What is Construction
Construction Project Management is simply the process of managing construction projects. When describing the management of a construction project in comparison to other types of projects, the important distinction is often that construction is mission-based. That means that the construction project’s organisation ends very clearly with the end of the project build. Construction Projects often involve Construction industry specific tools such as RFIs, Change Orders and Submittals.
Construction Project Management Software is a collection of digital Construction Project Management tools used by a wide range of construction businesses and construction project managers for project planning, resource allocation and scheduling. It enables project managers as well as entire teams to control their budget, quality management and all documentation exchanged throughout a project, and features the below project management tools:
What types of businesses require Construction Project Management?
Industries that use construction project management software include construction, manufacturing, engineering, architecture, and real estate development. Project managers work in many different industries, but of the most common types of businesses that apply project management to deliver services are:
- Field Service & Trades Businesses
- Creative & Design Agencies
- Construction & Development Services
- Engineering Firms
- IT Services
- Accounting and Bookkeeping Firms
But there are many, many more types of business and several more relevant industries (for example, landscaping, painting, wedding planners) that can all use project management software to organise and streamline their work. Likewise, there are many types of job roles that can benefit from project management software: Project Managers (of course…), Service Coordinator, Business Owners, Tradespeople and Engineers of various industries can all help their business grow with Project Management Software and bespoke Project Management Tools.
What are the stages of Construction Project Management?
Construction Project Management can be a unique process for every project manager or business, but there are five widely agreed-upon stages or phases within the project management life cycle, that most construction project managers work with; according to the Project Management Institute, they are:
These stages don’t need to happen in one set order, and many can be carried out at the same time. Also, it’s important to remember that info collected at one stage is often necessary to carry out another activity further on in the cycle (for example, timesheet management and work-in-progress management). This is known as Critical Chain Project Management and by following these steps, you can ensure project success:
1. Project Initiation
The beginnings of the construction project. The goal of this phase is to define the project at a very general level. This is when you will research whether the project is feasible and if it should be undertaken. If feasibility testing needs to be done, this is the stage of the project in which that will be completed. This is when sign off from stakeholders happen and you can begin moving into the planning stage.
2. Project Planning
This phase is key to successful construction project management and focuses on developing a roadmap that everyone will follow. This phase typically begins with setting goals. Here are some of the documents that a Construction Project Manager will create during this phase, to ensure the project stays on schedule and on budget:
- Scope Statement: A document that defines the business need, benefits of the project, objectives, deliverables, and key milestones.
- Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS): This is a visual representation that breaks down the scope of the project into manageable sections for the team.
- Milestones: Identify high-level goals that need to be met throughout the project and include them in the Gantt chart.
- Gantt Chart: A visual timeline that you can use to plan out tasks and visualise your project timeline.
- Communication Plan: This is of particular importance if your project involves outside stakeholders. Develop the proper messaging around the project and create a schedule of when to communicate with team members based on deliverables and milestones.
- Risk Management Plan: Identify all foreseeable risks. Common risks include unrealistic time and cost estimates, customer review cycle, budget cuts, changing requirements, and lack of committed resources.
3. Project Execution
This is the part where deliverables are developed and actually completed. A lot happens in this phase, like status reports and meetings, development updates, and performance reports. A “kick-off” meeting usually marks the start of the Project Execution phase where the team members involved are informed of their responsibilities. Work begins, and often, so does the next phase, simultaneously:
4. Project Performance & Monitoring
This is all about measuring construction project performance and ensuring that everything happening aligns with the construction project management plan. Construction Project Managers will use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if the project is on track. Check out this excellent blog post on the sorts of KPI’s that trades, field service and construction businesses might want to track, along with the benefits of doing so! But in a more general project management sense, you might want to track and review the below:
5. Project Closure
This final phase is the completed project. Contractors hired to work specifically on the construction project are terminated at this time as it assumed that their work is completed, pending final quality checks. Once the construction project is complete, a Project Manager will often hold a meeting to evaluate what went well in a project and discuss areas of improvement. This is a key part of the Construction Project Management methodology, and leads to learning and useful insights.
Project Managers will likely still have a few tasks to complete event after the project is complete. They will need to create a project punch-list of things that didn’t get accomplished during the project and work with team members to complete them. Perform a final project budget and prepare a final project report. Finally, they will need to collect all project documents and deliverables and store them in a single place. And of course, ensure they get paid too!