Electrical construction is a multi-million dollar industry, and its installation and control components play a significant part in electrical contracting. For any construction project, the electrical project manager plays a crucial role on and off the job site. They must oversee and regulate how to effectively plan, schedule, and organize workers, time, materials, equipment, and budget efficiently. From start to finish, electrical project managers are responsible for estimating, controlling costs, forecasting, and scheduling numerous projects.
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Day to day, project managers ensure that job sites have the highest quality of work and are responsible for submittals, purchase and change orders, materials, contracts, and subcontracts. They also schedule and plan timelines by optimizing resources in fast-paced construction environments. Additionally, they assist in designating the scope of work, managing plans, quality control, and sequencing. Finally, they are responsible for developing and maintaining a network of professional relationships within the industry. Effective electrical project management is a complex profession, and it requires technical management skills as well as the capability to be collaborative and work well with others. Electrical project managers have a lot on their plate, and here are few tips on how to improve their management delivery.
1. Follow the Electrical Project Management Checklist
In this checklist, there are many steps to follow that can ensure that project managers and contractors can maximize efficiency and success.
Understand your role in the project
Construction managers have a lot of responsibilities; once you understand the primary factors and tasks that you must do, it will make the project go smoothly.
Write up a project plan
It’s essential to write a plan for the project. Plans include critical information including schedules, materials, communication, and areas of concern.
Do your research
You must identify the scope and size of each project. The research that goes into electrical construction projects is crucial because it determines how well equipped and prepared you and the team will be. The more research means the more details on the project. Ultimately, you can almost guarantee an improved performance for current and future projects.
Check-in and reevaluate
After the plan is approved and the project is underway, it’s essential for electrical contractors to check-in and assure that everything is running smoothly. If something is not going to plan, it might be necessary to take immediate action to fix it.
Communication is critical in every phase of all construction projects. It is vital to establish a flow of communication with everyone on the ground because when changes arise, you can make sure everyone is on the same page. The role of communication is not limited to just workers, but other stakeholders as well. Meet with your team members weekly to review the current status of assignments, upcoming schedules, make any modifications, and get everyone on the same page. The weekly production meeting is an important communication agent to keep all stakeholders on the same page to keep the project on track.
There are tools to increase the use of communication and collaboration on and off the job site. Here are some additional tips on communication skills in construction:
–Taking accurate measurements
–Being an active listener
3. Collaborative Construction Management Software
Having subcontractor-designed construction management software means that anyone that works on the project can have access to its documentation and project information. Getting connected with software that utilizes project processes allow users to simplify construction management. Software that is cloud-based means that they can have access wherever they are and in real-time. CM Software is accessible on smartphones, tablets, or computers. Project Managers will have to send paperwork between staff, and it is incredibly convenient when it updates automatically for version control. Integrated construction management software can sync comments, photos, documents, and calendars in a single location. Also, Management can monitor updates, budgets, and scheduling changes as they arise. Ultimately, it allows for transparency and the ability to minimize the number of emails and phone calls when problems arise.
4. Prepare a detailed system drawing for the field and as-built drawings
Drawings show the best plan for conduit routing and cable grouping. The detailed drawings result in labor and material savings. Preparing an accurate system will help the team install the electrical systems with great accuracy.
No construction project proceeds precisely to the plan, that’s just reality. The contractor must keep organized records during the physical construction phase because if blueprints change, the changes need to be present. They are revised sets of construction drawings that are submitted by a contractor. In this step, designers, field workers, and the project manager need to be on the proverbial “same page” with access to real-time changes made to drawings. Rework is the profit killer for electrical installs so integrating field-first project management with a BIM design solution is a cure for this ill.
Tips for Recording As-Built Drawings
1. Double-check that the designers use the same scale on each drawing throughout the project. Mathematical errors can result in an incorrect amount of materials.
2. Implement the exact details of modifications, including (but not limited to) Fabrication, installation, material, sizing, etc
3. Record all unexpected difficulties or obstacles found on the project as they come.
5. Take Care of Less Important Tasks Early
At the beginning of a project, go through the blueprints and the original estimate, so you know the materials and equipment needed. Classify items based on priority. One example is to highlight the items that are:
Filtering through the materials is important because you know which items to order early so you can prepare schedules to maximize time. By addressing these items early, you’re not missing equipment and handling issues in an orderly fashion. You must also have contingencies in place to make adjustments. For example, if a project needs a specific material that is only available for shipment in a few weeks, order it as soon as possible, so you don’t have to wait around for them to arrive later on. With these tips and a mindset for more exceptional planning, preparation, and leveraging technology, you will be well on your way to improving your electrical project management delivery practices.