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Dec 6, 2012 by Patrick Icasas in PM Best Practices & News

Guest Post: How to Manage a Construction Project

How to manage a construction project

A project manager is essential to every construction project, big or small. Building inevitably involves many aspects, from material to subcontractors to final inspections, and without someone to hold the pieces together, a lot can go wrong. The three most important functions of a project manager are coordination, communication, and orchestration. PMs create the big picture plan, keep it on schedule, and see it through to completion.

Planning Is Vital

Though every construction project is unique and demands a unique execution, the job of a project manager nonetheless requires several key steps in every circumstance. The first phase of the job is always a consultation with local inspectors. Before starting any job, it is essential to get the plans approved, to ensure you aren’t throwing money away on a project doomed by building codes from the outset. Next, PMs need to meet with and get bids from the various subcontractors required for each stage of the work. At this point, it is important to review the blueprints and discuss the construction logistics with your builders.

Set A Budget

Budgeting for time and expense is the next step; and it requires the most attention of any aspect of the job. Of course, when it comes to construction, schedules need to be flexible. Bad weather and a host of other issues will inevitably cause setbacks throughout the project so plan for them and any extra costs. Project managers need to keep their finger on the pulse of the job at all times, making revisions to the plan as necessary, and ensuring the next stage of the construction is ready to begin as soon as the first is completed. The more seamless the transitions between building crews, the more cost and time-efficient the job will ultimately be.

Keep Everyone In The Loop- Communication

It is also the PM’s job to ensure that in-process inspections are scheduled and carried out as required by local building codes. Failure to do so can spell disaster for an otherwise perfectly executed build. Finally, at the end of the job, it is essential for the manager to obtain lien releases from all subcontractors involved in the effort, as insurance against potential mechanic’s liens.

The most successful and professional project managers are there, on the job, during every stage of the work. It is a role that requires vigilance and up-to-date knowledge of all aspects of the undertaking. PMs need to keep communication channels open between workers, identify and manage risks as they arise, and recognize areas where incorrect and damaging assumptions are being made.

But perhaps most importantly, project managers must assume ultimate accountability. This means being organized and absolutely thorough with documentation every step of the way. Not only does the physical infrastructure need to be built soundly, it also needs to stand on a foundation of traceable, verifiable, and accurate documentation. Project managers are the bridge between the plans and their execution: they must coordinate the construction, and then support it with proof the job was done right. This job can be quite stressful and demanding but the end result is the best result if project managed well.

Many thanks to the Telegraph Jobs team for their contribution to this article. If you are looking for Construction Vacancies check out the latest jobs available!

patrick-icasas
Patrick Icasas

Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.

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