When it comes to commercial construction project management, finding out that you’re off-schedule and off-budget can be some of the most frustrating setbacks along the way. Although problems arise from time to time that are out of your control, with the right approach project managers can mitigate those risks and maybe even keep them at bay.
We’ve rounded up some of the top tips from industry experts to help keep your projects running smoothly — and help managers maintain control from start to finish.
Plan, plan, plan your commercial construction project
Put it on a mug, make it your screensaver, use it as your daily mantra — whatever you need to do, this is your guiding creed. Get everything into a plan for now, and make a plan for the future, too. This process needs to start even before a single brick is laid, and it needs to be revised in real-time because each project has its own unique trajectory.
Solidify your pre-construction strategy
The conditions on a commercial construction jobsite are unpredictable, especially when it comes to the environment. Carefully mapping out pre-construction can give you a much clearer picture about how you can prepare for these unpredictabilities. Use historical data and your instinct about the job site to guide you through ordering materials, scheduling labor, or finding equipment.
Lead by example for other commercial construction pros
Project managers oversee a number of teams with members across all skill levels and niches within the construction industry. They’re all looking to the project manager as a beacon throughout the chaos, and it’s important to understand this dynamic for success. Be patient — they may not all have the experience and expertise that you do and it’s not productive to scold workers for not getting the job done on time. Your actions as a project manager may inspire another team member; you never know when people are paying close attention to your actions.
Commercial construction needs communication
In any workplace, communication on the job helps build and nurture relationships that keep projects on-time and on-budget. Poor communication means nobody pays close attention to what’s being broadcast, and that could result in potential speed bumps along the way. Find collaboration tools that are designed specifically for commercial construction project managers, be clear and intentional with communication, and establish a chain of command early on so nothing gets lost in translation.
Project managers can’t forget to delegate
While it’s tempting to adopt a mindset of “I’ll do it myself to get it done right,” there’s a reason why project managers assemble several teams to address key areas of a commercial construction project. Make sure you let them do their job — or you could risk burnout as a PM. Ask for follow-up communication to understand that the job you delegated was done to specifications.
Take control of time management
Due to the very nature of the job, commercial construction managers always have fires burning — some bigger than others. Getting them under control by developing an efficient time management approach means you’ll have the bandwidth to put out the big fires that rage unexpectedly. Practice the 80/20 rule: Focus 80% of your effort on the top 20% of a prioritized to-do list.
Keep up with commercial construction costs
It’s the c-word that every construction pro fears — “cost.” Staying on top of the budget at every step of the way can alert you to issues that would become more serious as the project continues. Even if you’ve set up contingencies for emergencies, every commercial construction PM knows that one small monetary mishap can end up derailing the entire project.
Know the contracts, inside and out
There’s no shortage of sign-offs need from project managers during commercial construction projects, but don’t assume that every piece of paperwork is good to go. Take a fine-tooth comb to it and ask questions before signing; the last thing you need is mediation or litigation holding up a project.
Brush up on your negotiation skills
Costs, time, deadlines — you can use your negotiating skills to help save money and keep things moving, along with building relationships with other industry pros. You’ll also negotiate with team members, a soft skill that all construction managers need to leverage.
While this is a small portion of a very important list, project managers can take the first step towards commercial construction success by partnering with pros (like GS&S) they can trust. Avoid wasting time and money and get the clarity you need for commercial building success. Let’s talk more!