Your Guide to Project Management for Your Next Project
Introduction to Construction Project Management
In a standalone view, project management is all about the objectives, tools, and techniques that help managers plan, execute, monitor, and end a project. With construction projects, there are different levels of constraints and objectives which require a different time frame of completion.
Construction project management can be described as directing and organizing each part of the project life cycle, from ideation to completion, considering the project constraints and needs.
Before we go further into the details of construction project planning and scheduling, we need to understand the stages of an average project management lifecycle.
Five Stages of Project Management
Here are the five stages of project management tailored for a construction project:
- Planning and Scheduling
1. Planning and Scheduling
Construction projects of larger scales need meticulous planning and scheduling from the get-go. Nowadays, various software construction project management services help project managers in efficient planning and development. Such software has an integrated work environment, which allows various stakeholders of the project to have all information available to them at all times. It also makes communication easy, so there is no delay in editing and confirmation.
Project managers use numerous scheduling techniques for construction projects, but most Irish firms use critical path methods. In this method, a detailed network diagram called critical path diagram takes into account each activity, its duration, predecessors, and lag. The critical path is the series of activities that are critical for the completion of the project, hence the name of the technique.
A design for any construction project is a guideline towards the goal. But since the construction industry on the commercial side in Ireland has grown into a highly technical field, a manager should expect some problems initially. These problems can arise in the form of missing information, poorly communicated information, inconsistencies between documentation, poor resource allocation, poor decision making due to inadequate information, etc.
It is why client engagement at this stage is extremely crucial. Generally, the design process is divided into sections, with each section awaiting the approval of the client and stakeholders before moving on and finalizing the newly implemented designs for the result. The clients usually measure the project design prototypes based on whether it satisfies their strategic objectives, that it will come out to be affordable, that value is being delivered, and that risks are acceptable at that stage.
With the rise of technology, there are various ways of designing a construction project, most notably via bim construction management. BIM is an abbreviation of Building Information Modeling. It is the development of virtual simulations for planning, design, 3D graphics, time models, and cost models as replacements for traditional 2D drawings or models.
Preconstruction is a mapping of the whole plan and design. It is a guideline for everyone involved in the project as to what they are supposed to do, what it would ultimately cost, and how they are supposed to assess the quality of their work done.
Preconstruction involves many important critical points, but some of them are listed as follows:
- Define and allocate resources.
- Set up mini-budgets.
- Create timelines and deadlines.
- Distribute tasks.
- Map out work and operations through work breakdown structures (WBS), organization breakdown structures (OBS), and other tools.
Procurement lies at the junction of a construction project lifecycle, between the planning and specifications and the actual, physical outcome of the project. Once the scope of the project is clear, and a blueprint for construction is ready and finalized thoroughly, the managers can do the definitive cost estimate to provide the baseline for cost control.
With that in place, further acquisition of supplies and services can be made from vendors during the procurement phase. Key factors that influence the construction procurement process include:
- Risks and opportunities
- Budget and financing
- Specific constraints on the project
To avoid any negative risks, managers use design and build, Private Finance Initiative (PFI), or even traditional contracts to ensure all parties are protected.
It is that stage of the project where managers have made their plans, everyone has a clear idea about what they are supposed to do, and all resources are available. Only now can the construction begin. No matter how careful the planning is, there will always be circumstances in which rapid decisions are taken.
It is at this stage that change management comes into play, and a project manager must adapt to the stretches of the project plan.
Construction project management needs to have teams properly aligned for getting the projects done successfully, and for this purpose, they need extensive planning and monitoring. Managers can also take help from modern software to make things easier, but any unforeseen event must be taken as an opportunity to adapt rather than adversity.