While a construction project requires the expertise of multiple stakeholders, its success primarily depends on effective management. Every decision a construction project manager makes impacts output quality and the project’s overall costs. This also includes the safety of the workers and the construction company’s compliance with laws and regulations. So, project managers are expected to perfect their craft and explore innovative solutions to avoid making mistakes.
Unfortunately, mistakes are inevitable in any complex systems and operations, construction projects included. No matter how careful the construction site manager is, some snags will slip through the cracks and only reveal themselves during the inspection phase. And that’s why quality assurance and quality control are essential in the construction process. However, some project management mistakes in construction are to be avoided at all costs, as they could lead to immense financial losses for the contractor. This article covers common construction project pitfalls to avoid.
Settling for an inadequate plan
Poor planning can lead to scope creep, delays, and cost overruns. A construction project manager must be able to see far into the future and anticipate potential disruptions, plan and scope changes, and price fluctuations. They must also be able to engage stakeholders and encourage them to share inputs and ideas that can contribute to the laying out of the construction plan.
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail, and sadly, many successful construction companies today learned this the hard way. Thankfully, their experiences have laid the foundation for today’s construction project management best practices. Today’s construction project managers also leverage the latest digital tools, such as construction management software, to optimise their performance. This technology simplifies construction planning and enables stakeholders to pitch ideas more easily.
Not setting up an effective communication channel
Relaying instructions and information to teams and their members is a significant part of a construction project. Without an effective communication channel, some of these instructions and information can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, leading to poor performance and misuse of resources. Construction project managers must be able to communicate instructions to all teams precisely and intelligibly to avoid costly errors. One way to achieve this is by establishing a reliable communication channel.
Construction companies are now utilising construction project management software, such as PlanRadar. This tool allows everyone to access information relevant to the project, such as schedules, internal policies, and people to contact in case of emergencies in one place. Centralisation of data can help ensure all teams are on the same page and understand their assignment. It also gives everyone the freedom to make valuable suggestions to improve existing rules and programs further.
Lack of a comprehensive risk management system
Construction projects are inherently risky, and failing to identify and manage these risks can cause significant problems. For example, unforeseen events such as bad weather, unexpected site conditions, or supplier delays can cause project hold-ups if they are not anticipated and planned for. This can lead to unforeseen expenses or contingencies not budgeted for, which will be taken out from the contractor’s net profit.
A project manager must proactively identify potential risks and develop contingency plans to address them. They, along with the key players in the construction project, must establish a comprehensive risk management system to minimise, if not prevent, the impact of all potential risks to the project. Digital tools and methods such as BIM, risk assessment software, and robotics can help improve risk management in construction projects.
Failing to manage resources
Much of the construction budget goes to materials, labour, and equipment. With prices increasing up to 19 per cent yearly, construction companies must utilise their resources efficiently to minimise waste and avoid cost overruns. This can be achieved by developing a rock-solid resource management system that uses digital tools for better accuracy.
Project management software enables construction companies to analyse real-time data and develop accurate and realistic cost estimates. It can also allocate resources effectively and ensure that they are utilised efficiently. More importantly, it can facilitate collaboration between team members, contractors, and suppliers, preventing misuse of equipment and materials and going over the budget.
Ignoring change management
Construction projects are subject to change, and failing to manage changes can lead to significant delays and additional costs. It can be particularly challenging if the changes made to the project are not appropriately communicated to all parties involved. As a result, misunderstandings can occur, leading to conflicts and rework. The key is anticipating potential changes in the scope of work and factoring them into the plan and budget.
Therefore, it is crucial to establish a formal change management process and to communicate changes effectively to all project stakeholders, including the impact on the project timeline, budget, output quality, and resources. In addition, proper change management can help with damage control and ensure that the project stays on track and meets the expected outcomes.
Failing to document and keep reports
Documenting project progress, decisions, and issues is a standard project management practice. Not only does it instill trustworthiness by reinforcing consequences and follow-throughs, but it also helps project managers stay on top of every problem. Having access to all essential data helps them make informed decisions and prevent potential problems from occurring or worsening.
Providing a single place for storing and managing documents is one of the basic features of construction project management software. It’s also designed to automate data gathering and analytics as well as allow teams to link their mobile devices and smart wearables to transmit real-time data and reports. All reports can also be uploaded to this platform and become instantly available for review and analysis.
The success of a construction project manifests in the safety and comfort of the structure’s occupants. And with people’s safety as an essential consideration, contractors cannot afford to make mistakes. Therefore, they should develop and implement a project management system that allows them to identify stakeholders, manage resources, store documents in one place, and improve quality control and assurance.
With digital tools now integrated into construction management systems, the risk of making grave mistakes has significantly decreased. Project managers can have more valuable insights to use when making decisions and spot pitfalls from miles away.
Discover how PlanRadar can help you manage construction projects efficiently and avoid costly mistakes. Start your 30-day free PlanRadar trial or contact us.