What Exactly Is Involved With Construction Project Management (and How Can You Do It Better?)

8/17/2021

Construction involves a lot of moving parts, whether it's supervising work on site or onboarding of subcontractors. Construction projects can go for months, while others can last for years. Some projects are simple while others are complicated. But every project is unique, and each client has their own priorities.  

Planning and executing construction projects require outstanding project management skills. Proper control of scope, time, cost, quality, and labor during the construction process is critical for project success. Project managers in the construction industry have to follow certain practices to streamline project delivery right from the inception stage to the end of the project.

Project Manager looking at the construction site

Responsibilities of Construction Project Managers

On a rudimentary level, construction project managers supervise every process by working closely with project engineers, field staff, architects, and other workforce teams to develop and execute construction plans. The work of a project manager is to ensure a building meets the client's specifications and is completed on time and within budget.

Resource Management

The primary role of a construction project manager is to control the use of resources for projects to run smoothly and complete successfully. Project managers arrange just-in-time delivery of materials, hire skilled workers, prepare payrolls, and manage the budget according to the scope of the project.

Project Planning

Project planning involves dividing the project into various phases and defining work schedules and tasks at each phase.

Workforce Management

Your work as a project manager is to match construction tasks with the right skills. You've to decide which tasks require more teams and which will take more time. Today, successful project managers embrace the use of project management and workforce management software to manage teams on-site and off-site in real-time. They can place workers on shifts, plan the recruitment process, and track employee performance without visiting the construction site.

Communication

Because of multiple moving parts and hundreds of people involved, construction projects require a fast and efficient communication process. Regular communication between managers, forepersons, and technicians makes processes clear for everyone. It promotes fast dispute resolution, proper allocation of resources, and timely completion of tasks.

Risk Management

This process involves predicting and identifying potential issues that can arise in the life cycle of the project and laying down strategies to mitigate the risks. Risks can include improper scheduling, poor planning and design, and non-compliance with regulatory requirements.

While undertaking these tasks, project managers can often miss a thing or two because project management can be overwhelming when you've to manage many things at once. For that reason, construction managers utilize software, spreadsheets, and other tools.

Phases of Construction Project Management

Adopting best practices in managing construction projects means knowing what's involved in every phase of a construction project. Technically, constructing a building occurs in three phases: design, pre-construction, and construction.

Design Phase

In this stage, the project manager ensures that the building design complies with building codes and other regulations. The design of a building determines its needs and goals. The design gives a picture of the size, location, colors, elevations, floorplans, and other details crucial in the construction process. In this phase, project managers prepare necessary documents including employee contracts, procurement contracts, and other documents that will be required as the project starts. 

Preconstruction

Once you've all the documents ready, it's time to recruit teams and delegate tasks. For larger projects involving more than a hundred workers, you may have to employ a human resource manager specializing in construction projects to manage the onboarding process. Hire a procurement manager who ensures materials, deliveries, and equipment are on site on time. The preconstruction phase also involves undertaking a preliminary survey of the site to know if you'll need special equipment or materials to make the project possible. 

Construction 

When all your teams are ready, it's time to execute the construction plan. Before the start of the actual construction, project managers may have to conduct various meetings to debrief teams on the roles, timelines, and expectations. Project managers have to collaborate with the human resource manager to schedule tasks and set project goals. To ensure that the construction process runs as expected, you'll have to develop a system for tracking performance. Successful project managers establish criteria that enable them to know the progress of various teams. They set key performance indicators (KPIs) for time, cost, and quality to ensure that every phase of the project finishes timely and on budget.

What Goes On During Construction Project Management?

During construction project management, project managers undertake various tasks that ensure the successful attainment of project goals. These tasks range from planning and design to risk management. The ultimate objective of a project manager is to satisfy the client by their specifications. 

Whether you're constructing a civil, industrial, residential, or commercial building, you've to combine construction technology with project management to increase your success rates. Project management in construction fuses technical components like budget management and procurement processes to actual construction management.  

Simply put, here are the core things that occur during project management in construction:

  • Specification of the project's objectives and plans, including architectural design, workforce management, budgeting, and resource scheduling. 
  • Proper alignment of resources to project's tasks and goals to promote cost-efficiency. 
  • Defining onboarding process to match available tasks with skills
  • Defining operational procedures for contracting and subcontracting tasks 
  • Development of an efficient communication channel between project managers, forepersons, and technicians. 
  • Preparation of necessary documents to streamline contracting and compliance with regulations. 
  • Outlining standards for workers and equipment to promote construction safety.

Why Construction Managers Need Workforce Management Tools

Because of the tasks construction project managers have to undertake, they need to consider tools or software that can help them manage projects easily. Project management software can assist construction managers to plan, schedule, allocate resources, and use predictive analytics to manage workforce teams. Such tools make the management process efficient and bolster productivity while taking scope, budget, and time into consideration. 

At LinkedField, we know how it can become difficult to manage workforce teams in the construction industry. Tracking skilled and experienced teams is even more challenging in an industry where knowledge transfer takes years. Linkefield provides an efficient tool for managing construction teams. It allows you to keep critical construction knowledge and a contact list of skilled teams. Whether you have a small or a large construction project, contact us to learn more about this tool for managing the construction workforce