Construction Project Closeout

Construction Project Closeout

A successful closeout is key to financial success. The right construction closeout plan is necessary to properly and efficiently closeout a project.  No matter how well the final stage looks, it’s not over, and the job is not complete until all phases of the closeout have been accomplished. At this stage of the construction project, all aspects and dimensions of the entire project need to be completely finished and signed off before everyone begins to disperse. The right approach at this level can ward off problems and ensure a successful closeout. Wrapping up a project properly is impressive to everyone involved in the construction project.

With careful analysis and planning, contractors and builders can protect themselves from paying for claims and eventually close out the project. Once a construction dispute arises, the parties involved find themselves wondering what the best course of action is. Construction disputes leading to claims can be time-consuming, harmful to a contractor’s reputation and damaging to the relationship of their clients. Claims are costly, and both parties end up disrupting their relationship and the project. However, claims are avoidable. Various strategies and practices can be used to reduce the frequency of claims as a number of claims appear to be unwarranted.

To reduce or minimize the occurrence of a dispute, it is better to seek and optimize each aspect of the construction process.  Construction dispute resolution begins with the construction contract and clarifying the causes of the dispute. Negotiation is the most basic means of settling differences occurring in the course of the construction project. It is a two-way communication between the parties involved in the conflict with the goal of finding a solution for the good of everybody. Negotiations allow both parties to participate directly in decision-making to resolve the causes of the conflict. The needs and views of both parties should be considered in order to come up with an agreement that can become a valid contract and be enforceable. Avoiding and minimizing the occurrences of claims can lead to a successful closeout of a construction project.

Closing out a construction project can often be a complicated and tiring process. If conflicts and disputes are settled at an early stage, the closeout process will be simple and smooth.

No matter the size of the company, the same effort and energy during the project start-up should be accorded during closeout. Having and maintaining a closeout focus makes the final closeout efforts less stressful and more profitable.

Over the years, the definition of project success has changed. Currently, the definition of a successful construction project is accomplishing the project on time, within budget and with an acceptable level of quality. The ultimate factor in determining a successful project closeout is how well the construction team has serviced the client throughout the duration of the project. The secret is managing project goals from the beginning and following-up after the project has been completed to ensure client satisfaction.

How you finish your construction project is often how the client will remember your construction company.

Construction Claims

Construction Claims

Construction is a rather complex business. It requires the joint effort and coordination of many different entities. At times, this often makes room for a variety of construction claims. Construction and risk go hand-in-hand. Construction projects are endlessly dealing with challenges which normally arise from budget, schedule, and workforce

Disputes and conflicts will inevitably arise in any construction project. Conflicts are inevitable and endemic in the industry. In the construction industry, it is obvious and evident that construction claims are very complicated. The major players involved have varying interest and carry conflicting business requirements that lead to issues and disputes. As a matter of fact, these disputes affect everyone working on a construction project. Normally, multiple parties are involved in the conflict. Understanding the nature of claims and what gives rise to them and conducting an effective and efficient risk management review early in the construction project will hopefully aid all that are involved to an agreement and eventually profit and benefit from the construction undertaking since it is not possible or realistic to contemplate that all claims can be avoided or will be handled properly. Managing and resolving these claims as they occur can be complicated and difficult and likewise stressful for all parties involved.

Construction claims are measured by many project participants to be one of the most worrying and unpleasant events of a construction project.

Disagreement can and do arise in the construction industry. As much as it can be avoided, it will eventually happen no matter what. If negotiation and consultation fail to resolve the dispute, arbitration or litigation follow suit. Claims might be made for loss and expense, extension of time, liquidated damages and so on. Claims in case can arise in a myriad of contexts.

Risks that threaten the smooth execution of a project are considered implementation challenges that the construction industry is subject to. Once these so-called risks become a reality, they give rise to cost escalation and time delays which will later lead to claims. Usually, claims are a major source of conflict between parties in the construction industry. These claims can eventually deflect considerable resources such as finances and time.

Construction claims can be caused by a number of factors. Understanding and analyzing the causes and reasons of construction claims are the initial steps in avoiding them since these claims are often a costly process. Claims are a management issue, and the whole process needs efficient and effective management during the entire duration of a project. Mostly, claims relate to the encountered circumstances which occur during the construction stage. With workers of varying skill levels, expensive equipment and materials and a huge deal of expectations involved, conflicts are hard to avoid in the construction industry. So much can happen during the whole duration of a project. Disagreements involving constructions are likely to happen and are not expected. However, when these conflicts are escalated to the next level, they don’t have to lead to claims. Claims can be prevented and disagreements can be settled in an early stage.

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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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