Construction Management: Functions and Phases

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 15, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated September 15, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Construction management is the oversight of every aspect of building projects. Construction managers structure and facilitate budgets, set and maintain schedules, oversee on-site safety and make sure that everyone completes duties on time. Construction managers communicate with many people, including contractors, construction workers, architects, vendors and clients. They make sure that projects are completed safely, on time, within budget and to the client's specifications.

Construction managers must be very organized, detail-oriented and excellent communicators. Understanding everything that is involved in construction management will help you determine if it is a good career for you.

In this article, we describe what construction management is, explain the responsibilities and the functions of construction management and the primary phases in managing construction projects.

Read more: Learn About Being a Construction Manager

Construction management responsibilities

Construction management is in charge of building sites. Their responsibilities vary depending on the project and company, but here are some of their most common responsibilities:

Managing costs

Construction management is in charge of setting a budget and ensuring that they complete the project within their financial expectations.

Quality assurance

Construction managers make sure that subcontractors and contractors are completing their tasks completely and up to codes and regulations.

Contract oversight

These professionals ensure that contracts are fulfilled and that everyone involved in the contract is satisfied with the project. This could include giving time and financial quotes for changes that the client requests.

Safety management

Construction managers make sure to find and minimize hazards on construction sites for employee safety. They also ensure that team members carefully follow safety regulations and guidelines on site.

Communication

As project leaders, construction managers are often the primary contact for everyone involved, and they ensure that everyone is informed about expectations and changes.

Permitting and paperwork

Construction management tracks and handles all the paperwork and permits required to have construction projects in compliance with federal, state and local regulations.

Related: How to Develop Your Core Leadership Competencies

Construction management functions

Here are the functions of construction management:

  • Planning: A construction manager uses planning to optimize resource use, reduce conflicts and solve problems creatively.

  • Scheduling: Construction managers determine how much time the total project will take, tracking labor hours and how long each stage will take.

  • Organizing: Management professionals divide the construction project into departments and assign specific tasks to individual team members.

  • Staffing: An important function of construction managers is to ensure employees are assigned to departments and tasks that are best suited to them.

  • Directing: Construction managers train, support and correct employees so their tasks are completed entirely and correctly.

  • Controlling: They compare active achievements to the project plan and make adjustments to meet deadlines and objectives.

  • Coordinating: Construction managers make sure each department understands their role, what kind of help they can expect from each other and have clear communication about plan changes.

Construction management phases

Each project has different requirements, but here are the most common phases in construction management:

  1. Initiating

  2. Planning

  3. Executing

  4. Monitoring

  5. Closing

1. Initiating

Once the company wins the bid, the construction manager designs a feasibility report. This document determines whether the project can be executed within a specific amount of time and budget. Once the stakeholders in the project agree that it is feasible, the construction manager writes a Project Initiation Document (PID). The PID outlines the scope of the project, team organization and goals.

2. Planning

In the next stage, the construction manager organizes the documentation and project structure. Here are the different types of documents that construction managers design during the planning phase:

Project management plan

The project management plan is a document that outlines how the project will be executed and the cost estimates. Project management plans typically evolve as the project progresses and is an important document for setting the schedule and budget goals.

Scope document

The scope document analyzes the purposes, advantages, needs and key elements of the project. This document is used to ensure that everyone involved in the project knows what to expect.

Work-breakdown structure (WBS)

The WBS is a hierarchical detail of how the team will accomplish each stage of the project and objectives. The document provides budgets and schedules for each stage of construction. This helps to ensure each stage is completed within a reasonable amount of time.

Risk management plan

The risk management plan outlines any potential hazards in the project. It allows the construction manager to anticipate what might go wrong and how to structure resources to prepare for anything that could happen. Completing a risk management plan can help construction managers identify risks before they begin work.

Read more: 7 Steps for Defining a Project's Scope

3. Executing

During this phase, the physical construction begins. The construction manager oversees the schedule to make sure that every stage is completed safely, on time and within budget. The construction manager will organize meetings regularly to be sure that objectives are being met and what changes need to be made to budgets and schedules. They will also communicate progress to the client so they can provide input if needed.

4. Monitoring

Construction managers spend most of the project monitoring the safety of employees and measuring progress. As they monitor progress, they make adjustments to the timeline or objectives as needed. Construction projects are often long, complex endeavors and construction managers often make adjustments to the project plan to meet goals. They also monitor the quality of work to be sure that the contractors and subcontractors are meeting expectations.

5. Closing

The construction manager closes out the project by analyzing if the team met the initial objectives and how closely they estimated the budget. They then compile a report to evaluate how well the project went and how to better estimate schedules and budgets in the future. In this phase, they also get feedback from the client to see if they can improve other aspects, like customer service or communication.

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