Construction Management Phases
No matter the scale or scope, the five phases of construction management help form a plan for the direction and execution of each project. Understanding the construction management phases provides a structured process that construction planning teams can repeat and optimize over time.
The construction management process is broken down into 5 phases:
Each step comes with its challenges that construction managers must overcome. Let’s dive into the details of each phase:
Before any construction can begin, the initiation or planning phase involves crucial steps that outline each project’s basic strategies and design specifications. This phase is one of the most important steps of the construction management process since it establishes a framework for all the tasks that follow.
Three steps occur during the initiation phase:
Programming and feasibility — the construction planning team outlines the initial goals and objectives for the project and produces a project initiation document (PID).
Schematics design — the team creates a detailed sketch of the project to be used for design development and research.
Contracts and documents — all paperwork is completed, including final drawings, specs, and other pertinent information, so bidders have the most accurate project details.
The most challenging features of this construction management phase are communication and defining objectives. Construction managers and construction project managers must facilitate communication across teams and key decision-makers to clearly define the project expectations.
When the bidding is done, and a contractor has been chosen to complete the work outlined in the previous phase, it’s time for construction planning teams to enter the pre-construction phase. The process includes selecting the project team, examining the site, and getting approval from local authorities. Many individuals are involved in finalizing the budget, design, timeline, and project strategy.
Some of the key decision-makers and construction planning team members include:
There are many variables at play during the pre-construction phase, so creating a detailed plan with risk management built-in is a challenge that teams must overcome. At this stage, construction managers should consider all possible scenarios to develop a reliable plan and be as prepared as possible should disruptions or delays occur.
The procurement phase is the construction management phase that holds the potential for the most challenges, especially in an evolving supply chain environment. This phase is where all the supplies, materials, tools, services, and resources are procured and scheduled for delivery.
Construction managers must coordinate deliveries with storage capabilities, environmental factors, and worker availability throughout the project. Any missteps during this phase can have costly consequences down the line.
Communication is crucial to avoid duplicate orders, over-buying, getting the wrong materials, and having suitable facilities to store and transport building resources to the job site.
Finally, this is the phase where construction takes place. Although construction is just beginning, this is the second to last construction management phase. After intense planning, documentation, compliance, and procurement, work begins to build projects according to the plans laid out in the previous steps.
Now it’s time for the construction manager, contractor, and subcontractors to execute the project and satisfy the client’s requirements. In addition to putting all the materials and resources together to build the outlined construction project, there are many steps and processes that occur during this phase of the process, including:
Quality control inspections
Requests for information (RFIs)
Reviewing and approving technical submittals
Managing material transportation and logistics
Scheduling workers, including subcontractors and outside development teams
It is possible to eliminate many potential setbacks with proper planning and support. However, challenges are inevitable on a construction site. Perhaps the most challenging aspect at this stage revolves around personnel and scheduling.
Without adequate scheduling, crew members may not know what they should be doing for the day or execute construction improperly. Bad planning can also lead to stressful bottlenecks and costly delays.
Communication is a consistent thread throughout the construction management phases, and for a good reason. Transparent communication across key parties is essential for successful project outcomes.
It can be challenging to maintain control during construction between invoices, inventory, budgets, designs, blueprints, and revisions. But with the right software, clear communication, and a good planning strategy, most challenges can be seen from afar before they become front and center.
After a construction project has been built and the client has received the final deliverables, there is still lots to do. The post-construction phase, or closeout phase, is the final step of construction management. Once the work has been completed at the job site, it’s time to take care of some housekeeping like:
The closeout phase is also an excellent time to analyze construction processes, break down any new challenges, and make notes to optimize the process for the next construction project.
Each construction management phase involves crucial steps that teams must complete before moving on to the next step. Construction managers can easily overcome many challenges through adequate planning. That’s why communication and visibility are so important for construction managers and their teams.