7 tips for effective construction project management
Being a construction project manager (CPM) is an extremely multifaceted role. Not only does it require the skills of a project manager, but also the extensive breadth of knowledge surrounding the construction industry.
As an industry, construction is constantly affected by change - whether that be weather conditions or unreliable suppliers. That’s why it’s important for the CPM to be strategic and knowledgeable about every element of the project. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can be used to keep track of everything you need - but this isn’t always enough. As a CPM, it’s your responsibility to implement and sustain the project, no matter what tribulations may come your way!
To give you some guidance, we’ve pulled together 7 tips to help you successfully manage your next construction project.
Effective communication is essential when it comes to managing a construction project. Not only will creating a rapport of open communication help you keep on top of what’s going on, but it will also allow you to keep your teams in the loop of any changes or updates. Without communication, elements of the project could fall through the cracks.
In this day and age, we are fortunate enough to be able to communicate with people instantly via a number of online platforms. To keep everyone up to date on the project, use a communication platform that involves everyone. People can upload comments, images and questions, and be in regular contact with each other.
Having said this, you shouldn’t rely solely on communicating online. Take time to talk to different teams - nothing beats face-to-face communication.
2. Plan ahead
It goes without saying that planning ahead is something you absolutely must do before any of the construction work begins. Given that you’ll be working with an amalgamation of people - ranging from builders to accountants - creating a clear and concise plan will make the whole process easier for you and everyone you’re working with.
Although it is vital that you take the time to plan the project, you should also bear in mind that things can change extremely quickly in the construction industry. Try not to think of your plan as set in stone, but as a guide that can be changed and adapted when necessary. That way, if
things don’t go to plan, it won’t be the end of the world.
When it comes to planning your construction project, there’s one thing you need to mindful of throughout: your budget. It’s no use taking the time to create a plan if, when it comes down to it, you don’t have the money you need to execute it!
To avoid any monetary mishaps, allocate your spending to certain elements of the project and give yourself some headroom for unexpected costs. As we’ve already mentioned, construction projects can change overnight. So, it’s better to overestimate than underestimate.
4. Time management
When you’re managing a construction project, it’s absolutely vital that you manage your time effectively. Failure to do so could have a potentially detrimental effect on the ability for others to do their work.
Although it can be hard to manage your time when you have so many things happening simultaneously, it’s something that you must try to do. If you think you’ll struggle organising your time, consider using your email calendar or a hand-written diary to block out periods in your day, and make note of deadlines. This should help give you some structure.
But remember, much like when you plan ahead, things can change quickly. Always be open to rearranging your time if the need arises.
5. Build good relationships with suppliers
When it comes to working with your suppliers, regular communication will go a long way. By making the suppliers feel involved in the project and its ongoing progress, you’ll create a sense of inclusion - almost as if the supplier is an extended part of your team. This will also help the relationship evolve from strictly professional to relaxed and friendly.
Malcolm Pearce, Managing Director at Customised Sheet Metal, talks about the importance of building relationships with suppliers: “We really value the relationships that we build with our suppliers. We can see how important it is for us to establish a good relationship that is long-lasting and friendly. As a result, we’ve lowered our outgoing costs and increased our productivity, so it’s a win-win!”
6. Role delegation
Delegating work can sometimes be a difficult task for a CPM. It can be hard to relinquish control of parts of the project that you’ve planned, but it really is for the best. Each team leader will be experts in their field, and will have knowledge and experience that you might not. The outcome of the project could benefit greatly from their input, so don’t be afraid to delegate.
By delegating your work, you’ll also be able to spend more time on areas that require your attention - such as planning and managing the project. In the grand scheme of things, this will improve the overall efficiency of the project, and ultimately lead to a successful outcome.
7. Use automated reporting systems
The days of manually keeping track of everything are long gone, and we now have access to a number of systems that provide us with automated reporting. These systems help to increase productivity by freeing up your time and allowing you to focus on other tasks. In addition to this, they also help reduce the amount of human error that sometimes comes with manual reporting.
Arguably the most beneficial element of automated reporting is the ability to quickly and efficiently keep track of everything that is happening in the process. At any time, you can see what has been done, whether there are any areas that need improvement, whether you need to order more materials, and plenty more. It really is a great tool that should be used to enhance the management of any construction project.