Whether big or small, construction projects are complex, dynamic, and fast-paced endeavors. They involve several moving parts that are interconnected with one another. When one component fails, the whole operation slows down, or worse, stops altogether. Missed timelines, procurement errors, and hiring issues are mistakes that can cost time and money.
Construction management is a discipline that prevents these types of mistakes from happening. It combines the expertise and skills needed to handle documentation, strict timelines, a diverse workforce, and quality control measures. To give you a front-row seat on this vital area of construction, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about construction management.
What is Construction Management?
Simply put, construction management handles all the coordination, planning, and execution of residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, and agricultural construction projects. It is a professional service that offers project owners competent and efficient administration of a build’s quality, safety, cost, function, and scope.
It has the same modes of delivery as other project management endeavors. However, managing construction projects requires a broader outlook since it involves a wide spectrum of design and build-specific constraints. Furthermore, construction management requires coordinating several other sectors such as documentation and compliance, workforce scheduling and payroll, and procurement.
The construction management team is usually made up of the following roles:
- Project Owner – Supervises the project on an executive level. They make decisions on crucial concerns such as the project delivery method and prescribing guidelines for bidding.
- Project Manager – Plans, coordinates, supervises, and prepares the budget for the whole construction project. The rest of their responsibilities include managing various teams working on the project and reporting to the project owner and other stakeholders.
- General Contractor – Responsible for providing equipment, labor, and materials needed to execute the construction project. They oversee the daily operations on the job site and hire subcontractors to perform specific duties.
The Stages of the Construction Process
A construction project involves several phases with distinct objectives that you need to accomplish before moving on to the next stage. You can follow these steps to achieve an organized and successful build.
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, a design should also be compliant with building codes and other safety regulations. The project management team should be clear on the size and scope of the project, the floor plan and schematic design, and the list and quantities of materials to be used before they draft the final contract with the client and hire a general contractor for the job.
The preconstruction phase is where the nitty and gritty details are finalized before breaking ground on the site. At this stage, the project manager and the general contractor are hired along with the rest of the personnel. An ocular inspection with the team is also in the cards to determine soil suitability, environmental issues, and full compliance with local building codes.
Now that you have the list of materials and equipment in your hands, it’s time to purchase them. Usually, a general contractor or subcontractors deal with this task, but it depends on the project developer’s business organization.
Here, you will encounter several purchase orders. These documents need to be scrutinized since they outline the agreement between the seller and the buyer. Take note of delivery dates, payment terms, breakdown of prices, and the terms and conditions.
You have finally reached the most-awaited step where the project execution begins. During this stage, the construction project manager has to monitor workplace safety concerns, perform site inspections, manage the budget, and ensure all deliverables are met.
The project management team needs to be on top of the situation all the time, as they are in charge of communicating to the project owner and other stakeholders the project status.
At this point, you have to ensure that punch lists have been resolved. A punch list itemizes the minor tasks that need to be completed or fixed before you can declare the completion of a construction project. Once you have cleared the punch list, you are ready to turn over the management of the building to the owner.
Functions of Construction Project Management
As with any endeavor, planning is a crucial step in ensuring the success of a construction project. It involves outlining the build’s objectives and the steps you need to take to meet the desired outcome. Apart from the design and schematics of the build, the plan should include schedules, budgets, performance requirements, and workers’ tasks.
One of the most crucial functions of construction project management is spending time efficiently. In construction, delays and reschedules can cost money, so time management skills are needed to keep everything on track and within budget.
Every construction project has contracts with architects, subcontractors, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders. Construction project management ensures that the legal requirements and conditions in the contract are processed and managed.
Project managers need to ensure the job site’s safety and workers’ well-being. These responsibilities involve complying with government regulations and teaching personnel about safety protocols, eliminating potential onsite threats.
This function establishes predefined quality metrics before the start of the project. It also aims to develop control mechanisms and quality assurance protocols to ensure that stakeholders and customers are satisfied with the final build.
One of the keys to a successful project is budget management. Developing and applying cost-effective measures for each construction stage ensures that all resources are maximized without compromising the build’s quality.
Why is Construction Management Important?
Building any structure is a complex and expensive undertaking. It involves many parts that need to operate harmoniously; otherwise, you will be wasting precious resources. Construction management ensures that there is competent handling of project elements. Its other benefits include the following:
A construction project goes through multiple stages manned by different people. Due to this complexity, chokepoints can happen along the way. These delays may result in added costs and unwelcome adjustments for everyone involved.
For example, the workers will have nothing to do onsite when materials are not delivered on time. This lull will trickle down to other areas that can affect the workflow.
Construction management ensures that all actions, such as purchasing and delegating tasks, are well coordinated to achieve peak efficiency. Aside from preventing delays, it also provides contingency plans if something goes wrong. Having a Plan B will ensure that the operation will continue despite setbacks.
Construction ventures involve many people working simultaneously and exchanging ideas. When there are communication gaps between entities, costly inaccuracies and misunderstandings can occur. You might not be able to translate the owner’s vision into reality, which can become a problem.
Construction management can bridge the communication gap between all parties involved. It
facilitates proper information dissemination and provides a venue for clarifications. Furthermore, it creates an effective way of addressing concerns and relaying the project’s progress to stakeholders.
Keeps budget in check
Construction ventures require a considerable investment, and project owners expect that you will handle their money wisely. However, mistakes and lack of foresight may eventually lead to budget creep throughout the project.
Construction management monitors expenses and deliverables to ensure that budgets are met without sacrificing quality. It also sets security measures in place to avoid wastage and pilferage.
Strengthens accountability among individuals involved
Maintaining accountability within a complex venture is challenging since materials, invoices, and suppliers come and go as the construction progresses. It is time-consuming to check each aspect, and it can be pretty tempting to trust all entities involved.
However, full and honest disclosure from suppliers and contractors can’t happen all the time. Construction management provides a check-and-balance mechanism that ensures all team members and contractors do their part. It can identify loopholes and facilitate immediate remediation.
Ensures quality control
The competition in the construction industry is cutthroat, and the key to survival lies in a project’s quality. The design of the structure will not matter if the quality is substandard. Every project owner expects that the project complies with all safety and government standards.
Construction management sets the standards and guidelines at the outset. It establishes and disseminates protocols to all areas to prepare them for inspection and certification. Furthermore, it centralizes all quality control measures for a more organized and harmonious workflow.
5 Commonly Used Construction Management Techniques
Over the years, there has been a rapid evolution of project management techniques. These changes led to the need to adapt to technological changes and innovative ideas. Here is a rundown of standard construction management techniques you can implement in your projects.
A Gantt chart is a visual representation of tasks and their corresponding time frames. It helps plan activities, whether as a whole or in milestones, and compares actual versus planned timelines. It provides a broader view of the project’s progress with visuals that the entire team can easily understand. However, setting it up, especially for larger projects, can be too complex and time-consuming.
Work Breakdown Structure
Work Breakdown Structure or WBS provides a graphic organizer for all tasks involved in the project. It breaks down complex work into smaller and more manageable tasks. This technique promotes productivity and accountability since it is easier to manage more minor tasks. One possible setback is that it might breed resentment towards micromanagement among personnel.
The acronym PERT means program evolution and review technique. It utilizes simple statistical methods to manage probabilities and provide time estimates. It works best with WBS and Gantt charts in establishing interdependencies and breakdown of tasks. Its main advantage is that it allows for easier identification of potential chokepoints and crucial tasks. However, it can be labor-intensive and eat up time and other resources.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
The Critical Path Method or CPM is a technique that helps project managers identify the most crucial activities with the most impact on the overall schedule. It is best for handling a critical path’s high-risk activities. One disadvantage of this method is that it can have hundreds of dependency relationships that can be hard to understand.
Kanban is appropriate for new project managers handling less complex projects. This method assigns and monitors tasks through boards, cards, and columns. Due to its simplicity, this technique is more sustainable and adaptable. On the other hand, the lack of time frames for each stage can be a problem for projects with tight deadlines.
What is a Construction Management Software?
A construction management software is a platform that helps companies manage their project’s schedule, communication flow, budget, decision-making processes, and supply monitoring. It uses automation to make the construction process more efficient, productive, and organized.
Acumatica is a cloud ERP that has a built-in construction management functionality, which allows users to keep projects on track. It can also drive business growth as the construction management module can be further integrated into other useful modules like accounting, finance, and inventory management. As such, you can have an overall view of the project status.
As an ERP software, it can revolutionize the whole building process, giving companies a cost-effective and competitive edge. To provide you with an idea of what this type of software can bring to the table, we’ve outlined some of its most common functionalities.
It allows project managers to estimate and determine the material needed for each construction phase and even automatically create and send out purchase order forms to simplify the process.
Accounting and job costing
A construction management software can be integrated with other accounting tools to monitor costs and expenses effectively. It automates processes such as payables, payrolls, and accounts receivables.
The scale of a construction project requires monitoring every detail of each phase. A construction management software allows efficient management and tracking of timelines, client requests, building issues, and profitability.
This function allows project managers to balance workloads and adjust tasks when needed. It aids in scheduling labor and resource allocations, construction activities, and equipment for a more efficient and cost-effective workflow.
This function provides fast inventories that can track lost materials and monitor the movement of onsite assets. It assists in resource distribution to eliminate wastage and write-offs.
This software feature allows project managers to record equipment maintenance needs and allocate the appropriate tools to all departments. It streamlines usage and maintenance schedules and ensures optimal equipment performance.
This component allows managers to view and analyze project data, helping them identify risks and evaluate the project’s progress. It offers accurate data reports in real-time that can be exported to third-party software.
The Benefits of Having a Construction Management Software
Whether you are new to the construction business or a seasoned builder, you need construction management software to thrive in an industry that’s getting more and more competitive.
Here are some of the reasons why now is the time to get ERP software for your construction venture.
- Faster decision making. It helps upper management as well as frontline supervisors make sound decisions faster because of instant access to information.
- Better customer service. It allows you to provide exceptional customer service. For example, when the project owner requires an immediate response to their concerns, you can readily provide them with accurate information.
- Real-time communication and collaboration. Since everyone can share information and ideas freely, creativity and teamwork arise, resulting in a more productive work environment.
- Better document management. It allows you to manage documents more efficiently. The construction business relies heavily on documentation, so software that can organize paperwork can be heaven-sent.
- Automates repetitive tasks. It automates repetitive and time-consuming cost estimations, ordering, payroll, payments, and scheduling. This feature can save time and money allocated for other endeavors.
- Scales with your business. It scales with your business since it maximizes the capabilities of your venture and provides tools for success.
Let Yondu Help You Grow Your Construction Business
The construction business is a complex venture that entails many considerations and interconnected parts. Every stage is crucial to making a blueprint come alive and touch many lives.
In today’s highly advanced technologies and fast-paced life, the key to a successful build lies in exceptional construction management. While having standalone construction management software is good, it is better to acquire software that you can fully integrate into your company’s ERP system.
You have a dependable software provider in Yondu, Acumatica’s partner in the Philippines. Acumatica ERP has a construction management module that is fully integrated within its system.
If your business requires a more personalized approach, Yondu can also develop customized construction management software apt for your business process and model.
Schedule a consultation today with Yondu’s ERP experts to know more about how their construction management software can propel your business to the top.