Starting Up a Construction Project

Starting Up a Construction Project

First and foremost, to fully understand the concepts and principles of construction management, it would be appropriate to define the term “project”. Project is a unique endeavor with an aim to produce a set of deliverables within a clearly specified time, cost and quality restrictions. It is undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

Now that the term “project” has been defined, next to it would be “project management”. This concept involves the application of processes, method, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve project objectives. It is the basis on which every construction project is founded. It is vital that a project manager must possess the necessary skills and competence in order to explore and steer within and outside of the project. Project management is key to the steadiness of the whole process.

Accordingly, “construction project management” can be defined as the direction, regulation and supervision of a project from conception, development to completion. Its ultimate goal is the full satisfaction of its client both in terms of functionality and budget. The main idea of construction project management is relatively connected to technical parameters such as budget and execution. It also requires a firm and open communication between stakeholders, contractors and the community.

At present, change is indeed inevitable. Almost always, a project cannot be isolated from change that an organization goes through due to external elements in the environment. Every project manager must keep up with changes in management specifically in terms of practices and technology. Also, an effective project manager possesses a wide variety of experience and knowledge to handle diverse people and meet an assorted objective. With technology, projects nowadays are rather complex bringing about difficulties in people, tasks and management.

Projects and project management processes vary from industry to industry; however, these are more traditional elements of a project. The overarching goal is typically to offer a product, to change a process or to solve a problem in order to benefit the organization.

Project and project management processes vary from industry to industry. However, most construction project management follows a similar pattern. Normally, this pattern is in this order:

  1. Initiation. Before starting a project, the project manager must develop and evaluate the plan to determine if the project is feasible and worth. Other agents of the project may be asked to participate as well. If all parties agree to all terms and conditions, the project manager then proceeds in writing a project initiation document. This includes the business needs and the business case.
  2. Planning. In this stage, the team develops a path to be followed by all people involved in the project. A project Management plan will now be created by the team.
  3. Execution. Once planning has been presented, the real work begins now.
  4. Performance and monitoring. This phase often happens simultaneously with the execution phase. It is in this phase where progress and performance usually measure.
  5. Closure. This is the last part wherein it marks the completion of a project. To conclude the project, the project manager may call for a final meeting to discuss what has and has not been achieved. After the post-evaluation, the team then creates a list of tasks that were not accomplished, performs a final budget and eventually issues a final project report.

It’s no secret that construction project management is quite complicated. The management of a construction project requires knowledge of modern management as well as an understanding of the design and construction process. It is a really challenging undertaking wherein a myriad of parameters and elements should be exhaustively analyzed.

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Construction Scheduling the Practical Way

Construction Scheduling the Practical Way

In the construction industry, project completion is the pinnacle of success. With the right amount of planning, implementing and monitoring, a construction team has the opportunity to complete a project on time, on budget and with favorable high-quality results.

There are several reasons why a project might fail. However, such failures can be avoided by adopting efficient and systematic practices and project management techniques which help in establishing a clear and vivid understanding of expectations, perceptions and processes between the client and the construction team.

Good scheduling eliminates problems brought about by production bottlenecks, facilitates the appropriate procurement of needed materials and ensures completion of the project on time. Contrary, poor and inefficient scheduling results in considerable wastes in terms of workforce and equipment. Delays in the completion of the entire project due to poor scheduling can also create damage and mistrust between the contractor and the client.

There are many best practices for project implementation. However, the following are the basic and most effective:

  1. Every project should start with a clear project scope. The construction team should focus and invest their time in gathering and coming up with viable information, designate specific tasks to specific people and have a clear checklist of available and needed resources.
  2. Timeline. It is necessary to put all tasks on a timeline. This is one way of checking if all involved agents are on the same boat with the contractor.  This timeline will give the contractor a bird’s eye view of the whole project and all resources. This keeps the team focused on delivering the goods in a realistic schedule.
  3. Keep planning. This never stops until the project has been completed. Changes can happen anytime, and by setting expectations on how to deal with these changes, the construction team will be able to overcome and surpass such obstacles.
  4. Implement and check the metrics. Once implementation has begun, it is also necessary to not lose track of the metrics. Check all possible signs of hindrance and difficulties that may cause trouble along the way.
  5. Quality. This is the most essential measure of success.  Getting a project done and within or under the budget is not enough. What is important is to make sure that the project is of the highest quality.

Excellence in delivering a good of utmost quality within the specified time is the ultimate satisfaction that a construction team can achieve. A successful project can be achieved through a structured process, teamwork and dedication. The whole process balances the major constraints and provides an effective tool for coming up with exceptional decisions all throughout the project.  Such decisions should be based on values, metrics standard procedures and projected goals.

Project management timeline provides a visual overview of the entire project from conception to completion. It outlines the projected deliverables to be produced and completed in a timely manner. A project plan is incomplete and ineffective if there is no project management timeline right from the start of the project.

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Pre-construction Phase

Pre-construction Phase

The construction phase or design phase is considered as the period in which the contractor or builder takes full control of the overall construction plan and how to carry out its patchwork. This phase is central to the success of the entire project. This is where the entire project’s success is built upon. It is the starting point that will nail success throughout the remainder of the project. This is the point where review, evaluation, and discussion take place. Conventionally, the pre-construction phase involves performing the necessary preliminary planning and engineering in order to fully define the whole process, identify probable problems and analyze cost impact.  In this phase, the contractor can entirely define the formal approach for developing project scope, schedule to execute the construction on time and in control and initiate cost as early as possible with the aim of efficiently using available resources and money. Pre-construction consequently assists the owner to determine if the project is feasible or not. If it is indeed feasible, the pre-construction phase defines the entire scope of work enough to determine the total cost and possible schedule of the project.

The contractor develops a thorough and detailed process of understanding the entirety of the project, outlines a viable strategy and convenes a team with a heart full of dedication and aim to get the job done in time. It is imperative that the team develop a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the main business goals and position the project goals correspondingly.

It is vital to meet the client and discuss the whole process in order to properly lay out the possible total cost involved and the totality of the project. This way, the contractor would have a better sense of whom he or she is working for. This is an excellent avenue for finding out the objectives and resolving any possible queries that the owner may have. Next to this would be a definite and plausible schedule, project scope and cost estimate for the owner. 

The monetary estimation is dependent on the accuracy that the owner requires. Getting the owner on the same page with regard to the proposed budget is essential. Also, the right overall pre-construction planning can be the defining point between an on-time, on-budget project that meets the owner’s needs and specifications. The intent to work with the project’s owner is to deliver a satisfactory project that meets the owner’s specifications. In addition to the monetary aspect of the project, the pre-construction phase enables the construction team to design, evaluate, study, schedule, and review.

Moreover, it is the task of the contractor to dig deeper into the plan and specifications to determine the most economical, viable and efficient way to execute the project plan. It’s an on-going process from the design stage to the whole duration of the pre-construction phase with the aim of producing quality contract documents as well as identifying possible areas of conflict and problems which may affect the proposed schedule and budget.

Lastly, the pre-construction phase is all about well-defined scopes, good plans and an experienced team which will pave the way for a successful construction project.

A Guide to All the Phases of a Construction Project

A Guide to All the Phases of a Construction Project

A construction project is a complex project as it comes in layers that involve a lot of processes, from that of the actual design and construction to that of dealing with uncertainties, legalities, and people.

To simplify the phases from all the complexity, here are the following phases that will be undergone in a construction project:

Feasibility and Design

This phase covers the design stage in which aesthetics, safety, building codes, and regulations go hand in hand. The feasibility of the design is also studied on this stage to ensure that the design is plausible and that future issues and problems may be avoided early on in the design stage of the construction project, making future phases easier to navigate. In this phase, all possible diversification in the vision and idea are welcome to challenge the current design to promote innovation and have it easier on the next stages.

Preconstruction

This phase begins when the design is finalized and when the contractor has been chosen by the client through the means of bidding, or some other way. Here, the teams and members are assigned to their specific responsibilities. It could be that the construction project manager is assigned in this phase or beforehand even before the designing. Then, the site investigation is done to ensure that the steps that are to be followed will be sufficient and efficient for the project and everyone.

Procurement

The procurement phase is the phase where the materials and equipment needed to complete the project are acquired or purchased. So here, from purchasing supplies to acquiring subcontractors, these are the main tasks of the team. Subcontractors may be acquired through bidding or depending on the discrepancy of the main contractor and client. And in cases where the demands are not met, some design changes may have to be considered; to avoid such, this must be considered in the design and feasibility phase thoroughly as well.

Construction

The construction phase begins with that of identifying the basics from the schedule needed to be followed to the number of subcontractors needed and obviously the finalization of payments and such for the coming progress, after which the actual construction begins. In this phase, minor issues may be encountered, but mostly they are handled quite easily if the design and feasibility phase was thoroughly gone through.

Occupancy

In this phase, the owner, client, or what is supposed to be in the building moves into the project, and the warranty period begins. Also, the contractors and subcontractors will have to respond if issues are encountered with regard to the construction as per the contract that they had.

Occupancy at the same time will work as a form of advertisement and portfolio for the construction project manager, and here he/she must be of good terms with the client as into closing the deal so that bidding will almost hardly come as an option in the next coming projects.

What do you think are the needed things for the construction project manager to get ready for during the occupation phase?

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The Anatomy of a Construction Project

The Anatomy of a Construction Project

A construction project may contain more than the following parts that will be given within this blog, but for most of the cases, the ones that we will be tackling are the major limbs that will always be part of a construction project.

The Project

None of these other parts would be relevant without the actual project. This is the most crucial and important part of everything else. This may be put in mind before the actual design and acquisition of the project if biddings and proposals are of concern.

The core of the whole construction project is the project itself.

The Client

A project will always have a client. It is of utmost importance to know the client as it is to understand the required requirements for the project. The client is either a person or a group that initiated or requested the project. A client may be the one to approach you with a project, or it is you who will have to approach the client to submit a proposal for a project.

The client will be either hands-on or not in interacting with you and the project, or he/she/they may give the whole responsibility to the construction project manager, but in all cases, the client must be timely updated of the status of the project.

The Designers

This is the part of the construction project where visions are brought to reality through the scrutiny of great minds. In here, the floor varies from architects, engineers, to even artists from time to time. This group may exist even before the acquisition of the project and most of the time will continue to supervise the construction to make sure that the vision is played out as planned and designed.

The Contractor

The contractor is the team that will handle the resources needed in the construction. They may be responsible for both the people acquired for the construction and the supplies and resources needed or at least one of either, for there may be more than one contractor per project. Contractors are acquired either within the design phase or after, depending on the situation. Contractors, in most cases, also bid for the projects which in turn pair them with a construction project manager or vice versa. There are also cases where the construction project manager may come from or with the contractor.

The Construction Project Manager

The one who manages everything from the ground up. He/she must have any form of background when it comes to construction as a prerequisite, but one of the most important aspects that is to be highlighted is that he/she as a construction project manager must know how to deal with people from the bottom to the top of the pyramid. A balanced construction project manager does not only rely on theories alone but also considers the thoughts and opinions of his/her team members from the top to the bottom of the pyramid.

So those are the most common and basic anatomical parts of a construction project. In your projects what extra parts do you have?

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