What is Construction Management?
As the owner, manager, or foreman of a construction company, it’s important to know what construction management is and how it pertains to your business operations. That way, you can use the process to your advantage and add to your current success as a company.
The role of construction managers is to control the work that is being done on a jobsite in order to ensure that the finished product is quality, stays within budget, and is done within the timeframe given to complete the project. It’s a rather complicated process that requires flexibility, excellent communication skills, and demonstrated leadership qualities out of the managers who oversee the work from start to finish. Adjustments are made along the way to account for time and budgetary constraints. The end goal is to complete projects before the deadline, under budget, and to the complete satisfaction of the client who values quality work.
The Demanding Role of Construction Managers
Among the many responsibilities displayed by construction managers, having a working knowledge of costs is just one. Being able to stick to a budget by making adjustments in labor, products acquired, and waste control is another. For managers to plan projects so that they’re completed on time and maintain quality control even when they’re away from the jobsite is a task in itself. Not to mention the fact they have to ensure the safety of their workers, and handle any contracts that are written, agreed to, and signed.
So what is construction management? Simply put, it’s everything the construction manager does to keep the job running smoothly. It’s managing time, property, workers, and equipment to ensure the safe delivery of a finished product in the form of a new building or structure. Depending on the type of job that is being completed, commercial, residential, institutional, agricultural, industrial, and heavy civil, safety rules and regulations must be followed to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.
Risk management is a large part of what construction management entails. When a construction manager oversees a project they must also assess the liability it poses. They must understand insurance policies to make sure that their workers are properly covered in the event of an emergency. Far too often, construction companies are underinsured without even being aware that they are.
Things That Keep a Construction Manager from Doing Their Job Well
Thanks to the many tasks that construction managers are responsible for, it’s very easy to get caught up in the minutiae of everyday busywork. Without having a strict plan in place, it’s possible for owners, managers, and foremen to lose track of time with all the things that need to be done to complete a job. Even with a dedicated team of committed workers, there are obstacles that get in the way of a construction manager and prevent them from doing their job well.
Among the most prevalent is keeping track of every employee’s time for payroll and auditing purposes. Old-fashioned timekeeping methods no longer serve workers in the field unless they are mobile-friendly. Even then, up until recently, many companies were forced to use an honor system where employees accounted for their own time by logging hours onto a timecard or on a sign-in sheet where there were no measures in place to prevent human error in calculations or to discourage dishonesty.
Inefficient use of time and labor can lead to greater costs or risk future work with clients due to delayed jobs. It could cost a construction company its reputation which forces it to make hard decisions by not taking on as many laborers or to pay less than it did on similar types of jobs. Keeping in mind that the future of the business relies on the construction manager’s ability to make good use of the time that their employees spend on the clock is imperative to the company’s sustainability.
How to Optimize Your Team When You Aren’t on the Jobsite
As an owner, manager, or foreman, your job is to oversee your team even you’re not present on the jobsite. There are convenient mobile applications in the market that serve as a second pair of eyes for you by streamlining your workers timesheets while they work at locations away from you.
Employees clock in and out using the mobile app from the job site that they are working from. An instant report is generated using real-time data to create a timesheet and satisfy the role of accurate timekeeping. It eliminates the likelihood of human error and discourages the act of “buddy punching,” which is when employees help out a coworker by clocking in and out for them.
The Stages of Construction Management
What are the stages of optimizing construction management? They are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. To better understand each, let’s take a look at them more closely.
Before any work is done, every aspect of a job is considered by the construction manager who creates a case that is reviewed to determine its feasibility. Once everyone involved has reached a consensus and the job has been approved, the manager then creates a document known as a PID or Project Initiation Document.
This is where things really count. If you’re wondering what construction management is, you’ll find out when you’re tasked with the responsibility of putting together a project management plan. This document serves as a sort of blueprint that accounts for costs and time management which assists in proceeding with the job further.
Construction begins at this stage. It’s when you see the plan being put into place. Materials are purchased, laborers hired, and building stages executed. The project is controlled by the construction manager and monitored by them, too. Foremen are appointed to oversee different phases of the construction process as well as to supervise teams of workers.
Construction Managers continue to monitor the project to make sure that everything goes according to plan. They take the steps necessary to ensure that any changes that needed to be considered are being implemented. They also do their part to eliminate any last-minute costs.
When the entire project is complete and there are deliverables available to produce for the client, a job is considered closed. That means that the construction manager can then review the process, identify where problem areas took place, and account for them in future projects. Before underbidding on a job, they’ll carefully consider all the challenges they were faced with during the previous job.
Now that you’re aware of the stages, you’ll learn some ways to make construction management run more smoothly no matter what challenges you’re up against.
Tips for Making Construction Management a Smoother Process Overall
When quality work is being done on a consistent basis, word spreads quickly. Clients hear about it and opt to work with your construction company versus another who has also put a bid in on a project.
As the construction manager, these are the things you can do to make things run smoother on a daily basis:
Automate as many processes as possible. Using an employee time tracking app, like ClockInEasy, to account for employee hours worked and payroll dollars spent. There is a face recognizing option with the app to ensure that it’s the employee who is clocking in and out and not someone else. There are also geofences set up around job sites so that workers have an easier time clocking in and out because it recognizes the location once the individual arrives thanks to GPS coordinates. Owners, managers, and foremen can access timesheets for each employee come payroll time and export it to their payroll provider with ease.
Be communicative with your team even if you’re not on the jobsite. Make sure that you have ways to contact your workers and foremen at all times. Clearly define goals and ask for deliverables by certain timeframes. This keeps everyone on top of their role and holds them responsible for expressing needs and talking about issues that may have come up during the day that require solutions.
Keep a checklist of tasks that need to be taken care of regularly. You’re not forced to rely on memory alone. By having a hard copy checklist that you’re able to review regularly, you can keep track of everything that needs to be done with greater ease. By going through the list, you’re able to keep tasks fresh in your mind. You won’t overlook something because you were busy doing something else. Give the checklist to the other construction managers on the jobsite so they, too, can stay on top of things the way that you do.
What is Construction Management in Summary?
Now that you know what construction management is and the role construction managers fulfill, you’ll be able to allocate resources accordingly. If your employees work away from you at various jobsites, you’ll have systems in place that help maximize efficiency and optimize the time spent on the clock. You’re able to come in under budget on most of the jobs you complete, and you’ll have a much easier time accounting for the hours spent on labor for future projects so you can bid accordingly. The end result is a better reputation for the company and more work in the future for you and your employees.