How to become a Successful Construction Project Manager
Project management isn’t for everyone, particularly project management in the construction industry. At first glance, you may be fooled into believing construction project management takes the same skillset as any other PM career. However, while it does follow the traditional five phases of project management:
but that’s where the similarities end. Construction project management moves on from a typical PM role by demanding and incorporating extensive knowledge of the construction industry, a unique and complicated field.
A construction PM will need to ensure each responsibility is met and every architect, contractor, and supplier remains on schedule and budget, from the ventilation systems to the door handles - you will have to cover an unbelievably huge work load.
Effective construction PMs need to utilise tools and strategies that streamline their work. Fortunately, construction management has become more technical with the development of new tools to simplify many processes.
Here are five strategies that go beyond PM basics to prepare you for the intricacies of the construction PM world.
As a construction project manager, you should really start planning long before actual construction begins, and continue revising and developing plans until the project ends. The design, pre-construction, and procurement stages of a construction project each require extensive planning — and each may need to be revised as the next stage unfolds. Anything can happen at a construction site. If you encounter unexpected environmental problems during the pre-construction phase, the design may need to change. Even slight adjustments can affect the overall plan and timeline.
Among the most important elements of all project management, communication is essential to every phase of any construction project. Good news and bad news are equally important when preparing and implementing a build, so you need to establish a flow of communication with everyone on the ground — and every stakeholder and supplier in the plan. One of the simplest ways to create a flow of communication is a collaborative work management (CWM) tool. By syncing comments, attachments, and calendars, you can monitor news, budgets, and scheduling changes as they occur.
Use tools to monitor costs and budgets
Most PMs have to think about money constantly, but the permits, wages, materials, and equipment of construction projects in particular are often exchanged between an array of financial sources. From the initial bidding process to the project closeout, construction PMs are responsible for tracking and monitoring all costs, especially as they relate to initial budgets. Ideally, you will have an accounting department for managing contractor invoices, but even then, you have to work alongside your accountants to ensure all direct and indirect costs are recorded.
No construction project manager has the time to reply to hundreds of emails a day — or use the phone to call and address every question about budgets and progress. In addition to concentrating comments and schedules on one CWM, you can cut down further correspondence by implementing automated reporting systems. Construction project management requires the weekly distribution of various spreadsheets and status reports, and automated delivery tools will save significant time over the span of the build. This automation will ensure the right reports go to the right people on time, allowing you to focus on other tasks and communication. Other reporting systems, like Safety and Health Management, can prevent hazards, track incidents, and streamline worksite analysis when issues do arise.
Your software should be a tool that helps you work more efficiently. But, the skills and strategies for effective construction project management require a more in depth look at the industry as a whole, and a better understanding of how your role fits into an overall build.