The construction industry is under increased amounts of pressure amidst pandemic era regulations, widespread economic instability, supply chain disruptions, and a lack of skilled trade professionals. Project managers are among some of the most highly sought-after positions in construction, but that’s not enough to get hired. In order to make a positive impression on builders and stakeholders and earn credibility as a project manager, it’s important to follow these construction management best practices.
Best Practices for Construction Project Management
Construction management is evolving. Companies across the world are turning to digital and mobile solutions to longstanding issues in communication, ordering materials, and project timelines.
If you’re currently a project manager interested in the construction field, a foreman or construction professional looking to enhance your skills, or you are currently working in another industry and are looking to make a profitable career move, then these best practices for construction project management are essential skills to add to your toolkit.
Every project manager will have their own workflows and preferences when it comes to their process, but there are some best practices that all construction project managers should follow.
According to industry reports, about half of all construction projects fail for a number of avoidable reasons. One of the number one reasons why construction projects are unsuccessful is because of project managers' failure to manage the expectations of builders, clients, and contractors. Often, these three groups of people have very different expectations of how the project should play out and what the outcome will be.
Construction expectations can rapidly become unrealistic if project managers don’t manage expectations appropriately. Clearly defining expectations of builders, contractors, employees, clients, stakeholders, and anyone else involved in a project should be among a construction project manager’s top priorities.
Document plans thoroughly
Your project plan is the most crucial set of documentation for any project. Creating your plan with realistic and measurable goals is critical, but the documentation and visibility of those plans is even more crucial to ensure a successful project is completed by your project team. The outcome of planning and documentation defines the focus of project work, establishes the project scope, and creates a source of knowledge for trade contractors and other construction professionals involved.
By documenting project plans thoroughly and communicating them throughout the job, you develop trust among contractors and benefit from managing construction projects more easily. Construction companies can prevent scope creep, keep project activities in budget and on schedule, maintain change control, ensure contractor safety, track job progress with efficiency, improve quality control, and more by documenting essential details in their plans.
Part of managing expectations across teams is using effective communication to do so. Communicating quickly and effectively is crucial in the world of construction management. Even small delays can result in timelines being pushed back and more costs incurred.
Construction project managers are also tasked with keeping detailed notes regarding every aspect of the project. If the construction firm or contractors have questions about a project or the work that teams are scheduled to do, project managers should be able to provide answers promptly and accurately. This not only instills confidence in those involved with the project, but it also helps project members to anticipate and solve issues before they become a problem.
Construction project managers often are responsible for communicating with several teams and getting everyone on the same page can be a struggle. A rise in the already high use of independent contractors in construction projects presents plenty of opportunities for breakdowns in communication. In fact, 36% of Americans now make their living through independent contracting, and your teams need to be ready to adapt.
Keeping all members of the construction team on the same page is made possible with project management software. Project managers can use this software to document hours and materials as well as track, manage, and record any other information about the construction process. The benefits of communicating effectively as a construction project manager are far-reaching, impacting client and cost management.
Utilize tech resources
In order for construction project managers to communicate effectively, they must utilize the tech resources that they have and teach their teams how to do the same. There are multiple ways that technology can automate and streamline processes, which has been estimated to raise productivity globally by about 1% per year.
Project management software is also capable of integrating information from past work such as personnel, materials, and costs. This means that construction project managers who use tech resources to their advantage can have the ability to make accurate predictions regarding pricing, material availability, timelines, and other customizable reports.
A well-connected team has the ability to make notes on accounts and projects on their smartphone devices from anywhere so that updates can be communicated across teams in real time. Apart from increased productivity, as supply chains continue to transform their procedures according to recent developments in the tech space, digital resilience has become a key factor to the continued success of construction project managers.
Construction project managers usually work under an LLC or other corporate entity whose liability insurance extends to cover their responsibilities. But all construction project managers would be wise to carry their own business liability insurance that covers errors and omissions in addition to professional and general liability.
Insurance is something that should never be overlooked but often is. For example, according to recent surveys, more than half of respondents report that they elected not to invest in a comprehensive insurance policy because it’s too expensive. Don’t let being uninsured be the downfall of your construction management business.
Use customizable project management software
The number one construction management solution to address all your pain points and inefficiencies is to invest in customizable software. Mobile software allows you to manage every angle of projects from your smart device. Project management software makes it easy to stay in contact with teams and stakeholders even when you’re on site or out of the office.
Some indispensable features of project management software include:
- Check schedules and statuses from mobile devices
- Create, edit, and complete tasks
- Email reports and tasks
- Manage users and permissions
- Accounting integrations
- Secure storage for documents and other project data
Digitalization and the utilization of tech resources in construction project management connects every element of a complex project with a single convenient solution. Real-time feedback on site and intercompany collaboration are two of the many advantages of deploying project management software. These best practices can help increase productivity no matter what your tech savvy is but using software in conjunction with these best practices is the best way to ensure that your projects consistently run smoothly with successful outcomes.
How do you manage construction projects effectively?
Effectively managing construction projects has a lot to do with the tools that project managers have in place to streamline daily operations and communications. In addition to seeking continuous education regarding construction laws, building codes, and other construction regulations, construction managers should also deploy mobile solutions and construction management software to be as effective as possible.
What makes a good project manager in construction?
- They are strong leaders with excellent communication skills.
- They are confident in their ability to make important decisions in a timely manner.
- They rely on their construction and technical expertise to utilize digital tools like project management software to keep teams organized.
- They are focused on ensuring the safety of their team, staying within project scope and budget, and promoting quality work on all job sites.