Female construction worker in hi vis and hard hat inspecting site

Management is one of the most important parts of a construction project. Construction managers ensure that projects are completed on time, on budget and to a high standard. They have a wide range of skills and should be able to demonstrate significant knowledge and experience of the construction industry.  

Here are some tips for better – or perhaps more ‘constructive’ – construction management.  

Create a plan

Key to any construction project is the creation of a ‘construction programme’ – a document which details how a project is going to be delivered. A construction programme plans out the logistics of the project, highlighting what work is going to be done, where resources will be needed, and when each milestone is scheduled to be completed. It includes timescales, lead times and budgets.  

The construction programme is a working document which will be adapted and change as the project progresses. It sets out the construction project deliverables.  

Managing your project team

One of the main responsibilities of a construction manager is to manage the construction project team – from the sub-contractors like bricklayers, electricians and plasterers that work every day on site to the architects, surveyors and engineers that may be at the construction site less frequently. A good construction manager should be able to communicate well with all types of construction worker, and with a good level of knowledge too. You need to have excellent ‘people skills’ as well as experience of the individual building trades.  

Effective budget management

Ensuring a construction project is delivered within the agreed budget is very important for a construction manager. They must keep track of what money is being spent by sub-contractors, and make sure financial records are up to date. Managing construction projects is complicated at times, and unexpected issues can arise. If contingency funds are needed, the construction manager needs to ensure they are spent correctly and for the right purpose.  

Communication with clients and stakeholders 

Construction managers should maintain excellent relationships with the client because they, at the end of the day, are paying the bills. Clients need to be confident that the project is in good hands, and communicating well with them is an incredibly important part of a construction manager’s job.  Here are some top tips for client communication:  

  • Avoid jargon and buzzwords – speak to the client in language they will understand
  • Set clear rules of engagement – schedule in regular updates to the client, but don’t allow yourself to be talking to them more than you need to be
  • Manage the client’s expectations – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your project. Always refer the client to the project plan
  • Be charming, but don’t overdo it – put your clients at ease. Be friendly and charming without it being embarrassing.  

Create a culture of safety onsite

Health and safety is another major responsibility of a construction manager. Employees have a right to be safe at work, and the consequences of any health and safety breach could be devastating to a project. 

Although it is not their primary duty, construction managers should ensure that everyone working on site observes health and safety practices at all times. If the site has a health and safety manager, they should liaise closely with sub-contractors and create a working culture where health and safety is central. If health and safety training is required for anyone working on site, it should be provided before they begin work.   

Quality control

Next to time and budget, delivering a project to a high standard is one of the three key priorities of a construction manager. Any defects will cost money to put right, and could put the project behind schedule. The best way to maintain quality control is at the planning stage. Most construction quality faults occur because of errors with the design of a project, so construction managers should scrutinise the design and planning process closely.  

Utilise technology

Today construction managers have access to a fantastic range of digital technology that can make a difference to the way projects are planned and designed. This can help to bring down costs, improve quality control and impress clients. This can range from Virtual Reality impressions of the finished project, to 3D printed structural parts and using drones for increased on-site safety and efficiency.  

Construction project closeout

Handing over the project to the client is the final responsibility of a construction manager. These are our top three tips for closing out a construction project: 

  • Address all client feedback – prepare yourself in the final presentation for any questions the client may have  
  • Close any open contracts quickly – make sure subcontractors are paid promptly, especially if you want to work with them again  
  • Gather project takeaways – summarise what your company has learned from during the project, so it can be of benefit in the future  

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