Project management in construction is the best way to save resources and keep the project under control. Let’s see how
Good project management is the first step to the success of the entire construction process.
In this regard, the use of a BIM management system to manage every aspect of the project (and the life cycle of a work) is paramount. This also includes coordination and collaboration activities within the work team.
This article aims at defining what project management is in the construction sector and what are the advantages for technicians, companies and clients.
What is construction project management?
Project management in construction is the process of organizing each phase of a project’s life cycle: from conception to completion. It is a holistic practice that has the objective of ensuring that a project is delivered on time and on budget. Construction Project management is a complex discipline because it covers many important points in a project, including cost control, scheduling, material sourcing and risk assessment.
The project manager is the professional in charge of the project and has the task of interacting with all the team members involved in a construction project (professionals, owners, contractors, etc.) to ensure that they comply with the deadlines and budgets established and achieve the objectives.
The role of project manager can be filled by the contractor, the construction manager, etc.
The aim of the project manager is to ensure that the entire construction process is carried out according to the plans and without unforeseen events, in compliance with the budget, the execution times of the works, the allocation of resources, the quality guarantee, etc. In addition, he/she has the task of assessing the risks in real time and informing the stakeholders of the progress of the works. In summary, its aim is to simplify communication and ensure that all processes are efficient and in line at every stage.
The project manager’s activities are supported by the use of BIM management systems that allow you to:
- view and manage online the most used file formats in the construction industry in an advanced way (.IFC, .BCF, .RVT, .RFA, .DWG, .DXF, .LAS, .LAZ, .geoJson; etc.);
- store and share project files regardless of the data format, where you work or the device you use;
- manage 3D model issues and your data directly in cloud;
- have traceable workflows and processes;
- collaborate in real-time with the entire design, execution and maintenance team;
- take advantage of the communication services integrated into the system (chat, online meetings and desktop sharing);
- make cost estimates in a collaborative way, directly online and without installing any application;
- create an online information system of the building by integrating the 3D digital model with data and documents.
Why is project management important in construction?
Project management is an important aspect for the construction sector because it helps to avoid conflicts and save a considerable amount of money for the owner.
Detecting errors in advance, instead of finding them in the middle of the construction phase, allows you to solve problems without causing time-consuming delays for the whole project. By regularly reviewing construction activities and organizing periodic audits, the possibility of discovering conflicts increases, reducing changes and setbacks during the execution phase (that is when making changes becomes complicated and expensive).
The sooner a deviation from planning is detected, the easier and less expensive it will be to adjust or fix the problem.
In summary, the advantages of project management in construction are:
- saving time and money;
- better management of resources;
- optimisation of internal communication;
- company competitiveness.
What is a construction project management workflow?
A project management system carried out through a specific workflow can increase project efficiency, productivity and transparency among stakeholders, not to mention cost savings, and the chances of a project being completed on time and on budget.
Here are the main workflows that improve project management in construction thanks to the construction management software:
- workflow 1 – Project review: in the early stages of a construction project, the professional in charge develops a project proposal presented through 2D charts and a 3D BIM model. The design process involves multiple stakeholders and collaboration becomes essential. The workflow, at this stage, includes a project management system, providing a customized workflow that connects all key stakeholders collaboratively on a single platform and includes automatic document updates to perform each necessary step in the design process. With a BIM management system, the work of the project manager is facilitated, since the documents are automatically attached to each offer and the cost projections are automatically reported;
- workflow 2 – Request for information: a request for information (RFI) expresses the need for clarification or additional information regarding the design of the work. It can occur during any phase of the project, but it usually comes from the general contractor who needs clarification on the project requirements. Traditionally, an RFI is presented with an email or an untraceable verbal question. However, especially when it comes to very large projects, RFI monitoring and management is critical for the project manager;
- workflow 3 – Deliverables Management Change: changes to the project take time and often reduce the budget. They can be due to different factors: changing owner preferences, design errors, unforeseen external conditions, etc. Without a project management system in place, email is the main means of communication but it generates little clarity in the workflow. This is where a project management system, managed with a BIM management system, facilitates communication between team members. Every workflow contributor, from project manager to contractor, to owner, is able to access the cloud and quickly identify changes. Without a project management system in place, the project manager should manually update, archive, and classify project documents. With a project management system, instead, a standardized workflow process is established, to ensure that information and requests are shared with the entire team in real time. The advantages of a customizable and standardized workflow are transparency, trust in data and the ability to report the status of a project in real time;
- workflow 4 – Invoice/Payments: to keep track of payments and invoices issued, you need a custom project management system that will record, address and update project cost reports correctly in real time. Once an invoice has been submitted and reviewed, the following is automatically updated in real time to allow for proper decision making and mitigate the previous challenges of poor data acquisition.
What template do you need for project management in construction?
The project management template is a pre-defined model that can help you document the various project activities, such as planning, setting objectives, creating work programmes, managing costs, assigning tasks, etc.
The purpose of project management templates is to help the project manager save time with new projects: you don’t have to start from scratch every time and all repetitive and tedious operations are bypassed.
There are different types of templates specific to each project activity:
- weekly templates;
- daily templates;
- project timeline template (for planning the time to be allocated to each activity);
- budget template (to keep track of incomes and expenses);
- project status report templates (to monitor the progress of the activities).