Project management is a key driver of success in any large scale construction project. With multiple builders and subcontractors on each project, it comes down to the project managers (PMs) to establish, track and adjust everything from resource staging and delivery to labor hours and oversight. The ideal scenario is one where all tasks have been identified, ordered, budgeted, staffed and supplied, and where professional project managers effectively track and coordinate work.
The PM’s primary responsibility is to establish a comprehensive timeline called a “critical path.” Each step of the construction timeline is included on the critical path. This includes staffing, delivery of supplies, the start of construction, and supply restocking during construction. Costs are then allocated to each resource and span of time.
Milestones are markers that are used to delineate separate phases within a project. In order for a milestone to be reached, all tasks in the prior phase must be completed. In this manner, milestones segment complex projects, creating a management structure for schedules and resource allocation.
Many United Builders Service projects are built in high traffic metro areas, which means that supplies and resources require tight timeline management and just-in-time delivery to keep work on schedule.
UNEXPECTED PROJECT CHANGES
Managing expectations and changes is another crucial role of a project manager. PMs notify the client of any changes, why the change is needed, and what type of impact the change may have on the critical path. If the client requests a change, PMs review the project to determine what it will mean for milestones, staffing, resources, the overall timeline, and most importantly, cost. The primary tool PMs use to track changes is a change order. The responsible parties sign the form to document the change and to affirm responsibility for change approvals. Electronic change forms are the best means of tracking change requests throughout a project because they are digitally saved and are easy to relocate for reference.
CREW AND LABOR ALLOCATION
Because of the cyclical nature of the construction industry, many construction firms overbook their crews and then bring on subcontractors to complete jobs. When booking jobs without a comprehensive project management structure, employees end up rushing from project to project trying to get everything done. In the end, this approach makes it all too likely that some projects will fall behind schedule.
While it’s great to be ambitious about your goals, subcontractors and smaller firms can easily overestimate their capacity. PMs that understand their crew’s capabilities will play a critical role in keeping projects on track. Construction project management software can also be used to track the productivity of your crews to determine whether labor management estimates are accurate given the crew’s skills and abilities.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR BUDGETING
It is vital that project managers have access to accurate and complete job costing analyses, along with real-time updates of expenses to gauge project success. Well-maintained job costing software is your firm’s best tool to accurately estimate project costs.
Proactive project management minimizes company risk and provides both a macro overview and a detail deep dive into construction timelines and efficiencies. Quality project management relies on clear, open, and honest communication with clients, general contractors, and subcontractors to effectively track project progress. Through comprehensive project management, companies can keep track of important metrics that will help a project avoid falling behind schedule or running over budget.
Contact United Builders Service for quality project management and estimating by calling us at 303 – 466 – 7200.