Construction management is a vital element that ensures the success of any construction project. Despite the size, your project needs someone to watch over the flow and the progress, making sure that the plan, schedule, and budget are strictly followed. What else does it do for your business success? Find out below.
Importance of Construction Management
Construction is one of the biggest industries in the world today and it employs individuals from various disciplines and backgrounds. Depending on the size of the project, whether it be an office building or a skyscraper; thousands of people may be involved, which obviously requires quite a bit of planning. Any given project usually includes the project owners, the designers (engineers and architects), and the builders and contractors.
All projects begin with the owners who create the basic idea then do their very best to explain it to the architect and engineers. It is the job of these highly-trained professionals to turn a simple idea into a real-world design. After the design is complete, the architects and engineers submit it to the owner for approval. Once the final design is agreed upon, the project owner delivers it to the general contractor or builder who reviews it. The first task of the builder is to give the owner an estimate for how much the project will cost. If and when a price is agreed upon, the contractor can make arrangements to start work on the project immediately.
This is where construction management becomes necessary.
In a nutshell, construction management refers to the responsibility of overseeing the entire project from start to finish. This involves a wide range of tasks, from managing communications between the architect and the project owner to inspecting on-site work for quality and safety compliance. In most situations, construction managers even assist in the initial planning stages of the project, helping you choose the architects and subcontractors who will complete the work.
Construction management professionals are also involved in the small details that can make or break your project. For example, they keep track of project expenses, ensuring that everything is proceeding on budget. Should unexpected setbacks arise that would impact your budget or timeline, the construction manager will find ways to make adjustments to keep everything in check.
By ensuring effective communication between all parties involved in the project and overseeing everything from on-site safety to contract administration, a construction management team will help your project run smoothly. And this responsibility is now easier for him to fulfill, thanks to construction management software like Pro Crew Schedule.
Even more importantly, a quality team will get your project completed on time and on budget, providing a great return on investment.
So, what exactly does a construction manager do? How does he implement construction management principles?
Roles of Construction Managers
Construction management is the overall planning, coordination, and control of a project from beginning to completion. The role of the construction manager is to deliver a functionally and financially viable project, coordinated seamlessly between multiple trades. When delays or problems do occur, the construction manager is the project’s first responder, ensuring the project stays on schedule and within budget.
The construction manager is responsible for nearly every phase of the construction program, fielding bids and presenting them to the owner, managing the job and crunching numbers. The construction manager works in conjunction with the design team, overseeing their work and devising ways to add value and keep costs in check. Working with a construction manage allows for a higher level of transparency, as they provide preliminary real-time budget estimates to the project team throughout the design and build process, minimizing surprises and allowing for necessary adjustments along the way. The construction manager provides a measure of comfort and assurance for building occupants, facilities directors and companies alike.
There are several specific tasks that construction managers perform: project management planning, cost management, quality management, contract administration, and safety management.
Here’s a brief look at what each entails:
- Project management planning. This initial stage involves laying out a plan for the entire project, including the various jobs that need to be done, the materials required and a timeline.
- Cost management. Construction managers must constantly keep tabs on costs, making adjustments if unexpected issues or complications arise.
- Quality management. Projects often involve numerous contractors and subcontractors; construction managers must make sure they’re all following the specifications and not cutting corners.
- Contract administration. Lengthy contracts are part of all construction projects, and it’s the construction manager’s job to ensure all of the contract provisions are being met and all parties are satisfied.
- Safety management. Construction sites are filled with potential safety hazards that construction managers must be aware of and guard against.
Risks of Poor Construction Management
You’re in the business to make money, so the budget is always going to be first and foremost in your mind. If you’re not doing an effective job of construction management, the first place you’re going to notice is in the pocketbook.
Effective construction management must include good budgeting. That means planning in advance by mapping out exactly what materials you should have on hand, how many man-hours you need to employ, what subcontractors you’ll need to pitch in, and so forth.
It’s not good enough to know exactly how much, say, roofing material you need to buy. If you order those materials too late in the project timeline, your workers won’t have materials to work with when they reach that phase of the project. That means delays as they wait around for the materials to arrive since they can’t start on the next phase until they complete this phase.
And that, of course, means lost profits as you pay more for man-hours and expenses creep up.
Equipment Break Down
Equipment needs attention, too. You can’t just ignore the needs of a backhoe and expect it to still work for you. If you aren’t effectively managing a construction project, you may fail to allocate enough time for your workers to maintain a vital piece of equipment, or—worse—you may fail to train them on maintenance at all, leaving you up a creek as soon as your equipment breaks down.
Equipment can cost you big time, and not only in terms of opportunity cost when you aren’t able to complete work due to malfunction. It can also cost you in terms of how much you spend on the equipment itself. Equipment that isn’t properly maintained will break down more frequently and need to be replaced soon. Some machines can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, and that kind of unexpected expense can quickly wipe out your profit margins.
Conflict With Construction Regulations
Whether you’re talking about the Occupational Health and Safety Administration or just local building regulations, the construction industry has to navigate all sorts of red tape to legally construct a building. If you are just winging it on a project, you may put yourself in jeopardy of having your project shut down or leave yourself vulnerable to lawsuits that could destroy your company.
A good construction manager should have all their ducks in a row on the job site. A construction management software tool with a document management feature can help you keep all required documents in order, so that you can show any inspector who comes sniffing around.
Reiterating yet again, Pro Crew Schedule believes communication is the main factor affecting a construction project’s success. Communication is absolutely essential on a construction site. You have many moving parts, in domains ranging from labor, to materials, to equipment. Unless everyone involved is talking to one another, you’re asking for a disaster. This is why we came up with reliable software you can use as a communication tool in your business.
For example, if you tell one worker to start putting up drywall in a section and then tell a plumbing contractor to start installing pipes in the same area, you’re going to have problems. At that point, you will have to tell one of them to sit on their hands until the other finishes work, costing you precious time and money.
Good communication is vital for safety, too. If you have heavy equipment working in an area, you need to communicate that to other workers in the area so they can know to avoid it for the time being. So always consider investing in construction management software like Pro Crew Schedule.
Benefits of Construction Management
Construction Managers are particularly valuable when multiple projects or multiple trades are working simultaneously as the scheduling and sequencing can be very challenging and time consuming for an owner to manage. Above all, construction managers have to keep everyone in the loop during the entire project, from clients and architects to contractors and subcontractors, and quickly resolve any problems that arise.