15 Construction Management Tips for Enhanced Efficiency
Updated February 3, 2023
Two construction workers discuss building plans in the foreground, while and excavator is seen in the background of a construction site.
Construction projects are complex jobs that involve managing schedules, budgets, paperwork and large teams of builders, architects, project engineers and other professionals. Effective project managers use their skills to handle their many duties effectively and ensure that they complete the construction projects they’re responsible for on time, within budget and according to any applicable laws and regulations. If you work in construction management, it’s beneficial to learn more about the ways you can improve your skills and manage people and projects more effectively.
In this article, we provide a list of 15 construction management tips you can use to increase efficiency on job sites and improve the quality of your work.
What is construction management?
Construction management is the process of overseeing the development of buildings and structures. Projects requiring construction management typically include residential, commercial, public, industrial and infrastructure.
Construction managers are responsible for every phase of a project, from planning and pre-construction to the construction stages to completion. They commonly use skills like critical thinking, research, risk assessment, cost management, problem-solving and leadership. Their typical duties might include:
Monitoring budgets and resources
Supervising teams of worksite employees
Ensuring employees and projects follow safety and building codes
Collaborating with vendors, engineers, architects and other professionals
Giving clients and stakeholders progress updates
15 construction management tips
Improving your construction management skills can help you complete tasks more efficiently and progress in your career more quickly. Here are 15 tips to help you manage construction projects more successfully:
1. Know the details before beginning a project
Collect all the information you need about a job, including its requirements and your team when you're still in the planning stages of a construction project. The more details you have, the better you can manage the project and prepare for unexpected situations that might arise. You can get this information from clients, construction specialists and vendors, in addition to through your own research and observation.
Start by determining milestones you can use to measure progress, such as completing tasks by a specific date or within a certain budget. Make sure your team understands the building and safety codes that govern the project and how to use the materials and equipment necessary to complete it.
Learn about the construction site and the people you've hired to work on it. Then, schedule a project launch meeting to introduce team members, review responsibilities, answer questions and confirm details. You might use a checklist to ensure you discuss all site considerations.
2. Create a plan
Develop a construction management plan that follows the five phases of project management, which include initiation, planning, launch, performance and close. Establish a deliverable for the end of each stage so you can measure progress and success. This deliverable might be a report for the client or the completion of a key task. In addition, assess your project team’s performance at the end of each phase so you can maintain quality and ensure the project is on schedule.
It’s important to remember that plans can change frequently in construction management. It might be necessary to adjust and improve your plan, depending on the previous stage of your project. Having the flexibility to adapt to changes so you can complete the project within the correct timeframe and budget is key to project success. A construction project planning template can help you create workflows and maximize efficiency in these scenarios.
3. Practice regular communication
Communication is essential to ensure that you complete each stage of a project quickly. Make sure you communicate regularly with everyone involved in the project, including clients, stakeholders, subcontractors, suppliers and staff. Schedule frequent meetings to keep your construction team aware of any important changes.
You can also use email and text messages to get information and confirmations in writing and make use of a collaboration platform to better organize your messages. During busier projects, this technology can help you send alerts to your team and get responses from them right away.
4. Provide construction teams with leadership
Good leadership can help you maximize the performance of your construction team and ensure that each member understands their responsibilities. Check in with your team frequently to ensure that they understand the project requirements and take steps to motivate them in their roles. Here are some additional ways to practice effective leadership:
Learn the strengths of each team member so you can assign tasks based on their skills and experience.
Ask your staff for feedback, listen to what they say and acknowledge their ideas or opinions.
Give productive feedback to improve performance.
Monitor employees on the job site so you can help when needed and praise good work when you see it.
Offer training to make sure your team is up to date on building codes and new machines or materials.
5. Stay organized
Organization is a crucial skill for construction managers responsible for budgets, schedules, deliverables, employees, tasks and materials. Consider using project management software to help you stay organized and monitor every phase of a construction project.
You can use it to track tasks more efficiently and manage operations remotely using your electronic devices. Being highly organized can make it easier to modify your plans in response to sudden changes and ensure that you meet all your project deliverables.
6. Monitor construction costs closely
Construction managers manage a variety of expenses, from materials and equipment to permits and wages. To make sure a project stays on budget, it’s necessary to record and manage every cost.
You can achieve this more easily using a software program that allows you to log all expenses, make budget changes, calculate costs and create invoices. In addition, consider engaging in the following to better control spending and maximize your budget:
Avoiding ordering supplies too soon or late
Ensuring equipment is up to date and functioning properly
Adopting lean construction practices that minimize waste
Asking questions and communicating budget concerns quickly
Related: Guide to Construction Estimates
7. Choose the right technologies
Using the right construction-specific technologies can help you streamline tasks and potentially save both time and money. Search for tools and construction software programs that can meet your project needs and help make processes more efficient. In addition, equip your team with laptops or devices they can use to access these programs. Look for technologies with features such as:
Live, shareable views of the construction site
The ability for multiple parties to report to and view one data source
Digital plan imaging
Integrated databases for managing contracts, schedules, costs, purchase orders and job site activities
8. Employ automation when possible
Automation can help you save time as a construction manager by enabling you to standardize regular processes and focus on overseeing the more technical aspects of a project. Automated reporting systems can reduce the amount of correspondence you do each day and improve your workflows.
You can typically use these systems to complete the following routine activities:
Send status reports
Update expense sheets
Collect and distribute comments and questions
9. Emphasize safety
Prioritize the safety of the construction teams you manage at the job site so you can reduce the risk of injuries and complete projects on schedule. Institute practices to keep your team safe and implement a site safety plan to follow so fewer incidents occur. Safe work environments can improve productivity, reduce stress and decrease turnover.
10. Stay on schedule
Completing construction projects on time can help keep clients happy and reduce labor costs. Check your timelines and milestones often to keep your construction project on schedule. Use task lists and tools such as Gantt charts to set realistic timelines and manage a project's scope.
During the planning stage, create a realistic timeline for completing the project. If possible, incorporate some additional time into your estimate to accommodate unexpected delays. Consider using scheduling software to keep your team informed and ensure that they continue to follow the plan.
11. Stay current on your industry knowledge
The construction industry often evolves with the introduction of new technologies and processes. Consider subscribing to construction magazines and reviewing industry news regularly to keep yourself informed of new construction practices, safety procedures and regulations. In addition, engage in open discussions with your colleagues and other construction managers to further expand on your current knowledge.
12. Build positive relationships
Construction management often involves interacting with a variety of stakeholders such as clients, contractors, architects and local authorities. The ability to maintain positive working relationships with these stakeholders is often critical for the success of a construction project.
Try to include all relevant stakeholders in project meetings and give them access to important documents and materials and allow them the opportunity to collaborate. When interacting with clients, remain respectful and professional.
13. Consider areas of improvement
Use your mistakes as learning experiences to improve your overall performance. After the completion of a project, consider the things you could improve upon. For example, if you missed a project deadline, you might want to think about the tools you could implement to help you execute your deadlines more quickly in the future. Think about your desired level of productivity so you can plan your improvements accordingly.
14. Delegate tasks
Knowing when to delegate tasks is an important part of being a construction manager, as the role often involves a number of responsibilities that often change as the scope of a project changes.
To avoid overwhelming yourself, assign members of your team different tasks and provide them with instructions to help them complete them effectively. Monitor your team members as they complete tasks and ensure that they have the resources necessary to complete them without needing a lot of assistance.
15. Document each project
When you complete a project milestone, it’s beneficial to compile the necessary documentation for relevant stakeholders to sign. This can help you avoid experiencing delays that might prevent you from completing the project on time.
In case unforeseen circumstances occur, it’s also beneficial to make additional copies. Consider investing in a document management system to help you account for your documentation.
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