Infrastructure project management is the process of overseeing infrastructure projects. Learn what it is and the overseeing professional responsibilities
If you’re a project manager, you certainly know that project management can involve construction or infrastructure. In this latter case, we specifically refer to infrastructure project management, a management process that shares responsibilities and key principles with other categories of construction project management.
Let’s take stock and explore what infrastructure project management entails, roles and professional figure’s responsibilities.
What is infrastructure project management?
Literally, infrastructure project management involves overseeing infrastructure projects. Here, infrastructure refers to all capital assets that, while not directly used in the production process, provide essential services for the economic system performance such as: roads, railways, ports, schools, hospitals, etc.
The project for an infrastructure is evidently a complex and lengthy endeavor, and its success relies on efficient project management. Additionally, considering the current and future trends, smart infrastructure will play a major role in civil engineering, needing management tools to address technological advancements.
As mentioned earlier, despite not being directly involved in the production process, infrastructure is crucial for both economic production and ensuring the quality of life in society. In this sense, the value of infrastructure project management is immense.
From a general perspective, infrastructure project management follows the same processes and principles as project management applied to constructions does. Key principles may include:
- definition of project objectives;
- detailed planning;
- implementation of effective material and resource management;
- effective communication;
- risk analysis and management;
- change management;
- document management;
- definition of roles and responsibilities in the project team.
Another aspect shared with other categories of construction project management is that inefficiencies in their planning would lead to delays and consequent budget overruns and costly disputes among stakeholders.
Types of infrastructure construction projects
We’ve discussed what managing an infrastructure project involves. However, in practice, the management of an infrastructure project will undergo changes and adaptations based on the project’s specificities. Let’s explore the main types of infrastructure projects:
- roads and highways: the first example that comes to mind when talking about infrastructure is certainly roads and highways. Projects in this category may range from construction and expansion to repair and maintenance;
- airports: airports are dynamic, technologically advanced infrastructures requiring continuous improvements and expansions to reduce air traffic and enhance services for travelers and workers;
- railway lines: the development and maintenance of railway lines are crucial and complex. The goal here is to ensure quality connections and services for passengers;
- bridges: another common and important infrastructure project involves the construction or repair of bridges. Maintenance and repair of these structures, used by a large number of users daily, pose significant challenges. There are bridge management software solutions that simplify maintenance, ensuring the highest safety and efficiency standards;
- electric grids: the electric power sector is one of the largest subsectors of infrastructure projects. These projects may focus on power production, transmission, maintenance or repair of power plants;
- telecommunications infrastructure: telecommunications cover a wide range of technologies and services connecting the world, requiring therefore continuous maintenance and frequent enhancements;
- water infrastructures: water works ensure that all citizens have easy and safe access to water. Projects addressing water scarcity and facilitating safe distribution are typical examples of water infrastructure projects;
- waste management: waste management projects play a significant role in keeping people and the environment safe;
- social infrastructures: this type of infrastructure has a central social role, encompassing structures like schools and hospitals, providing valuable social services to the public.
Who is the Infrastructure Project Manager?
We’ve explored the main infrastructure projects and what their management involves, but who is the professional responsible for it? What is their role and responsibilities?
The professional who plans and oversees the management of an infrastructure project is called the Infrastructure Project Manager. Their role involves supervising infrastructure projects. They administer projects, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget limits, meeting project requirements as well as contracts’ quality standards.
Regarding the responsibilities of this crucial professional figure, we must certainly mention:
- definition of project purpose;
- development of project plans in collaboration with various stakeholders;
- coordination with various teams involved in the project;
- project timelines, resources and budgets management;
- monitoring work progress;
- issues and obstacles handling;
- project quality control and safety standards compliance;
- constant communication with stakeholders, clients and management figures.
Tools to increase efficiency in managing infrastructure projects
It’s clear that a proficient Infrastructure Project Manager can carry out their work regardless of the software used. However, infrastructure projects are complex and the use of suitable infrastructure asset management software is an evident and fundamental support to ensure:
- efficiency in the project design, construction, and maintenance processes;
- final project quality with safety standards compliance;
- contract adherence to project timelines and budgets.
In more detail, management software can assist project managers in the following 4 ways:
- benchmarking for better performance: benchmarking involves a comparative evaluation to identify project design needs, budget and goals before it begins. This step reduces project risks and is accompanied by a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach;
- interoperability: the use of management software, especially if integrated with BIM methodology and international standards, makes the project collaboratively open;
- improved communication between stakeholders and clients: involving the client in decision-making and communication can ensure that the project progresses with fewer delays and misunderstandings. Files, data, project documents can be shared transparently, dynamically and collaboratively. This allows easy updates and better understanding by all stakeholders and the end client;
- automatic project reporting process: detailed project reports are valuable for easier communication and serve as a future reference registry if necessary.
To have complete control over infrastructure projects, leverage the support of infrastructure asset management software. Whether you’re a government, public authority or private company, you can monitor every aspect of the management process, from assessing infrastructure wear over time to identifying assets that need repair or replacement, maximizing the value of infrastructure.