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Managing a construction project step by step

October 12, 2017

Managing a construction project regardless of size, is a very complex undertaking. The construction project manager has to ensure the project runs on time and on budget while ensuring all other tasks are completed in accordance to the schedule. Then there are compliance, health, safety and legal issues plus many challenges along the way to achieving a successful outcome for the stakeholders.

It is easy to see why every construction project requires detailed planning. A well-planned project maximizes efficiency and provides a step-by-step guide to achieving the desired end goals.  

Here are some essential steps in managing a construction project.

 

Know your limits

Before taking on a project, a project manager must determine the project’s feasibility against the resources, budget and timelines available. It is their responsibility to take into account project costs, human resources and the materials required across the life of the project to assess whether the project goals are possible to achieve. This review should then be shared and discussed with all stakeholders.

 

Project Design and Documentation phase

 

1.Work smarter, not harder

Design is a crucial part of a construction project. Make sure those designing the building document all aspects of the plans in detail, so you can incorporate into the project management system.

2.Learn to successfully delegate

The key to successfully managing a construction project is the ability to delegate tasks. Delegate everything you can to those responsible on site. There is no need for you to do it all when you have capable people around you. Spend as little time as possible on things you do not need to deal with at all and review via your project plan.

Before starting construction

 

3.Be a control freak

A project manager needs to be in complete control of their team. Make sure your key staff keep you updated regularly on the tasks delegated to them both in person and via your project management software. You also need a plan and a schedule of works to achieve the project’s end goals. A project manager needs to be a control freak.

4.Have a detailed project plan

A project manager must produce a detailed plan. The more complex the project the more detailed the plan needs to be. Good planning maximizes efficiency and provides a step-by-step plan to follow to complete the project. This should include:

  • setting up a budget

  • define goals

  • determining logical task dependencies

  • creating a schedule

  • coordinate materials

  • develop deliverables

  • allocate human resources

  • establish project timelines

  • putting communications protocols in place.

You also need to work out how much equipment the project will need from start to completion as well as the labour requirements. Consider the use of subcontractors as well as the scheduling of materials and their delivery on site on time. Other things a project manager needs to consider is risk management and having a safety plan.

Having a detailed plan will help mitigate issues when a project threatens to go off track.

5.Make use of technology

Hopefully, you are not someone who has not yet transitioned into the world of technology. If you are still using spreadsheets to track a project, then there is a better way. Construction project management software can help you with the complex, time-consuming tasks involved with running a construction project. A good project management solution automatically tracks and stores documents, and assists with planning and scheduling each phase of a project.

 During construction

 
6.Monitor and amend your plan

Project management is a continual process from start to end. When construction starts, a project manager will continually compare optimal to actual performance during each phase of the project. This allows for monitoring and amending the plan immediately to keep the project on track.

7.Prepare for the unexpected

Everything to do with construction is unpredictable. From sourcing materials and skilled workers to the weather, natural disasters and delivery delays, construction management can be a constant challenge.

By preparing for the unexpected in the budget and schedule, it reduces stress and keeps project stakeholders satisfied.

8.Use your employee’s strengths

Do not make the mistake of using your people wherever they fit in according to their availability. It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your workers when scheduling resources to tasks. This will keep your workers happy and productivity will be high.

9.Establishing effective communication

Effective communication is crucial for the success of any construction project. Set up communication strategies right from the start. Poor communication can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings that cause costly delays.

Make sure everyone knows who the appropriate point of contact is to ensure information is shared to the team. Things like requests for information and change requests need to follow an established process for a documented outcome.

Communication is vital to the how a construction project runs. Make sure the team is aware that communication and collaboration are necessary for a successful outcome.

When the construction project is complete

 
10.Hold a final meeting

Hold a final meeting with members of your construction team when it is all over. Have a discussion about how the project went. Look at not just what went right, but what went wrong and how this can be avoided or addressed in the future. Encourage team members to have input into improving organizational processes and procedures. This will help their continual improvement and learning.

Managing a construction project is not easy. It can keep many project managers awake at night. You can have success when you follow best industry practices and use project management software on every project.

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