Project Management in Construction – The Building Blocks for a Successful Project

So far, we used the Teodesk blog to discuss, explain and present mostly universal issues in PM. However, it’s time for some custom made articles, where every single professional, from a specific field and industry, will be able to relate to and learn some new things.

Our first “custom made” blog is dedicated to the construction industry. So, as every thorough professional, we’ll start by identifying singularities and perks of this field. For starters, we defined what construction is and what are some of it’s key traits.

Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. 

The next step is to identify the importance and purpose of project management in this industry. Not very hard to do as every construction project is founded on project management as its basis. What is pretty much typical for construction is that its projects have a continuous need for adjustment. Logically, the key to the stability of the entire procedure is, of course – solid project management in all its glory.

Put simply, it’s the Project Manager who is almost completely responsible for the success of a construction project. Their fields of expertise must include direction, regulation, and supervision of a project from early development to completion. In other word, project managers in construction oversee the planning, execution, monitoring, control, and closure of the project.

What drives these managers? Basically, their ultimate goal is to fully satisfy the client’s demands for a viable project both in terms of functionality and budget.

No doubt, construction is not an industry where every project is a mirror of a previous one. At all.

We can list a wide range of construction project types, like commercial, residential, industrial or heavy civil… However, for all of those – one thing is always in common. The basic concept of project management in construction is definitely tightly linked to technical parameters like budget and execution. For that to function, a project manager must make sure to provide and maintain solid communication between all the agents (stakeholders, contractors, community).

As most of the projects in construction usually include many tasks and multiple phases that require deep knowledge of the building process and an ability to define and resolve the problem, a project manager must be up to solving those issues in order to keep the project in its tracks, while moving according to plan.

Construction PM’s Skills and Knowledge

A construction PM must possess a wide range of skills and a lot of experience to be able to successfully handle diverse and numerous teams, multiple stakeholders, abundant documentation, and rigid timelines. On top of that, he or she must regularly report on the project’s progression to sector management and the client. As a matter of fact, a client is the most important person on the project. PM’s duties are to arrange visits to potential, new and existing clients and to ensure they have everything they need and they are informed about any issue that could be of significance.

The key skills of a good are PM:

  • Financial management– This one is on the top of a list as construction projects often cost more than expected and planned.
  • Time management – This one is also linked to finance as an over-running project will inevitably cost more. When handled correctly, it is the main source of confidence between the client and the company as a good PM will always make an extra effort to ensure that an on-site team is working as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The Role of a Construction Project Manager

As we said earlier, a project manager is responsible for planning, coordinating, budgeting and supervising projects, from their beginning to the end. To do this properly, he or she will have to take extra care of the following duties:

  • Specify the project goals
  • Put together the budget and negotiate cost estimates
  • Create and monitor work timetables
  • Choose the most efficient construction method and strategies while boosting resource effectiveness
  • Communicate with clients
  • Go through technical and contract details with workers and other professional parties
  • Keep an eye on the personnel in construction onsite
  • Cooperate with building and construction specialists

Documentation in Construction PM

In construction project management, documentation is not only for keeping the project on tracks but to serve as a historical reference for future projects. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to keep it neat and easily accessible. That is not an easy task as documentation in this field can be overwhelming – from project plans, submittals, and daily reports to change orders and progress payments.

However, it is a MUST to have it all organized so here are five tips to better manage your documentation:

  1. Increase control: A team must follow a consistent workflow so a PM can track and manage project documentation. For that, it is important to implement repeatable processes for team members and stakeholders to submit and manage documentation.
  2. Automate workflows: This one is maybe the best advice among these five.
  3. Keep teams connected: Facilitate your team a documentation submission, by creating project-specific
  4. Create an audit trail: Generate one record system for any project-specific documentation.
  5. Improve transparency: Have just one single source of project documentation and communication.

Importance of Communication in Construction PM

As in any other industry, for project management to be successful it is very important to have clear communication. However, when we are talking about this specific field, communication is essential to every single project.

Sharing both good and bad news in a timely manner is equally important when preparing and implementing a build. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a healthy communication flow between every member of a team working on a project – whether it be on the site or in the office.

A keyword that makes it happens is – transparency! It can make the process go smoothly while, at the same time, it reduces the number of emails and phone calls whenever issues arise.

The best way to create this kind of communication flow is by accepting help from technology and its perks. Creating one single location for all project planning and documentation and allowing all key stakeholders to have access – is what makes it possible for your team to be actively involved in a project: to see comments and correspondence in context, while monitoring status, budgets, and changes as they occur.

Like for any other industry, Teodesk is always ready to adapt and customize the process that leads to success. Feel free to sneak a peek and see how this smart tool can help you organize your construction project in the best way possible.

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