an eye on the industry for what’s new, and use these advancements to their advantage whenever possible.
Another key aspect is being able to communicate the client’s hopes and dreams for their project. This can be done through a scope statement that outlines the main objectives, deliverables and key benefits of the project. This should be written at the start of the project to help limit scope creep.
It’s also important for a project manager to understand the importance of quality assurance. Having the right processes in place to maintain standards during construction is essential to avoid costly repairs or loss of reputation. This requires understanding regulations and legislation and establishing protocols to follow.
Finally, a project manager should be able to negotiate effectively. This is particularly true if they’re dealing with clients, but can also be important when working with subcontractors and other team members. A strong knowledge of negotiating can save time and money in the long run.
Lastly, it’s important for a construction project manager to stay on top of all the little things that can derail a project. This involves tracking daily progress reports, analyzing budgets and scheduling, as well as staying aware of any dangers or unanticipated issues.
Define the Scope
A well-crafted scope of work sets the stage for a successful project. A poorly written one can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and costly changes and rework down the road.
To minimize the risks of such issues, construction firms need to create a scope that describes in detail the work they’re going to do on a specific job and sets clear expectations for their clients. The scope should include the client’s goals, a timeline, and the work that will be required to reach those objectives. It should also be a document that is easy for the construction team to read and understand. This means avoiding jargon and using simple words to explain complex concepts. Adding visual aids can also help reduce confusion and misunderstandings.
Creating a scope of work can take time and a lot of back-and-forth with clients, but it’s worth the extra effort. A well-crafted scope of work prevents misunderstandings, cuts down on change orders, and helps construction firms avoid disputes over payments.
This is especially important when working with design build and other types of projects that require collaboration between a client, the architect, and contractors. A well-written scope of work can help the entire team stay on track and achieve a positive outcome on the project.
For a home construction project, for example, the scope of work should clearly explain the steps needed to complete the job including the permits, excavation, foundation, carpentry, exterior and interior finishes and other tasks necessary for building a new space. It should also list any materials that will be required and provide a detailed breakdown of how each task will be completed, along with the estimated timeline for each.
Scopes should be reviewed regularly to make sure that they are accurate and reflect the most recent project information. This will also help ensure that all parties are aware of the changes made and any other additional tasks that may need to be done to reach the client’s desired result.
A good way to organize and manage the construction project’s scope is by hosting it on a cloud-based project management platform. This will give everyone on the construction team access to the statement of work, and it will be easy to refer back to it throughout the project.
Develop a Communication Plan
Construction projects can be complicated, and there are a lot of moving parts. A project management plan is necessary to make sure that everyone on the team knows where they stand with the timeline and how things are progressing towards completion. It also helps to identify the different people who should be looped in on certain information, when it should be delivered and how often it should happen.
A communication plan may be as simple as a piece of paper, or it can be a more interactive and visual document. For example, it can include the name of the project and the goals that are being set. It should also include the contact details for any individuals who should be receiving notifications and any updates on project status.
The communication plan should also explain how and where communications will take place. This could be through email, in-person meetings, designated Slack channels or even through a Gantt chart. The frequency of the communications should be established as well, so that any potential issues can be addressed quickly.
It is important to have a plan for communicating any changes in the project timeline or budget. Delays are inevitable in the construction industry, and it is a good idea to have some foresight when it comes to project forecasting. For example, if one item on the critical path is delayed, you may need to adjust other activities or resources in order to keep up with schedule and ensure that the final product is ready for handover.
Effective internal communication is the best way to keep employees up to date with any important changes in the workplace or project status. It is also an opportunity to address any concerns that have been raised by employees and help them to resolve any problems that they are having.
It is also a good idea to monitor what is being said about your company and the project through social media and other traditional channels. This will allow you to keep an eye on the perceptions of your stakeholders and ensure that the message is being received in a positive light.
Keep an Eye on the Budget
Construction projects are complex and involve a lot of moving parts. Changes to plans can happen at any time, and the ability to adjust quickly is key to keeping projects on-time and within budget. It is important to keep everyone on the project informed of changes in advance and be able to explain the impact of these changes on the overall timeline and budget. This includes clients, stakeholders, subcontractors, suppliers and staff.
The best way to ensure that the project stays on budget is to create a detailed plan that is reviewed and revised at each stage of the project. This helps to identify any potential issues with the scope of the project and address them before they become a major problem. It is also important to track costs during the course of the project by monitoring actual vs. budgeted costs to identify any areas where the project is going over-budget. This enables the project manager to take corrective action and control costs to help keep the project on-budget.
Developing a strong management team is another important aspect of construction project management. This involves creating a culture of cooperation and collaboration on the job site and encouraging everyone to contribute their ideas and expertise in order to achieve the best results for the client. This can also help to prevent disputes and prevent misunderstandings that can lead to project delays and additional costs.
It is also important to set clear expectations concerning the consequences of repeated infringements of project protocols, including safety protocols. This can help to deter workers from circumventing protocols that are the responsibility of higher-ups and reducing project efficiency and effectiveness.
When it comes to building an accurate initial cost estimate, it is important to look at past project costs and perform thorough work breakdowns of labor, materials, equipment, overhead, permits and other recurring fees. Using a job costing tool can be useful for calculating these estimates and tracking them throughout the project. It is also a good idea to include a contingency budget in case of unexpected expenses.
Managing a construction project requires a mix of core project management principles and specialized knowledge specific to the field of construction. By layering both together, project managers can use these steps to effectively manage construction projects of all sizes.