There are a lot of moving parts to a construction project. And to make sure everything comes together smoothly, these types of projects require a manager who is up to the task – and who has the necessary skills to get the job done right.
With so much riding on standout construction project management, it’s a good idea to do a refresh of best practices, in order to set your team up for success. So whether you’re managing the project yourself or trying to select the right person for the job, read up on these six construction management tips, all of which should be top of mind from project inception to completion.
What makes for a good construction project manager?
Before we tackle our top construction management tips, it might be helpful to consider some of the characteristics that could make someone a good fit for the role.
Notably, there’s not much difference between what makes someone a good construction project manager and what makes them a good manager in general. The person who takes on this role should be a great communicator with strong leadership skills and the ability to plan (and stick to) a schedule. They should also be proficient in both cost and business management, with a talent for critical thinking and a strong think-on-their-feet mentality.
Where management of this type of work does differ from other project management tasks is in the technical details. A good construction manager understands the work his or her team is doing and can lend technical support when needed. They don’t have to be a certified expert, but they do have to have at least a basic level of technical knowledge so their team knows they can rely on them for guidance when they hit a snag.
Bringing these skills to the table is half the battle. And of course, the cardinal rule of management is to manage others as you would like to be managed.
Below are the must-know tips for being a reliable point person and seeing the project through as seamlessly as possible. Simply follow this advice, all of which will be valuable for construction management on- and off-site.
6 construction management tips for a successful build
Tip #1: Plan ahead
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the planning and research that goes into a construction project. And it’s the manager’s responsibility to not only oversee this planning but to make sure that there’s a clear and well-defined path ahead for what needs to get done.
Before you ever break ground, put together a comprehensive plan and schedule that covers each step of what’s to come. Further, rely on experience to identify potential obstacles and plan in advance how you’re going to tackle them. The better you are at planning as a construction manager, the less likely you are to get derailed by setbacks and hurdles.
Sometimes, for big and ambitious projects, you might want to outsource the construction management. Working with a business that provides this service, such as Branco Enterprises, can help you to stay on top of your most challenging contracts.
Tip #2: Be a team captain
To excel at construction management, it’s not enough to be a team player – you have to be a team leader. This means acting as an accessible point of contact for all individuals involved on the project, from architects and engineers to builders and inspectors. It also means maintaining open lines of communication so that all team members feel comfortable, heard, and supported in their individual roles.
Tip #3: Remain flexible in your approach
It’s pretty much a guarantee that things won’t go exactly to plan. A competent project manager understands this and sets their expectations accordingly, bringing a flexible approach to construction management so they’re better able to navigate challenges along the way.
To simplify this skill, make flexibility part of the plan from the get-go. Leave wiggle room in both the schedule and the budget, ensuring that you can adapt with ease when the situation calls for it.
Tip #4: Don’t try to do too much at once
It’s always better to give your full attention to one thing than partial attention to multiple things. This is true for all construction project managers, especially those who are managing more than one project.
Make a point of only tackling one task or problem at a time, giving it sufficient oversight from the start so that you don’t have to go back and try to fix avoidable errors later on. You should also adequately prioritize everything on your to-do list, addressing each issue in the right order and making the most efficient use of your available time.
Tip #5: Be open to change
Longtime construction managers might be used to a lot of manual administrative tasks, but just because they’ve always done it one way doesn’t mean it’s the way to do things moving forward. Embrace change, taking advantage of automated tools instead of resisting them. Not only will you save yourself a ton of time, you’ll also reduce the risk of human error in reporting and streamline the process for sharing information across departments.
Tip #6: Look for learning experiences
You can’t achieve perfection. However, you can learn from your mistakes and use them as jumping off points for doing better in the future. Be open to acknowledging the missteps that occur during a project. Afterwards, do an honest assessment of what went wrong and why. This will provide you with a lot of high-value insight that you might not have gleaned otherwise.
On the flip-side, pull lessons out of your wins too. Examine what you did right and consider how you might bring those strengths to future construction projects and build on them for an overall better experience.
Knocking it out of the park with construction management isn’t something that happens by accident. It takes a concerted effort, and a project manager who is fully committed to doing whatever needs to be done to make a build a success. The result of all that effort? A job that gets completed with more efficiency, dependability, and quality than it would otherwise, and a satisfied team that’s happy to go to work under the same manager again.
Don’t forget that Branco Enterprises offers construction management. The next time that you have a project where you need some extra support to meet your client’s requirements, we can help! Contact us to learn more.