What’s New in Project Management in Construction?
Just as the construction industry is recovering from the pandemic’s aftermath, the increasing material costs, crushing deadlines, and labor shortages have started posing new challenges.
According to ENR’s research, 100 construction management firms were at risk last year as they struggled to keep the project moving and stick to schedule without compromising the quality of deliverables.
The situation demands that the industry change its outlook and modernize its project management approach. A consensus is emerging that it must invest in modern project management and construction management tools. It will help reduce paper-based manual processes, maintain real-time communication with other stakeholders, track schedules and expenses, and improve productivity and cost efficiency.
Let’s look at a few project management trends that will help you streamline operations and accelerate project completion.
Trends In Project Management
1. Resource Planning Tool
Labor is the fulcrum of the construction industry. However, over the last few months, most contractors have struggled to find skilled labor for their projects. According to ABC, the construction workforce shortage has now surpassed the half-a-million mark. Another problem is most contractors still use legacy systems like spreadsheets to plan resource allocation. That can be detrimental to the project because resource planning in the construction industry is dynamic. Eventually, contractors are stuck with bad hires and have little visibility on workforce data, which puts them in a reactive mode and impacts the project.
Contractors must use advanced resource planning tools that provide real-time insights into the people and projects. The tool should accommodate real-time adjustments to provide contractors with accurate information about the available resources and plan allocation effectively. It should also help them identify the skills gap and pursue hiring or training to fill it.
2. Advanced Project Management Tools
Typically every new home built in the US requires an average of 24 different subcontractors – from electricians to carpenters and roofers. That number could go up to more than 100 for large and complex construction projects.
Managing and coordinating with contractors and sub-contractors can be quite a herculean task. Communication gaps, lack of consensus, and conflicts can delay the projects and lead to overspending. The only way to progress is to ensure that all the contractors and sub-contractors share a common goal and are clear about the timelines and expectations.
The new project management tools can help overcome these challenges. They can provide a centralized platform for contractors and sub-contractors to communicate, track progress, and identify issues before they escalate. Centralization also helps contractors assess real-time project information and improve the overall project delivery. By storing all the information in one place, contractors get access to a single source, which they can use to monitor the subcontractor’s work and ensure that their invoices are paid on time.
Solutions like CEM’s Timekeeping and Construction Payroll help construction companies address a range of financial aspects including track contractor invoices, settle them, manage worker inputs and activities, and maintain books and records efficiently.
3. Location-Based Scheduling
Location-based scheduling considers factors like the construction location, traffic, material availability, etc., to create a schedule and ensure the project is delivered on time. Apart from planning the schedule, location-based scheduling is beneficial in laying out the blueprint of the physical site.
Contractors can also use it to visualize the project in real-time, identify potential issues, and adjust the sequence of construction activities to smoothen the construction process. It gives contractors the control to improve project outcomes and reduce construction costs.
4. Mobile-Based Tracking
According to the AEC Inspire report, 31% of contractors have limited visibility into the project status. Contractors often struggle to forecast the project’s progress because of the limited visibility. They also may not always be able to assign and track tasks from construction sites. This can be resolved if contractors get real-time insights into the project’s status and schedule and have complete visibility of all the aspects of the project.
Mobile applications can help contractors monitor progress and project details in real-time from anywhere on the go. For instance, CEM’s Construction Management Software is available in web and mobile app versions. It provides contractors with much-needed flexibility to schedule tasks, track checklists, and generate daily reports anytime with a single tap on the mobile app.
5. Collaboration and Communication Tools
Continuous communication is essential to reduce miscommunication, improve engagement and productivity, and create a sense of trust among all team members. Most confusion, budget overruns, and project delays occur when communication gaps and silos exist between different teams. In 2022, NMHC, in its Quarterly Survey outlined that 84% of respondents faced construction delays.
Collaboration and communication tools can solve this issue. Contractors can use them to discuss the project scope, schedules, and timelines with other departments. Through these tools, they can also share real-time status updates to keep everybody in the loop about the project’s progress.
As the construction industry opens up again, contractors must make the most of this opportunity to replace their legacy systems and processes with modern ones.
At CEM, we have built a suite of construction management software solutions to help contractors manage budgets, forecasts, revenue and billing, and resources. Our cloud-based offering can bring much-needed agility to the project. Apart from that, it can help in:
- Managing all aspects of heavy equipment and their information like rental rates, location of the equipment, etc.
- Maintaining a single repository of all signed documents, scope, and change orders
- Providing tools and safety checklists to keep the workforce safe and comply with OSHA guidelines
- Centralizing all the data and leveraging business intelligence to gain better insights and make informed decisions
To know more about how the solution can help you streamline your business, book a demo.