Category: Project Management Insights

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:


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.

Lean construction scheduling

Source: Lean construction scheduling

Scheduling is an important part of project management in construction. It is a list of project milestones, activities and deliverables with start and end dates. These are based on other information in the schedule. This includes budgets, resource allocation and activity timelines. It will also list links to dependencies and scheduled events. Elements in the project schedule are usually based on the work breakdown structure for the whole project.

Keeping a construction project on track is the difference between finishing a project on time and making a profit, or not. Lean construction scheduling is a way to design processes and procedures to minimize waste in the workplace to maximize value. Schedules detail each construction activity for the project team and how long it should take to complete each one. Lean construction scheduling is vital to all parts of the daily management and reporting process of a project’s status. It helps reduce all forms of waste in the construction process.

 Forms of construction waste

There is always a risk of waste during a construction project so using lean construction scheduling helps organizations plan to avoid waste of money, resources and manpower. Forms of construction waste include:

  • time – looking for things, ordering materials, etc

  • transport – materials handling, deliveries, etc

  • staff downtime – waiting for instructions, information and deliveries, etc

  • rework and corrections – correcting poor or incorrect work and updating plans

  • overproduction – producing more than ordered

  • inventory – too much or too little stock on hand

  • over processing – doing more than the client can pay for.

Benefits of lean construction scheduling

Using lean construction scheduling adds value to the process of constructing a building. It will also help to uncover where there is wasted time and staff potential in the process.

Schedules keep the work on track and you can see how the project works are progressing. This can be important as there may be penalties for meeting milestones late. Meeting milestones late will not be good for your reputation. Benefits of lean construction scheduling includes:

  • Making it possible to move a project through the critical path of activities of the construction process.

  • Means it is easy to change priorities for activities and resources when the need arises. This reduces the peak demand for resources. It eliminates standing down other resources and bringing them back later at an extra cost.

  • Showing clear team goals and milestones. It also shows the path of how to meet them on time. The schedule will give the team a pathway to follow to achieve those milestones on time. A schedule defines the sequence of activities to let project managers what to plan for.

  • Providing dates for material deliveries.

  • Monitoring the progress of work activities as well as those of subcontractors and suppliers.

  • Providing subcontractors and suppliers with schedules at the time of the tender and contract sign-off prevents misunderstandings and disputes down the track.

  • Allowing for planning what resources you need where and when. The last thing you need is too many or too few people on the job to get it done on time.

  • Providing valuable feedback about how the construction project is proceeding. It is easy to see when a project is slipping the schedule. This give you the chance to take action by bringing in extra resources or working overtime to make up the time.

 Lean construction project scheduling is a tool a project manager uses to systematically manage all parts of a construction project. This includes assigning the relevant skilled human resources to get the work done. The schedule can be regularly reviewed using a good task software to check actual outcomes against the plan.

There is no room for mistakes in lean construction scheduling. Mistakes cost time, money and your reputation. Using good planning strategies and software will keep your construction projects on track.

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.