Construction Task and Project Tracking

Construction task and project tracking is challenging at the best of times. There are so many moving parts in a construction project that even one missed task can impact the whole project plan. This can be challenging and made more so without the right use of tools.

Construction task and project tracking is about putting the project manager firmly in control. So, how do construction project managers organize all the moving pieces of a project into one unified plan?

Well, it’s a combination of experience, skill, knowledge  and using project management tools.

How often to do you find your construction project running over time or budget? Without the right tools, it is impossible to keep track of all you need to do. At every stage of a construction project, milestones and budgets need close monitoring to ensure you stay on track. Schedules need regular updating and compared to the baseline schedule over and over again during a project.

This is where the use of construction project management software could prove invaluable. It should make construction task and project tracking easy., plus using the right tools takes the stress out of keeping construction projects on track.

Here are some of the things construction task and project tracking tools can do for you.

Manage project changes

Regardless of the construction project, there are always changes. Change orders if not executed correctly and on time, can be costly. And, when they get lost in the system it can cause serious hold ups to a project. Time is money – remember. Using software that tracks change orders from start to the billing cycle removes this risk from your project.

Subcontractors usually need input into change orders, so storing them in central database for them to access makes it easy. All they have to do is log in to make their changes to the price or submit invoices or updated plans and drawings. These are tracked online with easy access for all involved in the change process. One less thing for a project manager to worry about unless the system alerts to a problem.

The same goes for the general contractor. Construction task and project tracking software can simplify the interactions between them and the stakeholders. The system submits change orders for approval and reduces the time it takes to get things signed.

Better time management

Without an ability for transparent construction project tracking you run the risk of running out of time. You can lose so much time can if you are not on top of everything. Staff waiting for materials, change orders, plans, tools, equipment and instructions are a huge cost to a project if not kept under control.

Use construction project tracking so employees out on the site can enter time-card information while on the job. This gives you the tool to track work productivity daily against the schedule. You can assign the work to the relevant cost code to alert to a billing status.

This provides you with a clear picture of how the project is tracking. It also gives you the information required to make decisions, assign work tasks and quote on future projects.

Construction project tracking means you can see the productivity of your workers. With this information, you make the right decisions.

 

Identify potential problems

Construction task and project tracking will help you to identify potential problems as part of a risk matrix. There can be things like having the right materials on site at the right time, meeting deadlines for inspections and sign offs or even trouble getting the right equipment to the site. All these have the potential to block a construction project’s progress.

Your software can track these by implementing the right tool so the relevant people go through a submittal process so you can avoid the problems. It need to be set up correctly so it functions for your projects. But, you may need field such as the ‘required on site date’ so everyone is aware of turnaround times.

Because an approval process goes through several people there can be places where it gets held up. Your project tracking software can show you where in the process it is held up.

Make punch lists visible

The dreaded construction punch lists. Track a project’s punch list right from the start. The project cannot finish until you complete everything on it. These can be cause for much loss of sleep and stress. When a punch list is not clear it can cause misunderstandings and delays to completing the project.

Use the punch list tools to make a specific list of the what needs completing and how to do it. This type of feature in your toolbox should be mobile compatible and easy to use from a handheld device. Make it interactive so those responsible for completing punch list tasks can make notes against each one. They can even record whether there is an impact to the budget or timeline. Once the system has timelines against tasks, the system sends reminders at appropriate intervals.

This is just a small snapshot of what construction task and project tracking can do for you. When are you going to give your project managers the tools they need for success?

Talk to the experts. Find out how construction project management software can boost your profits with no more missed deadlines.

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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

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.