As the population of the world continues to increase day by day, the world of construction is thriving. People need housing and places to eat or work. Needless to say, the industry is close to touching $1.4 trillion by next year.
This is a huge amount of money and these types of facts and figures are the main reason why more than 200,000 people join the workforce every year. And when there are so many people getting involved in the industry, there comes a real need for competent construction managers that are experts in their field.
That’s what this article will end up making you. In this piece, we would guide you through the whole process of construction management including all of the tricks and tips you would need to maneuver your way through all of the hurdles this market has to offer. Let’s start at the very beginning.
What is Construction Management?
The process of Project Management in Construction consists of an elaborate collection of tasks from the inception of the project to the development of the project.
These activities that the Construction Manager has to execute are a collaboration with specialists, integrating all of the vendors associated with the company and tracking all of the budgetary concerns.
This process of Management generally focusses on the phases before and during construction. Activities like team member management, onsite work supervision, and pre-construction meetings are the starting points of any construction process regardless of how big or small it is.
Generally, Construction projects are very complicated, and the presence of a third-party construction manager is a vital factor for the project’s success.
What stages do Construction Management Projects go through?
Following are the steps that are involved in the process of executing projects involved in the Construction Management paradigm:
- Initial Stage: The customer shares their vision of how they want their building or project should be executed, with the construction management company
- Pre-Construction: This section contains all of the activities the construction company has to perform before the execution of the project. These include team assembly, field testing and all of the contract negotiations associated with the project.
- Tools and Equipment: In this step, the construction company gathers all of the tools and equipment required to effectively execute the project according to the agreed-upon budget.
- Project Execution: This is when the actual work begins. The project workflows and the responsibilities of the team are communicated for the seamless execution of the project.
- Commissioning: After the construction is complete, all of the equipment and system testing is completed, and the team meets with the team to discuss the best ways to operate and manage the new facility.
- Warranty Period: The owner and their whole team move into the facility and the warranty is set either in paper or it is pre-determined by implication, depending on the agreed-upon contract.
- Project Completion: Assuming that all of the preparation was perfect, and the execution was flawless and according to the needs of the client, the project completion step is to close the development of the project and finalize all of the details between the construction manager and the client. This step is also used to reflect on the build and what both of the parties can learn from it.
When we look at all of these responsibilities of the construction manager, it’s no surprise that the need for a construction manager is going to increase by 16% by 2020, according to statistics.
Construction Project FAQs
Who are the people generally involved in a construction management project?
Apart from the obvious project manager, these projects include actors like financial consultants to help with the budgetary details, one or two contractors to execute the construction process, engineering and architectural firms, manager of operations, construction firms and a facilities manager.
What is the purpose of a construction project manager?
Well, a construction manager is an entity that oversees the project every step of the way from start to finish. They have a leading role in the whole process.
Their main activities include assembling the relevant crew for every specific project, ensuring a seamless flow of everyday workflow and also budget estimations to keep the project in its pre-defined limits.
These and many others are the roles that require immense dedication from the construction project manager. That’s why they are the boss of the whole shindig.
The way construction projects work is that at first the initial design is presented and approved; the project moves to the bidding process. This is done to assign the contractor for the project (who wins the bidding war). After the bidding process, the project manager gets involved to get the show on the road.
What are the final deliverables that the construction manager is responsible for?
These deliverables include all of the tangible assets associated with the project in question. But to give you proper know-how of the process, here are the deliverables that the project managers are obligated to deliver:
Scope Statement and Documentation
In the initial stages, the clients describe their needs, requirement and their vision of what this project means to them and what they want to achieve through it.
After that, the project managers design a scope statement that properly encapsulates the essence of the client’s vision and makes a realistic document that makes their dream come true in the form of a structure.
This document includes milestone definitions, project objectives and all the main benefits associated with the project. A scope statement is very important throughout the course of the project because it keeps the team on target, and it can present as excellent comparison at the end of the project between the initial demands and the final project.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A WBS is an amazing tool that visualizes the tasks and duties of the whole team and communicates them to the team in question. They can review the whole process through this visual representation.
This representation is also useful because it makes it very easy for the team to get to know their exact progress which ultimately lets them stay safe from any impending obstacles along the way.
Like if there are any budgetary issues coming your way, you will immediately know which of the activities is costing more and you can shuffle your budget to avoid obstacles, thanks to WBS.
Whenever there is a project in any field, there are bound to be some risks that should be foreseen when the project commences. And when there are heavy machines and tools involved in the process, the assumption of human error should be kept into account.
As a project manager, it’s your job to keep all sorts of contingency plans up your sleeve so that when there are any impending budgetary or timeline risks in the mix, you can easily steer the project away from danger.
You have to make these plans before the execution of the process commences because when the project starts you can only hope that all goes well, and you have to use these plans to stay safe if anything goes south.
Depending on the size of the construction project, you will most likely be in charge of a couple of dozen people at the same time. You will have to oversee a couple of hundred moving parts of the project.
This is why this role is so demanding because you will have to be available all day every day to the whole team until the project is not finished.
To be on the safe side, You should always have some personal techniques that you can use to get ahead of the whole situation and have proper communication channels so that you are never out of the loop and there are no blank spaces in the team.
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What are the steps involved in the Construction Project Management Process?
If you are a novice project management just starting out or if you’re a skilled professional looking to refresh your strategy, these following points will help you manage a construction project flawlessly.
Create a Plan
Generally, a project manager is responsible to complete the following tasks for the project plan:
- Setting the Budget and making sure that the whole team abides by it
- Nailing down the safety protocols to keep the project and the team safe
- Setting up the guidelines on which the quality assurance process will run
- Setting up metrics on which the performance of the team and the project will be monitored
- Setting up the communication channels through which the teams, management and all of the stakeholders will stay connected throughout the project
- Project feasibility
- Setting up the time frame that has to be followed to keep all of the activities regarding the project, in check
At this stage, the project manager should be in very close contact with the client, so that they can nail down the objectives and expectations associated with the project. Other important tasks like creating contracts and binding the project with insurance policies are also done at this stage.
The next step in the process is setting up the roles of all of the actors associated with the project. This is done as soon as possible in order to keep away from any lurking scope creeps.
This is also the time in the project where the roles of the upper management are determined and the steps where their approval is necessary and where it’s not. You should do this as early as possible to avoid any obstacles along the way.
Host a Kickoff Meeting
What do you do when you have to communicate the whole plan to the team as soon as possible? Host a Kickoff Meeting.
In this meeting, you should include all of the major actors involved in the project. Go over the strategy and it’s up to you and the level of trust you have with your team, that you share the whole strategy or just the relevant information.
Answer all of the questions that come up and you should actually encourage the team to ask as many questions as they can. Why? Because this would actually help them understand their role perfectly and there won’t be any topic untouched.
No project in this world has ever gone into the development and came out exactly as the team planned. There are bound to change and it’s your job to keep your team stable and turn every obstacle into a welcome opportunity to tune the project if feasible and make it more diverse.
Conduct a Final Review
In this step, you should take a look back at all of the upper mentioned steps and make amendments to everything you think is faulty.
All the planning and making sure everything ready process is complete. Now it’s high time to start the actual construction. Have the team follow all of the strategies and plans you have made for them and provide help and leadership to them at every step of the way.
This will keep the morale up and let you effortlessly oversee the whole project as it unfolds.
Once the construction is finished, you still have many important things to do. You have to make sure that the client is debriefed about the whole project development, meet with the construction teams and get the final report and also meet with the management personnel to finalize all of the important management details.
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What are the general obstacles faced by the managers in Construction Management Projects?
Planning and Scheduling in the Construction Management paradigm are very complex just like in any other field. With so many moving parts in the play, there are bound to be some obstacles that would hinder your progress. Here are some of the obstacles commonly faced by Construction Project Managers:
Communication is key when there are so many actors in play regarding one specific project. Most studies show that when there are a number of blank spaces in the team due to less or no communication at all among the team members.
As a project manager, it is your job to keep the team and all of the stakeholders connected by ay means necessary. This will help you sustain any obstacles that would cost you time and money as the project goes under development.
When there is less communication among the team members, there are bound to be some unrealistic demands by the team or the stakeholders.
Why? Because when there is no proper communication that would’ve cleared all the misconceptions about the project, there are bound to be some requests that would require unrealistic budgetary requirements.
As a project manager, it’s up to you to do all the research, find the correct price for everything and convey the whole information to the client and the stakeholders before development starts, because these scope creeps can be a big issue later on.
Mismanagement of Data
According to surveys, construction teams spend dozens of hours looking for revised drawings, project plans and material cut sheets, which is a huge waste of time.
These should have been readily available from the start so that the team could focus on actually doing the work rather than wasting time researching over and over again.
Violation of OSHA safety standards
A major obstacle in construction management is violating the safety standards set by the authorities to safeguard the teams. Most of the time the construction team members get hurt when they don’t abide by the safety standards.
These incidents are entirely preventable if there is a conscious effort to reduce violations of health and safety standards.
Failure to Incorporate New Technology
Technology is something you will have to get comfortable in today’s world if you like it or not. This also includes Construction Management. When we think of a construction project, our minds don’t normally pivot towards technology but there is a close relation between construction and technology.
Today construction is totally reliant on technology. All of the construction teams and the management staff use technology to create a successful project from scratch. And it’s your job as the project manager to acquire the latest tech for your team so that they get the work done flawlessly.
What are the tools necessary for excellent Construction Management Projects?
Just like the contractors have their big excavators and such, you also need some tools that would make your life as the Construction Project Manager easier. They are:
- Billing and Estimation Calculators
- Real-time Communication Platforms
- Centralized Document Management
- WBS templates
- Construction Project Management Software
How to choose the correct Construction Project Management Tracking Software?
It’s very easy to differentiate between a good and great construction project management software. When you look around the market, you will find that there are a lot of options out there, but which one would fulfill your needs and requirements completely.
Here are a few necessary tools that the software should track:
- Real-time visibility of all of the work being done
- Resource management is done during every development phase
- Customizable automated workflows
- Visual reports
- Prebuilt templates
- Resource management
- Partnership capabilities
- Extended app integrations
- A flexible interface
In this article, you have studied all of the major tools and weaponry you need in your arsenal to take on this ever-changing world of the construction management paradigm. You might face different scenarios from the rest of the people working in this industry, but these tools will get you where you need to be, very easily.
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