7 Critical Construction Project Manager Duties

By: on June 24, 2020

Being a construction project manager is challenging. You have to be good at strategizing, such as performing site analyses or planning resource allocations, and adept in managing the nitty-gritty of project execution, such as preparing cost estimates, supervising the work of on-site crew, and managing subcontractors.

Not having the right tools can make the job tougher. You can end up with overrun budgets, unexpected equipment downtime, and more.

To avoid such scenarios, construction project managers should use a combination of the right strategies and technologies to perform their duties.

7 critical duties of construction project managers

In this report, we look at the seven critical duties of construction project managers and the tools and strategies they can use to become more productive and efficient at their jobs.

1. Managing construction bids

The bidding process is perhaps the most crucial of all the duties of a construction project manager. After all, a bid won can mean a huge boost to the business revenue.

However, many things can go wrong when crafting a construction bid, such as math errors in the cost estimates, inadequate analysis of the job site that later blows up the project budget, or a hastily crafted bid proposal.

How to perform the duty effectively:

  • Strategic option: Build a dedicated team to manage bids and drive them to strategically craft bid proposals based on detailed research of clients and their requirements. Send the proposals out early to clients to stay ahead of your competitors.
  • Tech option: Purchase a construction estimating solution that automates the calculation of labor and materials cost via built-in integrations with trade-specific cost databases.

2. Creating construction schedules

Project delays can lead to significant losses for a construction firm. To avoid such instances is one of the reasons why construction project managers are hired.

However, issues may crop up even if a skilled construction project manager plans the schedule. For instance, after creating an organized work breakdown structure (WBS), the implementation of the schedule might fail if there’s a communication breakdown between different teams.

How to perform the duty effectively:

  • Strategic option: Organize your construction scheduling process by employing construction scheduling techniques, such as creating detailed work breakdowns, setting achievable deadlines using Gantt charts, and accommodating unforeseeable events with floats.
  • Tech option: Invest in a construction scheduling tool that comes with built-in templates, automatically sends out alerts for changes to the schedule, and offers shared dashboards for keeping all stakeholders on the same page.

3. Planning and monitoring project budget

Capable construction project managers plan detailed project budgets by looking at past job cost reports and double-checking for mistakes that can blow up the budget.

Additionally, they constantly track project finances (e.g., general ledger and accounts receivable/payable), while making quick adjustments to accommodate project risks (change orders, cost escalation by subcontractors) that can cause budget overruns.

How to perform the duty effectively:

  • Strategic option:Avoid budgeting mistakes by analyzing the risks that can blow up the scope of a project. This includes checking for flaws with the project design and cost estimates to catch any bottlenecks.
  • Tech option: While generic accounting tools are fine for a construction business starting out, a growing construction business will need construction accounting solutions that come with dedicated functionalities, such as payroll processing, equipment cost tracking, and subcontracting, to manage their expanding financial requirements.

4. Hiring and managing the workforce

With the construction industry facing a shortage of skilled labor, a chief responsibility of construction project managers is to optimize the existing workforce using strategies such as on-job training.

At small and midsize businesses that typically struggle to attract top talent, the challenge for construction project managers compounds as they not only have to optimize their existing workforce but must also actively participate in hiring the right talent.

How to perform the duty effectively:

5. Finding and managing subcontractors

As a construction project manager, you’d need an effective mechanism for building a pool of reliable subcontractors. You’d not only need to manage their contractual paperwork but also engage with them to establish a successful partnership.

Not being able to perform these tasks effectively can result in project delays and, possibly, costly litigation battles with a subcontractor.

How to perform the duty effectively:

  • Strategic option: Ensure transparency in contractual agreements
    by performing the legwork of vetting subcontractor information before hiring one. Also, create subcontractor performance bonds and default insurance agreements to safeguard yourself against legal battles.
  • Tech option: Use subcontractor software to effectively manage communication—sharing project documentation and direct messaging—and contracts with subcontractors.

6. Managing equipment and materials

Saving costs for a construction project manager is not limited to diligence in optimizing the workforce. This is where managing the procurement of materials and equipment maintenance plays in.

It’s recommended to have properly calibrated and standardized processes for procuring materials and preventing unforeseen equipment failures that can otherwise delay projects and inflate budgets.

How to perform the duty effectively:

7. Ensuring compliance with safety regulations

Construction project managers need to be extra vigilant of construction safety in the wake of changing regulations, most of which revolve around the safety of workers. Being lax on this front can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment.

It’s not enough to be up-to-date about changes in the compliance laws; construction project managers must also actively involve themselves in checking for potential safety threats, such as proactively identifying the locations of hazardous materials at sites.

How to perform the duty effectively:

  • Strategic option: Create a safety training checklist of common hazards such as falls, injuries by objects, and electrocutions by meeting up with on-site crew. Create guidelines to prevent such incidents from occurring and conduct site audits to check for any gap in safety standards.
  • Tech option: Use technologies that improve job site safety. For instance, there are wearables such as smart footwear that monitor pressure and temperature to indicate unsafe working conditions. Likewise, you can replace humans with drones to survey and measure stockpiles of hazardous materials.

Conclusion

This report looks at the responsibilities of construction project managers in general. There might be additional duties based on the unique requirements of a firm. For instance, the duties of construction project managers at home remodeling firms can vary greatly from those employed at firms that undertake heavy construction.

In some cases, construction management and project management could be separate roles. Read our article that explains the key differences between project managers and construction managers.

If you’re considering purchasing software for your construction business, we recommend visiting our construction software page. To make the job of finding the right software easier, schedule a no-obligation, free call with our advisors by filling out this short form.

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