Globally, we are seeing increased investment in construction projects. But despite billions of dollars being pumped into construction projects, there have been massive delays in the completion of these megaprojects. In fact, according to a 2020 report by McKinsey, the construction sector accounts for 13% of the global GDP – but has seen a meager 1% growth in productivity over the last couple of decades.
In this domain, project managers are responsible for completing their projects on time and within budget. Notably, in the aftermath of the 2020 global pandemic, construction companies have stepped up their adoption of project management tools and digital technology.
To that end, here are 6 best practices that businesses must adhere to for success with construction project management:
1. Define the Project Scope
Efficient project management is everything about ensuring that all teams have the necessary resources to implement a successful construction project. This requires them to completely understand the scope of the project — for instance, the project timeline, milestones, and allocated budget.
As a best practice, project managers must document their project scope as the “baseline” for managing construction projects. Avoid tendencies like “scope creep” that demand continuous (or out of control) escalations in the scope. Additionally, ensure that every project has a sufficient budget to cover its expenses or any unforeseen setbacks.
2. Manage the Expectations of the Project Stakeholders
Every construction project involves a few stakeholders, including architects, builders, contractors, and customers. Construction projects fail when construction companies fail to meet the expectations of all their stakeholders. This can happen as stakeholders have varying expectations, particularly from large-scale projects.
Among the best practices, project managers must learn to listen to and understand their stakeholders – and why they are interested in the project. Many of them have good suggestions, thanks to their years of experience and expertise in the industry. By meeting their expectations, project management teams can set up their construction project for success.
3. Communicate Effectively with Project Teams
Effective communication is critical to the success of any construction project. Clear and effective communication can prevent any escalation of project-related costs and delays in construction milestones. Continuous communication can also reduce mistrust among project stakeholders and improve their engagement and productivity.
Project managers must have access to a robust digital communication and collaboration platform to discuss their project scope, resolve queries, and set deadlines with various project teams. Such a communication tool is also efficient for sharing real-time updates about the project’s progress.
4. Leverage Digital Technologies
A comprehensive project management software is essential for providing valuable information regarding required personnel, skills, and costs from completed construction projects. Similarly, construction logs and attendance tools can automatically capture work logs and timesheets for improved on-site project management.
Of course, the technological domain keeps on evolving, with new innovations and developments transpiring every now and then. Hence, it’s important for the project management teams to stay on top of technology trends to find solutions to business challenges in this sector.
5. Anticipate the Unexpected
According to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, 9 out of 10 construction firms have experienced project delays. 75% of these firms cite material shortage, while 57% say delivery delays are the leading reasons.
Despite the best planning, construction projects can still run into problems. Effective project management is also about anticipating setbacks or unforeseen conditions. As an effective practice, take care of smaller setbacks early before they escalate into bigger problems. Project management teams can learn from information from past construction projects that ran into delays or other setbacks.
6. Process Invoices on Time
Construction projects can also face delays when contractors and construction workers do not receive their payments on time. In 2022, delayed payments cost the construction industry to the tune of $208 billion. This represented a 53% increase from $136 billion in 2021. According to the same survey, nearly 50% of contractors & subcontractors had to wait for 30 days (or more) for their payments.
Construction companies continue to rely on manual tools like MS Excel and QuickBooks to process their vendor invoices. Automated HR & Payroll software can help them streamline their invoice payments to reduce project delays.
In a Nutshell
In an increasingly complex construction domain, companies need to connect every aspect of their project to avoid any delays or budget escalation. They must follow the aforementioned best practices to realize success. Most importantly, they must leverage integrated project management solutions to ensure their projects are executed and completed successfully.
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