Construction Project Management Processes are the Key to Successful Job Completion
Effective, efficient construction project management is the foundation for success in the industry. It ensures projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.
Projects have many moving parts, but proven management processes and technologies can help you ensure that your projects come in on time and on budget.
This blog will cover how to control key project management processes and provide practical examples so you can improve your processes.
Understanding Project Management Fundamentals in Construction
If you’re a small or medium sized construction firm embarking on a new commercial building project, you want to avoid costly delays and budget overruns, and so you need a well-defined project plan and a clear understanding of project management basics.
What is Project management in construction?
In construction, project management refers to the systematic planning, execution, monitoring, and control of all aspects of a construction project to achieve its objectives. That includes coordinating resources, schedules, budgets, and communication so that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
Why is project management important in construction?
Without effective project management, construction projects can easily go off track, leading to delays, cost overruns, and quality issues. If a project lacks proper management, you could face challenges such as missed deadlines, unexpected expenses, and disputes with subcontractors.
Effective project management helps reduce these risks and ensures that a project progresses smoothly from start to finish. It allows for better resource allocation, risk identification and mitigation, and improved communication among project stakeholders.
Careful planning can help you to identify potential issues, including material shortages, scheduling issues with subcontractors, or even poor weather. Early identification of issues that could hurt your project schedule or impact your budget means you have time to act and improve your project outcomes. Delivering a project on time and within budget gives your company a reputation for reliability and quality work, which can lead to more opportunities and allow you to maintain a profit.
Key Elements of Construction Project Management
There are several key elements in construction project management. Folding these elements into your project management process will help you manage your construction projects more productively.
Define and manage scope:
Before you begin a job, it’s important to define the scope of the project. That means outlining the specific goals, deliverables, and constraints of the project. Determining a clear scope at the beginning will help you avoid scope creep, which often leads to added costs and delays.
Throughout the project, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the scope. If a client requests additional features or modifications, you’ll need to assess how those changes could impact your project timelines and budget before you ok any changes.
Before you get on site, you’ll want to define clear project objectives, establish a project budget, and create detailed schedules to ensure your project moves along at the right pace.
It’s important to create a project atmosphere of open communication among project team members, subcontractors, and clients. A critical part of the communication process is how you handle Change Orders. (The contract for the project should clearly state how change orders will be processed as well as the procedures for modifying the initial scope of work.) To avoid confusion, any work that expands the initial scope of the project, especially work that will affect scheduling and costs, should be handled with a written change order that has been signed off by the owner.
Create a workable schedule:
Scheduling is critical in construction project management. A good project plan includes a tight schedule that outlines tasks, dependencies, and deadlines so that it’s possible to track progress as you go along. Project managers use tools like Gantt charts to visualize and track progress for each of the tasks that must be complete to finish the project.
For example, for a residential construction project, you may have tasks like excavation, foundation pouring, framing, electrical work, plumbing, and finishing. Your project manager would schedule each of these tasks in the correct sequence and assign sufficient time and staffing levels to ensure a smooth workflow.
You’ll also need to identify potential risks and decide on ways to reduce your exposure to those risks so you can minimize disruptions.
Manage your budget:
Effective budget management involves estimating costs, creating a budget, and tracking expenses throughout the project. Construction projects often face cost pressures due to unexpected issues, and project managers must keep a close eye on job costs as they accrue so they can spot issues before they become bigger problems. Using construction accounting software like JOBPOWER can help you easily track job costs and job budgets, manage your invoices, and stay up to date on your subcontractors as well.
For example, a renovation project for an older building may encounter unknown structural problems that require additional funding. Effective budget management includes setting aside contingency funds to address such issues without derailing the project.
Identify risks and plan to mitigate them:
There are many risks you face in completing construction projects. These risks include weather, material shortages, and regulatory changes. Risk management involves identifying potential risks to the project, assessing their potential impact, and developing strategies to manage or reduce their impact on the project.
Weather can be a big risk for some projects at certain times of the year. If you’re working on the Atlantic coast in the late summer, you may need a risk management plan in place to address potential hurricane-related disruptions.
Prioritize effective communication:
Good project managers know they must communicate effectively to various teams to bring projects to completion efficiently. Information must flow smoothly between all stakeholders, including clients, subcontractors, suppliers, and the project team. Construction software can help deliver up to date, accurate information to the appropriate departments and keep your projects moving without difficulty.
Enact quality control and quality assurance:
Construction project management also requires oversight of quality measures. Every job must meet quality standards so it can pass safety inspections and satisfy owners. For example, work on a hospital or medical facility must meet stringent standards to satisfy the requirements of the building. There are two types of quality measures:
- Quality control focuses on processes and checks to ensure that work conforms to quality standards.
- Quality assurance involves systematic planning and continuous improvement to maintain and enhance quality throughout the project.
Optimize Financial Control with Construction Accounting Software
Construction accounting software, like JOBPOWER plays a critical role in construction project management. It provides a centralized platform for financial management and allows contractors to monitor their project’s financial health in real-time.
Construction accounting software enables contractors to efficiently track job costs, manage payroll, generate invoices, and reconcile accounts, all while adhering to industry-specific accounting standards and regulations.
Here are the key features you need in construction accounting software that help you manage your projects efficiently and keep your company financially sound.
Job Costing: Construction job cost accounting software provides detailed, up to date, accurate cost accounting for every project so you always know how your project is performing compared with your estimated budget.
Construction Payroll Management: Your labor force may expand and contract with each project, and you want to be certain you’re paying your team fairly and on time. Construction accounting software with payroll helps you efficiently manage labor costs by automating payroll calculations, tax withholdings, and compliance with prevailing wage laws.
Invoicing: Cash flow is key to a well-managed project. Software made for contractors helps you streamline the invoicing process by generating professional invoices and tracking payment status. This ensures timely payments and improves cash flow.
Account Reconciliation: Automatically reconcile bank statements and project expenses, which will enable you to reduce errors and ensure financial accuracy.
Custom Reporting: Generate customized financial reports, such as profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and job cost reports, to gain insights into project performance.
Integration: Many construction accounting software solutions integrate seamlessly with project management tools and other software, creating a unified ecosystem so you can track all your project information effortlessly.
By implementing construction accounting software, you can gain real-time visibility into your financial data, identify cost overruns early, optimize resource allocation, and ultimately increase profitability. Using software that’s made for construction companies means you can simplify your payroll process, reduce compliance risks, and save valuable time.
Proven Project Management Strategies for Small and Medium Sized Contractors
What can you do to improve your construction project management? Like many aspects in construction, attention to the details will improve your ability to solve problems and operate more productively.
Prioritize Planning: Time spent planning at the early stages of a project is time well spent.
Effective Communication: A well informed team can work more productively together, and open communication is the key to avoiding many project bottlenecks.
Risk Management: The initial planning for a project should include risk assessment.
Continuous Training: Ongoing project management training for both leadership and field teams will help your project management teams keep current with the best practices in the industry and allow them to bring those practices to your projects.
Quality Control: To manage a large project smoothly, you should also schedule regular inspections and quality checkpoints to ensure that the work meets industry standards.
Financial Transparency: Data based decision making is critical component of completing successful projects on time. Using construction accounting software helps you access up to date data on job costs, cash flow, and subcontractor information like insurance and retainage.
Final Thoughts on Effective Project Management for Construction
Effective project management means you’ll finish on time and on budget. When you’re able to complete your projects efficiently, your clients will be happy, and this paves the way for more business for your future.
To improve construction project management, you need to follow a few guidelines:
Start with a plan. Up front planning will save you time and money over the length of the project. Keep current with your project by making data based decisions. Tracking actual job costs against your budgeted costs and ensuring materials and labor arrives at the appropriate time for your schedule keep your projects moving on the right track. You need tools to pull your plan and your decision making together. Software that’s made for construction companies delivers the information you need to stick to your project plan.
Construction accounting software is an important foundation for enhanced project control because it can enhance your ability to control your projects and manage your finances.
Sign up for more great construction accounting content on the JOBPOWER blog.