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5 pieces of advice for the modern site manager

Being a Site Manager can be very demanding. Today, being an effective one requires more than just his knowledge of the craft. It has shifted to a more tech-savvy role, to carry out more efficient workflows. Besides having to know all the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, he should be able to cut costs without compromising quality. In addition to that, he has to know all the workflows by heart to avoid misunderstandings and scheduling problems. Here are 5 pieces of advice to help you become more of an effective leader.

  • The traditional vs. the modern site manager role – Using a management tool
  • Set the right expectations and communicate them
  • Plan ahead and expect the unexpected
  • Don’t hesitate to adjust course when things go wrong
  • Construction Management Is Changing – Don’t get left behind by using PlanRadar.


Sitemanager and Constructionworker monitoring the building lot

The traditional VS the modern site manager role – Using a management tool

When we hear the term site manager, also often referred to as construction manager, we picture a strong authoritarian and process driven figure. Someone who progressed from the shop floors and thinks operationally. Nowadays we see a different breed of site managers. The role now evolved to people having very strong leadership skills despite being less authoritarian. They are very aware of their accountability and focus more on building teams. Traditionally, the site manager had to know everything about the construction that was being built, to ensure it will be up to code and run effectively after its completion. The role has transformed into a “mini business management” role, where you have to be able to collect all kinds of data to capture the current state and present predictions to senior management. Experience in working with people becomes as essential as knowing the right software tools and services to stay on top of all project related processes. Site safety and project quality are highly influenceable with a good working group and the right management tools. Take your career to the next level and perform your job done smoothly with PlanRadar!

To help keep a project on track and know where it stands, it is absolutely essential to use the right management tool. It is not only important to make sure that the project is on course to be completed by the deadline, but also to identify opportunities for additional efficiency. Cloud-based web applications like PlanRadar provide instant updates to your documentation. It does this from any location as long as you are connected to the internet. This provides all involved parties with accurate information about the project and therefore enhances efficiency. The many downsides from traditional methods of not having a central data system are more than apparent to the modern site manager. In the past, the inconsistent sharing of information and reports lead to delays and project members not having a common understanding of the project’s state at any given time. That is why nowadays the right software has to have the following features:

  • Storage on a cloud-based platform, for instant access to a gapless documentation
  • Intuitive handling, without the need of any training courses
  • Operable from anywhere, especially while on site
  • The ability to communicate instantly and share information from anywhere
  • Record defects and/or tasks directly on site with location tagging
  • The ability to prioritize tasks or defects and instantly assign them to project members in your contact list
  • Generate personalized reports and analyze your work productivity.

 

There is a greater need now for site managers to cut costs and ensure operations are lean. All the features mentioned above come in benefit to that. Especially, because site managers must now be able to demonstrate the project status on a current basis and are often required to make forecasts to demonstrate to corporate. Experience in working with web-based services will lead their career in the building industry and make them competent group leaders on the job site.

Site managing is also people managing – Be a motivator and a leader

study conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that ineffective communication had a negative impact on successful project execution:

US$135 million is at risk for every US$1 billion spent on a project. Further research on the importance of effective communications uncovers that a startling 56 percent (US$75 million of that US$135 million) is at risk due to ineffective communications.

One of the big mistakes managers from all industries make is forgetting that project management is also people management. Often the focus lies solely on quality, cost and time. Of course, these are the main points to keep an eye on to prevent overspending, delays and bad quality. But successful people know to think more long-term. By this we mean not forgetting about the people who are actually doing the work on the job site. The modern site manager should know how to properly manage team members, so they avoid having to micromanage them all the time. Make sure that everyone understands how and why their role is important to site safety and the success of the project. You already won a huge battle if you can make sure that everyone shares the same vision for the project.

As the manager on site, one of your roles is to set a positive example for the whole company with your work. Team members will notice how you act and are likely follow your lead. So instead of sitting with your feet up on your desk all day, stay involved with the central tasks during construction to make your career skyrocket. People seem to have greater respect for leaders who show great work ethic. But don’t make the mistake of trying to be involved in every little aspect of all your team’s tasks. Because fact is that you cannot be everywhere at once. This is why you should learn how to delegate efficiently. That is one of the main features of PlanRadar that makes it so popular. It allows you to assign any tasks or defect to a specific team member not only instantly, but from wherever you may be. The notification will have all the information that the recipient will need to know. The priority you assigned it, the location, your notes, pictures, etc.  Everything he needs to know so that he or she can take immediate action.

One should watch out to set the right expectations! Especially when you are in meetings. Be sure to establish a communication culture that promotes an open and honest discussion about the expectations of each party. Set communication processes within the project and meeting frequency. Make sure you are comfortable with how and when you will be updated, what the expectations are of you throughout the project, and then hold everyone accountable to their commitments, including yourself. Establish budget, quality, and timeline beforehand with the owners etc. so that there are no misunderstandings when you communicate this to the project team. Working with a large group of people will require more than just your experience in the building industry. The services you offer and are able to include into building processes, which make team work and jobs easier, are connected to good communication.

Plan ahead and always expect the unexpected

On a construction site in the building sector there is always a lot to do, but not enough time. That is why you should realize the need to plan out the whole month. Whether it is unexpected runs of bad weather or encountering unplanned site conditions, most construction projects face situations that cause delays that are simply unpredictable. Keep these in mind when setting your timelines and expectations. The better you plan ahead, the better you can compensate for unforeseen events. It also saves you a lot of hassle if you can get the architect and owner to agree early in the project on as many details as possible. This way you spare yourself of having to change orders or procedures while construction is going, which could quickly lead to delays and surprise costs.

Also, search for past projects and their mistakes. Because it is always helpful identifying as many obstacles as possible and potential problems beforehand. Think of possible scenarios and potential outcomes of a building process and prepare yourself as good as you can. Because of the more complicated the build, the more potential there is for problems to arise.

And often enough a problem will lead you to have to resort to lawyers and/or a third-party. A good manager is always prepared for this situation. That is why you should attach value to having a gapless documentation when managing construction projects. Cloud-based platforms like PlanRadar found the perfect solution to this. With their free 30-day trial you can see for yourself how effortlessly it integrates into your workflows.

Adjust course when things go wrong – Prioritize tasks

Traditional construction practices can be costly and inefficient. In a 2015 study by McKinsey about construction productivity, it was reported…“[…] that 98% of megaprojects suffer cost overruns of more than 30 percent; 77 percent are at least 40 percent late.“

Chart about cost overruns and delays in construction projects

Source: McKinsey.com

This unmistakably shows us that you should always expect for your project to get hit with something that may be out of your control. As a site manager, you need to be able to adapt to problems as quickly as possible and adjust the project course accordingly. We recommend that you invest in technology that creates a continuous workflow while embracing transparency and real-time collaboration. Because a transparent environment makes it easier to resolve issues faster. Combine this with a preparedness for unseen events and it will enable you to anticipate the changes and allow you to adapt and adjust accordingly. This perfectly displays the huge role technology plays when it comes to improving construction productivity and why it should be integrated into the industry practice.

So as soon as you see that something went wrong, you should immediately feel the urge to get an overview of all tasks. Search for the flashpoint. This is where PlanRadar steps in with one of its many features. Because unforeseen problems always have an effect on current tasks. The application provides you with an immediate overview of all tasks and lets you change your priorities. Your project members will be notified and can react accordingly.

Construction Management Is Changing, Don’t Get Left Behind

Sitemanager checking on a digital blueprint

The slow transition to a digital practice has the construction industry underperforming in terms of quality and productivity for some time now. As the industry is growing fast on a global scale, it is surprising that many outdated methods and processes are still being practiced. There are still many tasks performed in the traditional way although they are more time-consuming. For example, the defect-management process that still involves taking notes on site, on a sheet of paper and preparing them in the office just so it can be forwarded per E-mail.

Take a step back and evaluate your current construction management workflows. Like all managers, you find something that you can improve on without a long search. Just like the construction industry itself, site management is evolving. So, don’t be the last one learning how to adapt your skills. Take the right steps to meet the current needs of the market right now. Because being a better site manager will not only benefit your team and your own job security, but it helps to ensure your projects run effectively and smoothly. Don’t limit yourself by just being able to handle the day to day basics of your job, but always try to see the bigger picture. This will make you more adept to handle even the most difficult projects.

So, as you take over running a construction crew, use these five tips to help build your reputation and become the modern site manager. And who knows? With the right software, you might manage the site of our generation’s next world wonder!

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