Managing a construction project impacts the project, done correctly it is completed on time and budget, but incorrectly rework costs impact the bottom line. That’s why there are courses and apprenticeships to ensure that project managers know all that they must do to complete a successful project. Here are 9 steps to manage a construction project.
Develop a Project Road-map
The first step in managing a construction project is developing a project road-map. A common misunderstanding of a project road-map is that it is a definitive plan for how the project will commence. However, it is an overview to better understand what needs to happen in order to build a true schedule. It’s also a good way to determine what the performance metrics should be. This is how the project manager can determine whether a project is on or off schedule.
Defining Roles and Responsibilities
The second step in managing a construction project is to fully define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and others. This can be used to determine who will really need to approve of what. Within construction projects, there are stakeholders who might not be key in approving a specific piece which is why they shouldn’t be responsible for it. And there are others who should approve of all parts of the plan. Once the roles and responsibilities are defined, it’s easier to get a plan into motion.
The Total Key-holder Meeting
This is an important step in managing a construction project. This meeting is where more of the plan starts to come together. It’s also a great place to ensure that everyone involved understands what’s required of them, what’s to come and answer any questions. This meeting is about team building as much as it’s about creating the organization. It ensures that any necessary subgroups are created and builds a coherent project vision. The kickoff meeting is an absolutely necessary step in project management.
Setting Scope and Baselines
The next step in managing a construction project is getting the scope and baselines into writing. The scope must be set in order to ensure everyone working on the project knows what they must do. Setting a specific scope also limits the amount of scope creep in a project. Ensuring that the scope is in writing makes it a contractual obligation on all sides, and easier to reference. Baselines, deliverables and other parts that make it easy to determine how to measure success on the project.
This next step is usually where a project starts to take shape. Developing the schedule and getting everyone to agree to it is one of the most important steps in managing a construction project. To create a schedule, the project manager must identify all of the necessary parts and steps. Once those are identified they can work on developing the schedule around the necessary steps, scope, and roles. When the schedule is created it just has to be sent out for approval and understanding.
Developing the Modification Process
Project managers shouldn’t overlook, the modification process is incredibly important in construction. Things happen, changes must be made, and in construction that can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars. The modification process helps key-holders know where to send change orders and the appropriate response time. This prevents people from losing change orders. As such, establishing a process for modifications and change request early on benefits the project. It creates a chain of command, a review process, and approval process before they’re needed.
Developing and Implementing the Quality Plan
Probably one of the most important elements of project management is the quality control and quality assurance plan. Having an early quality control and quality assurance plan that starts from the beginning of the project is better overall. Not only does it ensure the quality of work and quality of material, it prevents last-minute rework from the final inspection. Projects that undergo more frequent inspection require less rework since they know while fixes are relatively quick or inexpensive. It stops errors before they happen.
Developing a Communication Plan
A communication plan is an impactful step in managing a construction project. The communication plan details who is the appropriate point of contact in any situation. This ensures that key holders aren’t being contacted on small items, and key-holders contacting the correct person if they have questions. A well-defined communication plan also helps define the structure for issue escalation. When something needs to be escalated, everyone will know who to escalate it to, and when it’s appropriate.
Right before the beginning of construction, reviewing all plans and documents with key-holders is crucial. The review is the last chance project manager have to ensure the current project is to budget, and that everyone understands the schedule and plans. Without this final meeting, it is possible for key-holders to ask questions and make changes before the project starts officially. This is also a good time to go over procurement and ensure that the right parties understand what needs to be purchased and by when. Once everyone is clear, it is time for the construction to start.
Once construction starts the role of project manager changes slightly. They are still responsible for managing the construction project, but now they are looking at the progress using the key indicators established earlier. Staying on top of the project performance, key indicators, and communication makes it easier to stop a project from failing. This is also where it’s important to make sure payment schedules are set up and working correctly. The final step of managing a construction project is ensuring that the owners’ requirements have been met when they take ownership.