When managing construction, you are essentially in charge of all the intricate details of the project, from conception until the final project handover. With millions of dollars, long-term investments, and expectations at stake in a construction project, ensuring a smooth, seamless, and high-quality project delivery becomes essential. If you are bound by numerous time, cost, and resource constraints, having a solid project management system would help account for every aspect and contingency. It allows you to stay on top and be well-informed about everything going on with the project.
Whether you construct a horizontal project, a high-rise building, cutting-edge infrastructure, or even land development projects, solid construction project management may help you deliver high-quality projects on schedule and within budget. A reliable project management system enables you to maintain operational processes efficiently, effectively, and on track, from conceptualization, planning, and design to inventory management, budget allocation, schedules and deadlines, and quality.
However, excellent project management entails much more than adhering to the iron triangle of project baselines: scope, time, and budget. It sets a vision for a successful project and ensures that everyone understands what’s required to keep on track. When projects are well managed, it achieves the results initiated to deliver.
What Is Construction Project Management?
Project management for construction means meticulously coordinating and organizing each project life cycle phase from conception to completion. In a nutshell, it serves as a guide, regulation, and oversight of a project to meet its ultimate goal – meet all of the client’s demands and requirements for a functional, cost-effective, and high-quality project. While it is a complicated subject that entails handling several vital issues, such as cost control, scheduling, procurement, and risk assessment, it is essential to have your stakeholders actively involved with the project. From architects to owners to contractors, project managers deal with everyone involved in a building project.
Who is Responsible for Construction Project Management?
Contractors, engineers, crew members, and others are part of the construction project management team, including other stakeholders based in the office, such as clients, top management, financial planners, accountants, and designers. However, the most critical personnel when it comes to managing construction projects is none other than the project manager.
Essentially, a project manager’s primary function is to ensure that everything goes according to plan. They are responsible for staying true to their baselines while ensuring quality. They identify potential roadblocks in real-time and develop contingency plans with their stakeholders. The project manager allows efficient operations that would not otherwise be achievable by centralizing information and streamlining communication.
What are the Roles of a Construction Project Manager?
Being a construction project manager might be overwhelming, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned person in the industry. Not all construction project managers are always aware of what they are doing – often, they can become overloaded with so many jobs and tasks needed to be done within a specific time frame. This section has listed seven roles and responsibilities of a project manager.
1. Plan and Organize Everything
A project manager must determine the shortest and most straightforward approach to achieving whatever the customer or stakeholder desires. It entails creating a concrete plan from start to finish, which includes breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks, and further dividing it into subtasks that can be disseminated to your crew. It also includes creating a realistic timeline for specific milestones.
2. Effective Construction Crew Management
One of the essential responsibilities of a project manager is to manage your crew by efficiently assigning the right tasks and subtasks to the right team. It is vital to distribute responsibilities to teams appropriately in many situations, such as a large project or diverse tasks involved in a project. The team members’ tasks must be prioritized to be more effective in their skills. Managers must also be aware of their teams’ strengths and limitations to distribute duties appropriately. As a result, it increases employee engagement and ensures a positive work environment.
3. Manage Schedules and Hit Project Milestones on Time
Project managers must determine if the project succeeded or failed to leave a positive impact on stakeholders and clients. It is a well-known fact that construction projects are notoriously prone to delays – be it from weather, mismanagement, miscommunication, or other unforeseen circumstances. A project manager must be able to provide realistic timelines and communicate them to the team.
4. Keep Track of the Project’s Progress
Majority of a project manager’s time is spent monitoring the progress of projects. The project manager must assess how far the project has progressed and whether it is proceeding as planned. Multiple systems, such as status reports, meetings, updates, or construction scheduling software, help track the project’s progress during the middle stages.
5. Establish A Clear Vision of the Project’s Outcome
As a project manager, you should have a clear vision of how you want the project to progress. This vision should be communicated to the entire team to understand how critical their part is in achieving the goals, increasing your crew’s accountability for their tasks. The team should be aware of their workload and make every attempt to turn these goals into a reality.
6. Document Management and Construction Reports
Finally, once the project is done on schedule and budget, the project manager must produce the necessary paperwork to give the final reports to clients and highlight areas where further development is required. A project manager’s role in project development also includes this. It serves two primary purposes: to keep track of what has been accomplished and who has been involved in the project and to ensure that it meets all of the project’s requirements.
7. Coordinate with Clients and Stakeholders
Lastly, project managers are also responsible for coordinating with clients and stakeholders. You must negotiate the project’s needs with the clients and stakeholders to document data and assign responsibilities. The project manager will explain how they should approach the project and complete it within its constraints.
It will also be the project manager’s obligation to have all of the work reviewed by the clients and stakeholders to evaluate what needs to be changed and what needs to be improved.
Why Is Construction Project Management Important?
Everyone involved can realize the benefits of good construction project management because it ensures successful delivery. It is designed to optimize best industry practices, management decision-making, adequate project controls, and reporting techniques. This section will look into the benefits of having a solid and efficient project management system.
Ensures Strategic Alignment with the Project’s Objectives
Every client has strategic objectives, and the projects delivered for them should help them achieve those objectives. Project management is critical since one of a project manager’s responsibilities is to ensure that projects are delivered appropriately to fit the client’s ideas and visions. Good project management ensures that project objectives are tightly aligned with the client and company’s strategic objectives.
Provides Project Direction and Leadership
A construction team without good project management is like sailing a ship without direction: it moves but lacks focus, control, and purpose. Leadership and vision are provided through project management, inspiration, roadblock removal, mentoring, and inspiring the team to accomplish their best work. Project managers serve the team and ensure that clear lines of accountability are established. There is no question regarding who is in command and control of a project when a project manager is in place.
Defines Clear Strategies and Processes
Without project management, construction projects often lack focus, have imprecise or vague objectives, and leave the team unsure of what to do. Breaking down work into smaller chunks allows teams to stay focused on defined objectives, direct their efforts toward reaching the project’s ultimate goal by completing smaller tasks, and quickly detect risks critical in risk management.
However, a project’s goals must frequently change when a risk materializes. A project’s chances of failing are high if it lacks devoted oversight and management. Nonetheless, competent project management allows the team to focus and refocus on their goals as needed.
Ensure Realistic Project Planning
Project deadlines, budgets, and resource planning can be overly ambitious if effective project management is not in place. Without competent project management, projects are at risk of being delivered late and beyond budget.
Effective project managers should be able to work with key stakeholders, teams, and management to set reasonable and achievable timelines and milestones. Too often, the pressure to meet a deadline undermines the necessary processes and, as a result, the project’s quality.
Quality Assurance and Control
As stated earlier, projects are frequently under a lot of pressure to finish on time, and quality is compromised. Tasks are overestimated, timeframes are compressed, and processes are rushed without a professional project manager who has the backing and buy-in of executive management. Dedicated project management guarantees that a project has the time and resources to complete and that the final product is thoroughly tested at each stage.
5 Steps on How to Create a Solid Project Management System
The construction of a project management strategy necessitates a great deal of data. It is understandable to ask how a project manager manages to bring everything together. Here are seven steps you can try out to create a solid project management system. Remember that no two projects or organizations are the same, so it is important to tailor these steps to your unique needs.
1. Set Meetings with Your Project Stakeholders
Communication and collaboration are essential to successful project management, so the first step is to meet with all project stakeholders to go over the project’s goals and scope. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, especially regarding assumptions, limits, and anticipated outcomes. Stakeholders should be informed about the planning process, and you should have their commitment to assist you.
2. Identify Key Roles
All key stakeholders should be invited to provide input for the project components that are relevant to them. You must first identify which stakeholders are involved in each project area to deal with this. This is frequently included in stakeholder management or communication management plan.
3. Define the Project Baselines
You should be able to create your basic scope, timetable, and budget at this point. The most efficient method is to start with the scope, finish with the timeline, and finish with the budget baseline. However, because these three are interrelated, any alteration to one would almost certainly affect the other two.
4. Plan Out Every Aspect of the Project
As you may be aware, planning is an essential aspect of a project manager’s job. While the three main areas of project management focus on schedule, budget, and scope, it is essential to note that sometimes focusing on these baselines is not enough. Plans should also be made to manage other critical project components or inputs, such as resources, inventory, construction crew, and task management.
5. Utilize Digital Solutions
With the increasing modernization of the world, the construction industry is slowly getting into the digital world, using software and apps to help make things easier. Construction technology, such as subcontractor scheduling software, enables you to stay on top of your projects, ensuring high-quality outcomes that consistently guarantee satisfaction and exceed client expectations.