Construction Documentation

Construction Documentation

Construction documentation is the phase where the overall design is transcribed into the technical aspect. This stage prepares the design for actual construction. Drawings including plans, elevations, sections and specifications as well as other details and schedules defined as the materials that are to be incorporated to enable construction approval. It is otherwise referred to as working drawings.

The documentation can range from very basic drawings to fully complete drawings and specifications with detailed and comprehensive date and schedules. Basically, the more unique and complicated the project, the greater the need for more comprehensive and absolute documentation.

Why is construction documentation necessary? Documentation is necessary and vital to prove and show that a certain construction activity has taken place at the site during billing or any other claims. These records contain all the data with regard to construction activities carried out at the project site. If additional work has been performed and claimed during billing, these documents will show proof of what transpired during the whole duration of the project. Furthermore, these records also provide assistance during audits of construction projects. These documents are very useful with any claims such as liquidated damages, false claims or violations of any guidelines by clients or authorities. Managing these documents in an efficient and organized way is integral in a running a successful construction business. Complete construction documentation enables the builders to go ahead with the project at maximum efficiency.

Creating an accurate and thorough set of construction documents is essential as these documents will become the source of authority on all future matters that will arise during construction. A seemingly simple change in designs leads to an array of alterations in the construction documents, thus, it is of utmost importance that all agents involve must coordinate regarding all design elements for accuracy.

The accuracy of construction documents is crucial to a project’s success. It allows builders and contractors to quote fair and accurate market prices. Aside from accurate pricing, a complete and precise set of construction documents allows faster and a more efficient construction, resulting in a more profitable project.

Setting up the proper construction documentation in a construction business helps one work efficiently, meet legal requirements and eventually strengthen customer and working staff relationships. Successful construction documentation requires that measurements and calculations which support contract payments should be accurate and records of these activities are complete. Construction documentation must be amply detailed and maintained in such a way that will endure audits. It must also be visually clear for anybody to read and understand. It should be accurate and complete.

Every contractor and builder should go beyond the possibility of having additional documents. These additional documents should depend on the type of industry and specifications. These documents will provide information on how to solve claims and issues and other legal matters when needed. These will be presented during claims and can help solve potential conflicts should legal actions arise.

Even as the construction industry undergoes a digital revolution, construction documentation is still as important as ever. It serves as the backbone of the entire construction project.

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Psychology of Change Orders

Psychology of Change Orders

A successful business is not necessarily the one with the most creative ideas. It is the company that has cultures that encourage and reward its constituents.

As the old saying goes, “Change is inevitable”. As with construction projects, the most appropriate statement would be “Change orders are inevitable”. A change order is simply a work that is added, modified or removed from the original scope of work of a contract, a document used to record any amendment to the original construction contract. It is a vitally important tool for contractors. A change order alters essential information such as the original contract and/or completion date. Moreover, it is simply an addendum, correction or amendment to the original construction contract and its scope of work.

The most indispensable function of construction change order shows the client that additional work done entails additional expenses. Change orders help contractors in managing client specifications and demands

Implementing a disciplined and effective change order process can help contractors improve profitability, achieve target and safeguard their reputation and credibility. However, when change orders are handled ineffectively, a loss in profitability and an unfavorable relationship between the contractors and clients normally arise. It can quickly derail the success of a project.

Managing expectation is the most crucial aspect of a change order process. Always discuss the whole process in advance with the client. This way, the aspect of transparency will be met. An effective change order process will help contractors manage their relationship with customers and make the business more professional and more procedure-oriented when it comes to the monetary aspect of the project. Being able to effectively manage change order doesn’t have to be difficult as it only takes a little preparation, understanding and a large amount of communication with all that are involved in the project.

Change orders are made to help contractors manage their customers who always want more for less. Combined with a detailed scope of work, a beneficial outcome between both parties is expected. These requests for changes can be awkward if the contractors fail to manage expectation right from the beginning.

Sadly, change orders will happen at some point in some projects, and the worst thing contractors can do is to be ill-prepared when it happens. Instead of being defensive and unmindful, they should be ready to face potential changes. With a sound mind and positive approach, the frustrations will be reduced resulting in more favorable results

Having a change order process in place allows contractors to efficiently identify the need for change order and manage them when they arise. Since change orders are an inevitable part of working in the construction industry, it is imperative that they have to deal with them at some point in a particular project and will continue to deal with them on future projects. Aside from its importance for proper documentation, change orders are vital in managing the expectation of customers.

Embrace changes, anticipate its potential and be able to work more efficiently in the event of the unexpected.

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.

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