5 Tips for Smoother Construction Projects
April 11, 2015
As project managers, we’re always trying to ensure that our construction projects go smoothly. Costs and deadlines must be met. But if you don’t have the right factors in place, things can delay or even breakdown, quickly.
Here are five tips to help ensure your construction projects don’t go down the rabbit hole.
1. Define your objective
You must have a full understanding of the purpose of your project, your primary objectives. What do all your stakeholders expect you to do — and we mean all of your stakeholders, including the public if you are working on a public works project. Your objective should also be future oriented. You must be able to anticipate potential changes to your project in advance so that you are ready to handle it when you are forced to cross that bridge. You should also identify hurdles, or challenges, and develop solutions in advance.
2. Ensure your budget and funding is secure and adequate
Did you properly budget for expenses, materials, labor (overtime) and any other extraordinary factors that are sure to crop up once you break ground? Repeat the math, again, again, and again. Will you get paid on time, and periodically, so that you have funds on hand to pay for your expenses? If your finances are not in order, this can turn a project into a nightmare especially if change orders and other issues arise.
3. Develop a communications plan
You need to make sure everyone is on the same page at all times. A communications bottleneck with your sub-contractors can result in wasted time and money. Frequently hold in-person meetings, get feedback from the public or your stakeholders, and look into cloud-based construction management software so you can truly keep your team and project synced at all times. Email alone just won’t cut it anymore.
4. Keep your eyes on the competition
You may be the star contractor in town today. But tomorrow, some hot shot armed with stellar marketing (more package, or glitz, than actual performance) starts taking bids from you. You need to have a Plan B in place in case the competition creeps up on you. Your Plan B may force you to think outside-the-box, change how you do business, and make you take marketing more seriously. Our advice: be prepared and ready for when the competition invades your turf.
Don’t shy away from technology. It’s not the future, it’s the present. Project management software, smartphones and tablets at the worksite, remote teleconferencing, etc. If you’re not embracing these tools, you’re falling behind. The old days of carrying a stack of paperwork to the job are gone. You can get instant project information at the worksite: no more wasted time or delays just because you don’t have info on hand about that phase of the project.