Managing a construction project

Managing a construction project regardless of size, is a very complex undertaking. The construction project manager has to ensure the project runs on time and on budget while ensuring all other tasks are completed in accordance to the schedule. Then there are compliance, health, safety and legal issues plus many challenges along the way to achieving a successful outcome for the stakeholders.

It is easy to see why every construction project requires detailed planning. A well-planned project maximizes efficiency and provides a step-by-step guide to achieving the desired end goals.

Here are some essential steps in managing a construction project.

 Know your limits

Before taking on a project, a project manager must determine the project’s feasibility against the resources, budget and timelines available. It is their responsibility to take into account project costs, human resources and the materials required across the life of the project to assess whether the project goals are possible to achieve. This review should then be shared and discussed with all stakeholders.

 Project Design and Documentation phase

 1.Work smarter, not harder

Design is a crucial part of a construction project. Make sure those designing the building document all aspects of the plans in detail, so you can incorporate into the project management system.

2.Learn to successfully delegate

The key to successfully managing a construction project is the ability to delegate tasks. Delegate everything you can to those responsible on site. There is no need for you to do it all when you have capable people around you. Spend as little time as possible on things you do not need to deal with at all and review via your project plan.

Before starting construction

 3.Be a control freak

A project manager needs to be in complete control of their team. Make sure your key staff keep you updated regularly on the tasks delegated to them both in person and via your project management software. You also need a plan and a schedule of works to achieve the project’s end goals. A project manager needs to be a control freak.

4.Have a detailed project plan

A project manager must produce a detailed plan. The more complex the project the more detailed the plan needs to be. Good planning maximizes efficiency and provides a step-by-step plan to follow to complete the project. This should include:

  • setting up a budget

  • define goals

  • determining logical task dependencies

  • creating a schedule

  • coordinate materials

  • develop deliverables

  • allocate human resources

  • establish project timelines

  • putting communications protocols in place.

You also need to work out how much equipment the project will need from start to completion as well as the labour requirements. Consider the use of subcontractors as well as the scheduling of materials and their delivery on site on time. Other things a project manager needs to consider is risk management and having a safety plan.

Having a detailed plan will help mitigate issues when a project threatens to go off track.

5.Make use of technology

Hopefully, you are not someone who has not yet transitioned into the world of technology. If you are still using spreadsheets to track a project, then there is a better way. Construction project management software can help you with the complex, time-consuming tasks involved with running a construction project. A good project management solution automatically tracks and stores documents, and assists with planning and scheduling each phase of a project.

 During construction

 6.Monitor and amend your plan

Project management is a continual process from start to end. When construction starts, a project manager will continually compare optimal to actual performance during each phase of the project. This allows for monitoring and amending the plan immediately to keep the project on track.

7.Prepare for the unexpected

Everything to do with construction is unpredictable. From sourcing materials and skilled workers to the weather, natural disasters and delivery delays, construction management can be a constant challenge.

By preparing for the unexpected in the budget and schedule, it reduces stress and keeps project stakeholders satisfied.

8.Use your employee’s strengths

Do not make the mistake of using your people wherever they fit in according to their availability. It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your workers when scheduling resources to tasks. This will keep your workers happy and productivity will be high.

9.Establishing effective communication

Effective communication is crucial for the success of any construction project. Set up communication strategies right from the start. Poor communication can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings that cause costly delays.

Make sure everyone knows who the appropriate point of contact is to ensure information is shared to the team. Things like requests for information and change requests need to follow an established process for a documented outcome.

Communication is vital to the how a construction project runs. Make sure the team is aware that communication and collaboration are necessary for a successful outcome.

When the construction project is complete

 10.Hold a final meeting

Hold a final meeting with members of your construction team when it is all over. Have a discussion about how the project went. Look at not just what went right, but what went wrong and how this can be avoided or addressed in the future. Encourage team members to have input into improving organizational processes and procedures. This will help their continual improvement and learning.

Managing a construction project is not easy. It can keep many project managers awake at night. You can have success when you follow best industry practices and use project management software on every project.

Republished from original article here: https://www.raptorpm.com/single-post/2017/10/12/Managing-a-construction-project-step-by-step

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Free Risk Assessment Template for Construction

Source: Free Risk Assessment Template for Construction

Download our Free Construction Risk Assessment Template as we understand that managing risk is critical to every part of construction project. Assessing all the various risk categories can be a daunting prospect if a project manager does not have access to a library of templates and software to help them manage the process.

Every single construction project has risks that cannot be completely removed. Understanding and documenting historically identified risks can help to mitigate and prevent them from impacting on future projects. Creating a database of risks with templates can then be re-purposed for a new construction project.

 

Understanding your risks

Completing a free construction risk assessment template gives you a clear picture of the things that can cause project delays. A risk assessment template is a tool to help identify risks, the probability of occurrence and impact on the project.

By identifying risks early, you can be proactive in taking steps to avoid or prevent them. Record the following on the risk assessment template when you identify:

  1. where each risk occurs

  2. type of risk, and who or what it impacts

  3. the probability of it occurring and the impact intensity

  4. preventive measures to reduce or remove the impact intensity and probability of occurrence.

Risk assessment forms

To understand how to fill out a free construction risk assessment template (see Table 1), here is a guide to filling out the details in a risk assessment form:

  1. Problem Area or Task. During this phase, identify all the problem areas or tasks where there are possible risks.

  2. Identified Risk. This where you record each identified risk against each problem area or task.

  3. Description. Add a short description of the risk and the damage it will cause if realized.

  4. Probability of Occurring. Risk probability assessment examines the likelihood of each specific risk occurring. Rate risk probabilities and impacts according to predetermined definitions. Display them in a probability and impact matrix (see Table 2). What constitutes a high and low risk is usually an area determined by your organization:

    1. High. High means there is a 70 to 100 percent of the risk occurring.

    2. Moderate. Moderate means the risk has a 30 to 70 percent chance of occurring.

    3. Low. Use Low for risks that have less than a 30 percent of occurring.

  5. Impact Intensity. Risk impact assessment examines the potential impact that a risk can have on project objectives. For example, cost, schedule, performance or quality. It includes assessment of positive and negative risks (eg. opportunities and threats).

  6. Risk Priority Level. Assign a risk priority level based on the probability of occurrence using a scale of 1 to 5. Number 1 means high priority and 5 the lowest.

  7. Existing Measures. Consider what policies and procedures are already in place that prevent or reduce the impact of each risk.

  8. Mitigation Strategy. Once the analysis of all risks is complete, the team needs to decide on mitigation strategies to deal with each risk.

  9. Additional Measures. Only fill this out when a mitigation strategy has been determined to control each risk.

  10. Contingency Plan. Create a contingency plan for high impact risks with a high probability of occurring. This is a back-up plan if mitigation strategies fail. Mitigation strategies include:

    1. Deflection. Deflection is when a risk is transferred to a third party to manage.

    2. Control. To control a risk, devise a plan to prevent or minimise the risk.

    3. Avoidance. Use avoidance when there is little or no threat if the risk occurs. This is a strategy that ignores the risk and accepts the consequences if the risk is realised.

Using a free construction risk assessment template helps to identify and record risks. It helps your team to plan strategies to deal with risks in advance should the need arise.

Do you want free access to create risk assessment templates for construction projects to save you time and money? We’ve created one at Raptor PM and it’s free and secure. You can save, review and edit your completed risk assessment(s) at any time. Try out the Raptor PM free risk assessment template now.

Table 1 Free Construction Risk Assessment Template

 

Table 2 Probability an Impact Matrix

How to Avoid Construction Risks

Source: How to Avoid Construction Risks

The complexity of construction projects means there are construction risks to everyone onsite. Under legislation, employers are duty bound to ensure the work site is safe for everyone. Legislation, codes and regulations provide a framework for employers to follow to avoid construction risks on the work site.

Regardless of how carefully you manage construction risks you cannot completely avoid them. There will always be unknown factors that impact the construction process at any time in the project. It is important to identify the different types of risks and categorize them before the project starts. This will minimize any losses and help keep everyone safe.

Construction risks fall broadly into the following five categories.

 

Design risks

Design risks are anything that can stop you from completing a building on schedule. These can include:

  • incomplete designs

  • incomplete surveys

  • designs that do not meet standards

  • an incomplete analysis of the work site for hazardous waste

  • inaccurate assumptions made about technical issues during planning.

Design construction risks can occur when there are changes in the project scope or requirements, or when there are errors or omissions in the design.

Environmental risks

Often people forget to factor in the environmental risks when working in unfamiliar geographical areas. It is essential to become familiar with the area’s weather patterns when working in different regions. By preparing for potential environmental risks you can better manage construction risks. It helps avoid possible losses and delays in the project. Environmental risks can include:

  • local weather (snow, severe storms)

  • natural disasters

  • flood plains and flood ways

  • causing unanticipated barriers to wildlife

  • noise impacts.

Human resource risks

The most common project management risk is the uncertain productivity levels of your workers. Before starting a new project, define the roles and responsibilities of the staff you need to ensure you have the right skills to complete the project. A lack of skilled workers can cause major losses and delays on any project. Human resource risks to consider include:

  • losing crucial workers at critical points in a project

  • contractors walking off the job

  • it takes longer to hire the right resources than expected

  • conflicts between workers on the work site, which can lead to mistakes and poor communication

  • being unable to source the people with the critical skills required

  • inexperienced workers

  • contractors who do not meet delivery timelines.

Project management risks

A project manager faces many variable risks on a construction site. By carrying out risk identification you can avoid or minimize these right from the start. Project management construction risks can include:

  • having little authority to influence resourcing and decision-making

  • the same resources required in different places at the same time

  • timelines driven by external factors rather than listening to estimations from the project team

  • changing priorities on the construction site

  • poorly defined milestones that do not accurately measure the successful completion of each phase.

 

Stakeholder risks

Stakeholders can slow down the construction process so it is important to identify the construction risks so you can avoid or manage them. These risks can include:

  • taking too long to review or make decisions

  • changes in the requirements

  • poor communication

  • insufficient funds

  • unrealistic expectations

  • making decisions that impact the schedule timeline.

Manage construction risks

Managing construction risks involves identifying, assessing and prioritising risks. By analysing, monitoring and controlling these you can minimise or remove them completely.

Identifying risks on a construction project is critical to its success. The earlier you identify construction risks, the sooner you can plan to mitigate the effects. Use construction management software to help manage construction risks.

Identifying risks is an iterative process and it is best to involve everyone right from the start. Comprehensive risk identification helps keep everyone safe on construction sites and assists in producing good results.

Construction Project Scheduling Guide

Source: Construction Project Scheduling Guide

Managing construction project scheduling is a complex challenge, in fact project scheduling problems and resource-constrained issues are generally considered essential issues for contractors to be addressed. No matter how large or small the construction project, an efficient, well-thought-out schedule is crucial to achieving success.

Project managers have to deal with the complex logical relationships on a construction project.  The project scheduler has to manage many aspects of the contract, such as adjusting staff requirements at various stages of the project, overseeing logistics and deliveries, managing equipment needs, organizing inspections plus estimating time requirements for task completions, all of

which requires a high level of competency on the part of the scheduler.

 

Importance of project scheduling

Project scheduling is important because it:

  • keeps the project on track to meet milestones

  • avoids production delays

  • allows for correct resource allocation

  • keeps the process transparent and all stakeholders happy

  • requirement of the project.

Are you struggling to keep your construction project on schedule? Here is a guide on construction scheduling techniques to make project planning easier.

Creating a construction project schedule

How effective project scheduling is, depends on how you create the schedule in the first place.

 Identifying project tasks

The first thing is to identify all the tasks required to achieve the required result. Make sure you include all the tasks from beginning to end.

Consider the logical relationships

Consider the logical relationships between the tasks. This means you need to know what task needs completing before another one starts.

There are some very good construction project scheduling software that can help you make sense of logical relations when scheduling a construction project. Using software will also ensure you see when things are going off track.

Good project scheduling saves time, resources and money.

Use visual representations

Use visual representations to show logical relationships between tasks. By producing charts from your software, it is easy for everyone to track a project’s progress.

Estimate time to complete

Identify the estimated time to complete each task. Calculate these timelines separately from the overall time to completion date. This gives you a true estimated time to complete each task rather than trying to fit each task into the available time, which can be inaccurate. This will cause all sorts of problems during the life of the project.

Calculate the critical path to success

Calculate the critical path once you determine the logical relationships. The critical path are the tasks that take longest to complete. This represents the amount of time the project will take to complete. Construction project scheduling software makes determining the critical path simple. This will help you in the long term.

Build slack time into the project

Building slack time into project scheduling can help the project stay on track. There are always unforeseen things that occur on any construction project. By building in slack time you have the flexibility to move tasks and timelines around when you have no other choice.

Crash when you have to

When you have demands to finish the project in less time, use crashing as a powerful project management tool. Use it to cut time from the deadline for tasks in the critical path. You can do this by doubling the resources working on a task to finish it in half the time, for example. This will cost more money. It is a good technique when the project owner is willing to pay more money to get the project finished quicker.

 

Projects that lag behind schedule

When your project is lagging behind schedule, consider accelerating your schedule. The first thing to do is to complete a review of the whole schedule to work out how many tasks are lagging behind.

Making the decision to accelerate

There are times the project owner wants to speed up a project but there are others when tasks lag behind. This can be for all sorts of reasons such as bad weather or resources that are unavailable.

When you feel the need to accelerate a project do a complete analysis:

  • Is there an acceleration clause in the contract?

  • Will the project be paid for accelerating the project?

  • What resources do I need and are they available?

  • What is the timeline for the acceleration plan?

  • What will the process cost?

  • What tasks can you alter during acceleration?

  • Does the project end date need to be modified?

  • When does acceleration start and finish?

  • How will you communicate your plans to team members?

Drawing up an acceleration proposal

Following a project scheduling acceleration process, you may need to recover costs. When this is the case, draw up a proposal for the acceleration process. Most construction contracts will have guidelines for this built in. If your contract does not, your proposal should contain the following:

  • Prepare an accelerated schedule. You need to prepare an accelerated construction project schedule to share with the stakeholders and the team. It will identify the start and end dates, and the impact on the current timelines for affected tasks.

  • Cost of acceleration. There are costs associated with accelerating project schedules. These will include extra materials, team members and overtime, overhead costs, tools and equipment, and storage costs. All this needs factoring into the cost of acceleration.

  • Impacts and risks. Make a list of the tasks the acceleration plan will impact. Also make a list of the risks the acceleration plan raises and how to mitigate them. As well, make a fallback plan in case acceleration does not achieve the expected time or cost savings.

Techniques for accelerating construction scheduling:

Some of the things to consider with accelerating construction project scheduling includes:

  • different concreting methods

  • modular offsite construction

  • overtime

  • adding an extra shift

  • rescheduling work tasks.

The key to efficient construction scheduling is how much time and effort goes into creating the schedule. Construction project management scheduling makes a project manager look at the construction project from a ‘big picture’ perspective. Planning this way using construction project scheduling software means your project will be more productive.