Construction Project Management Insights

Original Article Source: Construction Project Management Insights

Construction project management is more complex than ever in a digital age coupled with increased legislation. So, working with teams of architects and designers as well as contractors and other interested stakeholders means keeping things on track is harder. These days you need tools that help you manage project delivery, risk assessments, o and m manuals etc. Technology is one of the greatest enablers for the successful delivery of construction project management. It provides the tools to manage construction projects cost-effectively, quickly and safely.

 One common issue every construction project faces is managing requests for information (RFIs). These have the ability to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in project delays. Some RFIs may be unjustifiable, while the actual answers could already be in the contract or they are design requests not authorized by the design team. These costs impact the profit of a project’s bottom line, so a project manager needs better control of the RFI process.

Project managers need 24/7 insight into a project of any size to complete it successfully. Here are some insights into project management of RFIs. This is an example of how good project management tools can make a difference.

 Managing requests for information

Contractors use RFIs to ask questions of the designers and architects. The contractor can also use RFIs to ask the client questions. Sometimes contractors use RFIs to justify claims of changes in a project’s scope. But, in reality, they can cause delays. A transparent, consistent system for dealing with RFIs is an important part of construction project management.

A project manager cannot avoid RFIs. But, project managers can use tools that standardize and give relevant stakeholders access to consistent project management processes for RFIs.

 Standardize processes for requests for information
Collaboration is key to delivering a standardized process for everyone involved in the project.

In a basic collaborative model, the project manager receives RFIs by email and tracks each one using spreadsheets. This makes tracking RFIs and any attachments difficult. It also makes it difficult to solve them before the end of each construction phase.

Take collaboration to the next level using project management software that stores all RFIs in a central repository along with the relevant drawings and attachments. Use a platform based in the cloud so relevant parties can review and action RFIs simultaneously. This saves many man hours of processing RFIs. Good project management tools give you transparency and the ability to anticipate recurring issues before they occur.

It takes time to get contractors to adopt new processes. Once they do, there will be efficiencies across the whole project. This gives everyone better understanding with better communication. But, unless everyone involved in the project conforms to collaborating on the one platform, efficiencies will be hard to drive.

 
Instill best practices
 Create guidelines for best practices for everyone involved in the project to follow. An example is establishing consistent tags or numbering system to categorize RFIs. Use these to group RFIs and to assign priority. A good construction project control tool set gives the flexibility to setup up the information you need as a mandatory field. Things like what the RFI affects, trade type lodging the RFI, whether it requires a change order, and the impact on costs and time.

RFIs should link into the construction schedule. A contractor can flag urgent requests that need resolution before work can move forward. This makes the issues visible for all to see.

RFIs are one piece of the construction puzzle construction management software can help manage. It can also help project managers with:

  • managing and tracking all project documents

  • managing and submitting bids

  • scheduling resources and workers

  • job and time estimates

  • job-site logs

  • project collaboration.

If you are still resisting using new tools of the trade to manage construction projects, talk to the experts Raptor Project Management. They can help transform the way you manage construction projects.

 

Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Tools

Source: Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Tools

he architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries face many challenges. In particular, when managing a cross section of projects. From complex large projects to many smaller projects, technology can transform the design and delivery of them all.

Working across so many associated project, project managers face many challenges. This can include communicating across more than one multi-disciplinary team. A project manager can work with the architects, engineers and builders all at the same time. Then there is the challenge of tracking jobs costs, budgets, profit and loss margins, and understanding the project deliverables.

So how can AEC tools assist in keeping track of important project details?

 Tracking project costs accurately

Project cost accounting is not the same as business accounting. It involves job costing and tracks the financial progress of a project using the data in the system. This gives architects and engineers a transparent view on how each project is going in terms of cost and budget. All stakeholders can see how the project’s profitability is tracking.

Project accounting can work across different companies for short projects or for years on complex projects. Budgets and costs alter over the project life and this needs recording for the life of the project. During the building phase, there are sub projects. Projects within projects with budgets allocated from within the main budget. Then there are often milestones to meet for the client. These can depend on payment phases so are critical to the ongoing flow of funds. Important milestones need tracking. This is best done through a work breakdown structure. Creating a work breakdown structure is not just about managing workflow and timelines. It helps to manage not only project costs and timelines but also material needs and purchases, fixed fees, and percentage of work complete. This gives relevant stakeholders access to one true source to work from.

AEC projects are labor intensive. It is the nature of the industry – designers, engineers, builders, and contractors working together. Because of this, team members need to account for their time within a fixed budgeted fee. For example, an architect may work on three different projects in a day. It is important they bill their time to the correct project. This helps to measure progress, time sent and costs accurately. And, whether the fixed fee quoted is realistic.

Using integrated accounting technology gives everyone a clear understanding at every stage of the project. It gives them the ability to create key reports.

Integrated document management and communication

Keeping track of project documentation is just as important as project accounting. It is easy to lose track of email trails and telephone conversations, and document and drawing versions. These are not always easy to share among all stakeholders. This can cause confusion and costly fixes down the track when you find you are not all working from the same page. Let along the cost to damaged reputations.

Having a good document management function as an AEC tool, allows good version control in controlled document folders. And, with the ability for email integration, nothing gets lost. It also saves lot of time with no more manually creating version numbers. Using a formal process for handling all communications for architecture, engineering and construction projects make it simple to keep everyone working from the same page.

 Project performance reporting

Good AEC project management tools will include reporting functionalities. Reports are vital to the whole process. Reports for profits, percentage compete, revenue per staff member, project profits and losses, and much more.

Good AEC tools have many report types built in. You will also be able to customize reports to look at the overall project performance and profitability. No longer is there any reason to be in the dark about a project’s performance.

If you are serious about enhancing project management using AEC tools, talk to the experts with the knowledge.

Project Management Resource and News Blog

Source: Project Management Resource and News Blog

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AEC project management and tracking solutions

Source: AEC project management and tracking solutions

There are many challenges within the AEC industries for project managing from the large complex project to multiple smaller projects. These challenges faced by the project manager can include understanding the deliverables the project, budgets, costs, margins, job costing and multi-team communication.

RaptorPM project management solutions provides the tools so your projects don’t lose money. We give project teams the tools to deal with clients, Architects, Engineers, Consultants and QS firms.

aec-tools-project-delivery
Still image from the Autodesk Future of Making Things video. Image demonstrates how the next generation of digital technology will change the way things are designed and made.

Our project management software is ideally suited for the AEC industries.  A secure, robust web based solution, RaptorPM delivers a comprehensive and powerful set of project management tools to help project teams to plan and manage any number of projects. At RaptorPM we see project management as managing people’s activity around the core project details. This approach empowers project leaders to set measurable tasks, manage document flow and emails, co-ordinate project communication, and assign the right resources to the right job for the best set of outcomes.

The purpose of project accounting for any AEC business goes beyond understanding that behind every project is a series of financial data. RaptorPM gives the user the ability to create reports that help analyse the health and progress of their projects. Instant access to the critical information for architecture and engineering project managers to understand the status of their projects such as budget control and where projects are in terms of profitability.

In the world of AEC project management, for the most part resources equal people (project managers, contractors, subcontractors, design companies, specialists etc.) all of whom should be working around a central platform for project information.

RaptorPM allows the user to create projects around some core data points of project information. Then, tasks and time frames are set, resources will be assigned through a work breakdown structure, project related documents are stored in central folders, contact data is then linked to a project.

The project leaders will also be able to use a structured resource and capacity planner to forward plan all resources, capability bandwidth and ensure resources to undertake the identified tasks across all stages of the project. As RaptorPM gives the project managers visibility into the capacity of project teams, they minimize the risk of over-allocating work and missing those deadlines.

AEC are demanding solutions that help them adopt standardization in the project management area while also facilitating flexibility at an individual project manager level. RaptorPM does not only help with standardization of key project management processes across the entire organization, it helps improve performance management, team collaboration and dashboards for client specific reporting at the individual project level.