Managing a single construction project is no joke. Contractors and project managers are held responsible for hundreds of lives working on the site, a multi-million investment, and other expensive resources like materials and equipment. With all of these moving together at the same time, it’s extremely difficult for the leaders to manage them all properly without making a mistake. It isn’t possible, though, to master the art of a good construction project management.
So many experts don’t want to take on the role of being a construction project manager. Although they have the right knowledge and skills in making structures, handling the whole project is another subject. An effective project manager should be able to execute his role confidently but a lot of experts believe that this level of self-assurance can only be achieved from years of experience. It makes sense because no one can be a master in his field overnight.
The construction site isn’t a place where mistakes are tolerated because oftentimes mistakes in this industry are either costly or deadly. But with a comprehensive guide that a newbie project manager can refer to, he might just be able to steer away from making mistakes.
And what we’re suggesting here is to have a good book that will teach you the important areas of project management. It can’t make you the best project manager but it pays to prepare yourself by knowing the basics and reading case studies that are compiled by construction gurus.
The Best Books to Read About Construction Project Management
In this highly digitized era, books are still not considered old-fashioned. In fact, we recently released our own ebook discussing our very own tips on crew management.
While you can always surf the internet to find quick answers to your queries, a well-written book that delves deep into a topic can provide the best guidelines for construction project management. Consider the possibility of the author revealing his secret, golden strategies too. By reading the work of your senior project managers, we bet that you’ll pick up a lot of valuable tips.
Some books are also written to update you with the newest methods in project management that are supported by experiments and experiences. As you know, even procedures on the site can be enhanced, most especially now that technology is making a great impact on every aspect of a construction project, and management is one of them.
For instance, before construction project management software was developed, project managers used to do their inspections manually. And since the site is such a huge place, they can’t do regular monitoring. But today that we can leverage on construction software like Pro Crew Schedule, project managers are already required to inspect and monitor work daily.
So now that we emphasized that enough, here are some of the construction project management books we highly recommend, whether you are just a newbie project manager or an experienced PM who wants to update his knowledge with what’s latest in managing crew members.
1.For Newbies – “Construction Management Jumpstart”
There’s no subject in school teaching all the fundamentals of construction project management, but this book got them covered – in summary. If you need a quick reference reading when your firm wins its first bid, this book has step-by-step instructions on how to manage your crew properly from start to finish.
The guidelines were written by Barbara J. Jackson, Director of the California Center for Construction Education and a Professor of Construction Management at California Polytechnic State University, who has decades of working both as a licensed contractor and design-builder and also advising individuals in their careers.
This book also shares basic principles that will help you familiarize yourself with technological advancements that can help you improve project management like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and how it’s changing the profession. It also teaches project managers on how to evaluate project performance and assess risks that will help improve the workplace.
2.For Learning the Technical Part of Management – “Construction Project Management”
This book introduces CPM methods for serious professionals. It lists a complete guide with all the necessary steps for managing different kinds of construction projects. It uses real-life construction projects and additional case studies to help project managers fully understand the CPM method.
The discussions are highly technical but comprehensive, as well. It goes as far as discussing a diverse array of planning processes, including Earned Value Management System (EVMS) and Work Breakdown Structures (WBS). Foldout color illustrations are even included to better understand the process.
3.For a Comprehensive Industry Guide: “Building Construction”
This book is an all-around book for constructing projects but despite the wide scope, it’s able to discuss the topics comprehensively. This book was written by Gang Chen with subtitles and covers Project Management, Drawings, Specs, Detailing Tips, Construction Administration, Schedules, Checklists and Secrets in the Industry that you won’t learn anywhere else.
The biggest benefit of buying this book is that it serves as a detailed checklist of each of the jobs needed in construction from planning until completion. The processes are even listed in order so that you won’t make mistakes or leave out any step behind.
Overall, the book aims to help you stay on track with both time and money. Furthermore, it discusses how a construction business can be developed from scratch, how to create and use your own checklists, how to work with governing agencies, and how to use all kinds of logs.
4.For General Reference: “Construction Field Guide”
Even longer than a novel, this book consists of 504 pages discussing all essential information about construction projects. Each topic is discussed with great depth so any reader can learn everything about planning, scheduling, labor relationships and unions, quality control, safety measures and building codes, inspections, insurance, financing, and the best practices for project management.
It even goes beyond the processes as it discovers the subjects of drafting useful and enforceable contracts, solving disputes, and tips for making sure that legal matters reach a productive resolution.
Furthermore, it holds valuable information for niche fields related to construction like engineering and soil testing.
5.To Help You Boost Your Confidence in Managing – “Managing the Profitable Construction Business”
It is important for project managers to feel confident about their methods so they can lead their crew more efficiently. This book helps them to become one.
Learn how to manage with confidence by reading this book that discusses how to manage a construction business. You will even know the harsh aspects of being a construction manager so you can prepare yourself when faced with these situations.
This book also shares how you can recognize signs of potential trouble so you can plan for countermeasures. It also gives tips on how to discipline lousy employees so you can push them to work more productively. It also gives you a guide on how to handle changes in key personnel or project size which can greatly affect your schedule and budget. It even discusses accounting systems and evaluating contract profitability.
Knowing all of these important details will help you build a project more confidently and avoid making costly mistakes. The authors obviously did a good job of putting together a good material that struggling contractors and project managers can refer to. The 288 pages of this book also include several case studies you can relate to and gives real-life solutions carried out by project managers and contractors.
6.For Efficient Project Bidding – “Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profits”
Part of managing a construction business is bidding. There will be no project to work on if you won’t win a bid. This book teaches you how to win bids and make your firm more competitive.
Remember our blog that discusses how bids shouldn’t always be less expensive for you to win the project? This book will discuss how to draft a flawless bid by estimating costs more realistically.
Author of the book, William Asdal walks readers through the fundamentals of writing better project estimates that fit the goals and needs of both your firm and the client. You can take his word for it as he is an award-winning custom builder, hailed the Remodeler of the Year in 2000.
7.For Running Your Construction Business – “Running a Successful Construction Company”
The title itself tells you that it’s worthy to read. This book gives you an overview of what successful construction managers do when they plan and construct their projects. This includes tips on how to manage the project to achieve success.
This book was authored by David Gerstel who made his small firm highly successful in the saturated world of construction. He included straightforward advice on managing projects as well as many color photographs and planning tools.
Every project has unique features so there will be unique project handling methods too. This is why it is beneficial to read a lot of construction books to learn different styles in handling a project so when you encounter a similar one, you have a solid idea on how to attack difficult situations and avoid costly mistakes.
Be a better project manager today by checking our recommended construction project management-related books.