Whether you are a construction manager or a general contractor, you are responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of a construction process. A construction manager has an added benefit of being involved in the construction process during the ‘pre-construction’ phase that allows the design team to make more informed decisions. So if there are any changes or modifications required, that can be done at the beginning itself. As general contractors, however, you are typically brought onboard during the construction process and you may require architects and engineers to go back to their drawing boards every now and then, which can result in reworks and delays.
Nevertheless, as both CM’s and GC’s see the entire project through until the end, here are some qualities that you should have and that can help you absolutely nail your next project.
BE IN THE FRONTLINE OF EVERYTHING
You are the glue that holds everything together, and as you have re-imagined the owners/developers ‘big-picture,’ it is safe to say that you are the most informed person of the project. As there are so many players involved in the construction process, instructions are bound to be misinterpreted or lost in translation when dealing with multiple contractors, engineers, consultants, etc. You need to make sure you involve yourself in every aspect from the beginning just to make sure all participants are on the same page to assure a homogeneous approach from all.
KEEPING AN EAGLE’S EYE ON THE DATA
When managing a construction project, naturally you deal with heaps and heaps of data, from prices, materials, manpower, timelines, etc., there are loads of data you are required to deal with during the entire lifecycle of a project. While some of these numbers have more priority than others, you, as a construction manager need to keep a close eye monitoring all that data, to make sure your project is on schedule, and on budget.
MAXIMIZING THE USAGE OF SOFTWARE
The evolution of technology, especially in the construction industry has placed CM’s and GC’s like you in a better position as compared to your predecessors. Investing and implementing a project management tool from the beginning, and urging all participants to make use of it, will go a long way and will streamline your processes making management much smoother. Software like Trimble Connect, breaks down communication barriers and allows everyone involved in a project to collaborate with each other. Another top project management tool is PROLOG that helps you in things like field management, collaboration, cost control and purchasing, right down to the tiniest detail!
PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAILS
As you multi-task and manage multiple things at the same time, you might get tempted to settle for the first solution that comes your way. For example, you might settle for the first sub-contractor claiming they can handle a task for you or buy the best building materials for you. Remember they may overvalue their services just to get the contract but turn out to fall short of their promises.
This may take a little more of your time, but weigh all your options before fixating on one contractor. Make comparisons of multiple contractors, a background check perhaps of their previous work, multiple price quotations for materials, all these things may seem tedious, but if you are using a software that can do this for you will save you a lot of time as well as headaches for the future.
GIVE A THOUGHT TO AN UNCONVENTIONAL APPROACH
Evolution of technology doesn’t just apply to management software, more complex tasks are now much easier to accomplish then they were a couple of decades ago. For example, now, instead of going the traditional way of building a structure, why not consider prefabricated or modular structures?
There is no argument that this solution is not for every construction project, but if your project involves fairly simple structures or multiple units of the same design of structures, going with a prefab approach can cut the delivery time of your project by a third and require less labor to get the job done. Lesser labor means lesser costs as well as management time.
LEARN FROM TRIAL AND ERRORS
Even though the discussed points can help you manage your construction project a little better, we don’t expect your project to be completely error-free – it’s how you do the damage control that matters! We all learn through trial and error. Over the course of your career as a construction manager, you’ve likely ended up saving you money in a way you never expected. Let us know about that experience, or share your other cost savings tips in the comments below.