Tag: project controls

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.

 

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Project Controls Scheduler – Preventing Blowout

Source: Project Controls Scheduler – Preventing Blowout

Creating a project schedule

For a project schedule to have value it must be detailed and dynamic enough for you to be able to re-forecast requirements when you identify potential problems or risks are realized. A good schedule tells you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. To get good information out of a schedule then it needs detailed information input into the system, such as:

  • Risks to the project. After conducting a project risk analysis input the results into the schedule. It is important to identify potential risks to plan in any extra time or resource requirements.

  • Project scope description. The project description outlines start and end dates for activities. It will include any assumptions built into the project plan, and list major limitations and restraints. Create milestones from stakeholder requirements.

  • Resource demands and project tasks. Consider what constraints you have when creating a schedule. Factor in staff capabilities and experience, resource and staff availability, and staff holidays. Everything can affect meeting the schedule.

Review the schedule

Once you have a basic schedule, it needs reviewing to ensure the resources and activity timelines line up. A few ways to this is by:

  • Balancing resources. There will always be a need to balance resources as there will be times they are unavailable or only in limited supply. This needs to be balanced to meet the resource requirements of critical project activities.

  • What if scenarios. What if scenarios compare different scenarios and measure the different effects for project delivery. Change production rates, staffing, shift arrangements and quantities to see how they instantly affect the schedule. You can use this to measure the results and plan to mitigate future risks.

Now the initial schedule review is complete, get team input. After all they are the ones doing the job. Their insights and predictions are relevant and, usually, accurate.

There are a range of scheduling tools on the market that can turn your information into an interactive, useful plan to complete your projects on time and on budget every single time.

Guide to Construction Risk Assessment | Construction

Source: A Guide to Construction Risk Assessment

Construction risk assessment is a real challenge as part of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration role. There are over 4,500 work-related fatalities in the United States every year. So, you would think that the days of pen and paper to manage risk, safety and health are gone? Well, they are for most industries. However, the construction industry has been slow to change towards online digitization. This can be part of the reason why the industry has a poor productivity record. Relying on spreadsheets, pen and paper makes it difficult to keep track of everything. The loss of transparency of the building process happens when all the information required is not accessible all in one place.

In a modern business, using paper to manage business processes and deliverables like risk management reports, material and equipment procurement, scheduling, drawings, and plans, as well as equipment logs and daily progress reports is not the most efficient way to manage that side of a construction business. Moving towards digitization, gives the business more consistent, better outcomes. It gives everyone involved transparent access to information sharing. Without this access, all stakeholders can work from a different version of the truth. This can cause misunderstandings, disagreements, mistakes and delays.

Using paper makes it difficult to capture real data for analysis. This can be crucial to your budget, and goods and services procurement. And, it puts the project and your business at risk. In an interconnected world, risk assessment is an area the industry has not yet embraced.

Construction work is high risk, so risk assessments are fundamental to the construction process. While using software to complete online risk assessments should be a normal part of the process, the industry is stuck in the past. Using paper-based methods is time consuming, costly and put the project and your business at greater risk. Surely, you are already busy enough dealing with the day-to-day operations out on the road. Does paperwork get pushed aside for more important things? Risk assessment software can help you remain competitive, and save you money and time. It can value-add to your business.

Importance of risk assessment

According to the United States Department of Labor, More than 4,500 workers die on the job each year with specialty trade contractors at most risk.  All employers, regardless of industry must, by law, conduct risk assessments in the workplace. And, records of these are kept safely stored. Construction business operators may find this daunting or complicated. But, it does not need be this way. Completing a risk assessment is looking at anything in the workplace that could cause employees or visitors harm. This allows processes and procedures to be put in place to minimize the risk. This is more time-consuming in the construction industry as you can work on many work sites. With the changing conditions, you may have to often update the risk assessment and plan.

What is risk assessment?

Risk assessment is a method a business or employer uses to:

  • Identify hazards. Identify, report and categorize risks and hazards that can cause harm. This involves observing the work site to check for potential hazards. Consult workers and other stakeholders, review previous risk assessments to get a clear picture of risks on site.

  • Complete risk analysis and evaluation. Analyze and evaluate the risks involved with each hazard:

    • Risk analysis. Risk analysis is the process of identifying hazards and establishing the level of risk for each one based on the likelihood of it causing an accident (see Table 1). It accounts for those things in a project that may occur, with a probability ranging from 1 to 99 percent. You need to determine and rank the likelihood of all of the risks relevant to a project or work site.

    • Risk evaluation. Risk evaluation is when the risk is measured against set criteria (see Table 1) to work out the implications or consequences of the risk (see Table 2). Risks usually constitute a negative impact. The magnitude of this varies depending on the situation of your organization, and the resources and money invested in the project.

  • Plan risk control. Bases on the risk analysis and evaluation, put processes in place to control or eliminate risks and hazards. This can include ongoing monitoring the situation, revising and ensuring decisions are carried out. You can agree on risk priorities with your client and the relevant stake holders, if the project is relatively small. For larger projects, you need a more structured approach to the prioritization, to ensure the decisions are objective. Risks in the construction industry change as the job site changes. So, to remain compliant with health and safety laws, complete risk assessments for each new work site.

Good risk assessment software can simplify this process so you can stay on top of workplace risks and hazards. Risk assessments identify who is at risk, and help you to plan ways to prevent accidents.

Make sure you include all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process and communicate the risk assessment plan with workers and subcontractors.

Table 1 Risk Assessment Analysis

 

Dynamic risk assessment

In a busy world, all a construction manager wants is more time. There is no such thing as downtime, with piles of paperwork to complete if not out on the construction site. Lack of time usually puts the paperwork at risk. This can see risk assessments forgotten, lost or filed away. These can be time consuming to carry out, to plan and implement controls. Pushing aside risk assessments puts workers, visitors, and yourself and business at risk.

Good risk management software offers a dynamic risk assessment process that allows continual identification of hazards and risks. This makes them visible so you can take action to reduce or eliminate risks. It also involves monitoring and reassessing the fast-changing circumstances on a construction site. Because of the nature of construction sites, risks and hazards are a moving target and constantly evolve. A site manager needs eyes in the back of their head to keep on top everything. It is time for the construction industry to embrace technology to minimize the time spent on managing risk assessments. This helps keep everyone’s mind on the job.

With the mobility of today’s technology, download risk assessment software onto a smartphone or tablet. This capability makes it convenient and fast to capture new hazards as they arise. No more paperwork, so more time to spend doing more important things. No one likes doing paperwork.

Connectivity is low-cost, even using handheld devices. With the choice of so many new Cloud-based technologies, easy to setup, even for use even on remote construction sites. It is worth investigating how risk assessment software can help you and your construction crew.

So, what are you waiting for? Get connected. Turn tedious, time-consuming vital jobs around. Investigate moving your construction business towards digitization.