6 Key Functions of Construction Management and How to Handle Them

By: on June 27, 2020

The secret behind successful construction firms is effective construction management. To make this happen, businesses need to ensure they’re following the best practices for managing the core functions of construction management.

For instance, a construction firm that pays due attention to the safety management function will see cascading benefits. Owing to safe working conditions, employee productivity will rise, which will then lead to timely completion of projects. Additionally, the firm will avoid worker injury and fatality costs, which can be $1,150,000 per fatality, and potential fines from regulatory bodies for safety negligence.

We have created this guide that lists the best practices and technological solutions for effectively handling the six construction management functions.

Function #1: Project management

Construction project management involves creating a project plan and facilitating its effective implementation. For a business, this means using the right project management methodologies and technological solutions to plan project costs and track team performance.

How to do it right

Secure project bids: Managing the bidding process is a key part of pre-construction project management. This includes laying down well-planned bid management processes and using tools like takeoff solutions and cost estimation software to come up with winning bid proposals.

Use the right construction methodology: Figure out whether you’re using the right methodology. For instance, if you’re facing high rework rates or handling multiple projects concurrently, going lean might be a suitable option. Likewise, agile methodologies can prove helpful in analyzing risks and bottlenecks by breaking down complex projects.

Create and execute an effective construction management plan: Effective construction planning involves clearly defining the project scope, goals, and budget. You should ensure that all teams are informed about a project’s goals and the expectations from them. On this front, construction management tools can come handy in setting team goals and tracking team performance and project status.

Function #2: Cost management

Cost management is the planning, monitoring, and reporting of costs throughout a project’s lifecycle. For businesses, this means having the right processes and tools that not only help in setting the budget at initial stages but also in tracking costs over time to prevent overruns.

How to do it right

Create accurate estimates: To create an accurate project cost estimate, you need up-to-date data such as the latest prices of labor and materials. For this, you can use cost estimating solutions that integrate with cost databases, such as RS Means, instead of relying on error-prone manual methods.

Plan, monitor, and control the budget: Planning an effective budget requires analyzing the triple project constraints—scope, schedule, and costs. The scope should include reviewing the design for any issues that can cause project delays. Likewise, you should watch out for scheduling loopholes and constantly monitor additional expenses, such as change-order surprises, that can wreck the budget.

Function #3: Time management

Time management is the process of planning and scheduling tasks and activities to meet deadlines and ensure profitability. For businesses, this means managing employees (delegating tasks, training, and holding meetings), managing projects (resource allocation), and finally managing priorities (risk management).

How to do it right

Plan project schedule effectively: Once you have the information about what tasks are to be done and who will do them, you can create a schedule using your preferred scheduling technique, such as the critical path method (CPM). To create effective schedules, use data visualization tools such as construction scheduling software or Gantt chart solutions that help in understanding task interdependencies.

Have a risk management plan: You need to identify and assess all kinds of risks and plan for calculated solutions. What is critical in risk management is the documentation and communication of identified risks. A construction software system with built-in document management functionality or a dedicated document management tool for centralized storing and sharing of documents can help in this aspect.

Function #4: Quality management

Quality management is the process of ensuring that a project commences as per certain quality metrics and completes as per the client’s satisfaction. For businesses, this means establishing quality assurance and control processes.

How to do it right

Define quality standards and draft an assurance plan: The first step is to perform the necessary research on the quality requirements of a project, which can include industry standards defined by organizations such as ASTM and ANSI. Once you know the requirements, you need to document them in your company’s quality standards program and draft a quality assurance plan to inform and assure clients of all the steps you will take to enforce quality standards.

Implement quality control procedures: With the quality standards identified, you need to implement them by training employees and clearly defining their roles and responsibilities to establish accountability. You can track the adherence to quality standards by conducting a surprise examination of material quality, checking status reports of change orders, and performing periodic revisions of supervision methods.

Function #5: Contract administration

Construction contract administration is the process by which a company fulfills legal terms and conditions with different stakeholders such as clients, architects, subcontractors, and suppliers. For businesses, this means creating the role of a contract administrator (CA) who will bear the responsibility for handling the legalese and managing contracts.

How to do it right

Devise a communication plan: The CA facilitates communication between the business and the client. To that end, the CA must create a communication plan for gathering information from different personnel involved in a project. The plan should lay down who to communicate with (identify team members with whom certain information can be shared officially) and how to communicate (establish proper communication channels, such as email, internal messaging platforms, or collaboration tools).

Manage contractual documents: There are various contractual agreements required in construction projects, such as the general condition contract, time and material contracts, contract bids, and subcontractor agreements. All of these contracts must be well documented, including any changes as the project progresses. To manage the documentation effectively, CAs should use contract management software designed for construction firms. These tools come with features such as contract templates, file sharing, version history, and e-signatures that can make managing contracts easier and faster.

Function #6: Safety management

Safety management is the collection of procedures to ensure construction site safety and worker wellbeing. For businesses, this means identifying potential hazards in construction sites, educating employees on safety best practices, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations from government authorities, such as OSHA.

How to do it right

Identify safety hazards and improve awareness: Construction managers should be apprised about the different construction hazards such as falls, struck-by, caught-in or between, and electrocution. They should then create a positive construction safety culture by offering safety training to employees, defining safety protocols, and regularly inspecting job sites for adherence to safety procedures.

Use technology to mitigate risks: Technology, including hardware and software, can play a critical role in improving job site safety. For instance, field staff can use mobile phones to share photos of unsafe construction site conditions. Likewise, building information modeling (BIM) tools can be used to simulate 3D models of facilities to identify potential hazards before even construction begins. Additionally, newer technologies, such as wearables and drones, can be useful in predicting worker injuries and surveying unsafe job sites.

Conclusion

Construction firms that manage these six functions effectively will realize success. Here’s a quick recap of the functions:

Function
How to do it right
Project management
  • Create a well-planned bid management process
  • Examine your construction methodology
  • Use software to execute your construction management plan
Cost management
  • Plan budget by analyzing project scope and constantly monitoring expenses
  • Use cost estimating tools that integrate with cost data books to create accurate estimates
Time management
  • Use tools like Gantt chart to create project schedules
  • Manage priorities by creating a risk management plan
Quality management
  • Draft a quality standards program for your organization
  • Ensure adherence to the program by using quality control measure
Contract administration
  • Create a contract administrator role, who will manage the company’s contracts and devise a communication plan
  • Use contract management software to facilitate the contract administration process
Safety management
  • Identify safety hazards on construction sites and improve awareness among employees
  • Uses tools like BIM, drones, and wearable to improve job site safety

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