To manage a road construction project successfully, one must coordinate a plethora of moving parts and people. Construction project management consists of phases like design, planning, scheduling, and build. Each one of these is difficult on its own, but combining them adds another layer of complexity.
Before we delve into a road construction project’s nuances, let’s understand project management basics.
What Is Construction Project Management?
Construction project management involves the management and maintenance of a construction initiative. It’s the purest form of management and heavily mission-based. The build of the project itself is, in fact, its end goal.
Construction projects have varying demands, as they can come in the form of:
- Heavy civil projects, etc.
All of these need careful planning, coordination, and execution. A project manager’s primary skills are problem-solving, communication, and detailed insight into the building process. Even with all these skills, a manager’s outlook needs to be broader. Each project includes a different set of constraints and demands.
Who’s in charge?
The construction project manager (CPM) has the responsibility to manage a road construction project. As mentioned above, planning, coordination, budgeting, and supervision are their duties. A more detailed workflow looks like this:
- Estimation and negotiation of the budget
- Creation of a schedule and work timetables
- Work order management
- Formulation of a strategy appropriate for the project
- Constant and clear communication with stakeholders and clients
- Interfacing with teams, workers, and various construction professions on technical details
- Consultation with construction and regulatory specialists
- Risk estimation and management
Indeed, no single man or woman can handle all these responsibilities. However, with enough knowledge in these departments, CPMs can correctly delegate these duties to specialists. But ultimately, CPMs are the ones who will answer for any potential issues that might occur.
In essence, a CPM’s job is not to carry out these tasks but to be involved in them to a certain degree.
The Goals/Stages of a Construction Project Management
Just like any project management process, there are specific steps that a construction project management follows. But there are some crucial nuances to it.
You can section a construction project into five following phases.
Regardless of your operating business model, a construction project starts with a conception phase. In this phase, the stakeholders conceive the idea and research the locations. Then they set the first demands for completion.
Then they pass this to an engineer or architect who draws up the blueprint. He writes the blueprint with the supervision of the construction project manager. In this stage, CPM’s primary focus is to bridge the stakeholder’s demands and the architect’s design. Any issues that come up during the ideation phase fall under the construction project manager’s responsibility.
Upon finalizing the plans, the stakeholders put the word out for a contract in case of a “design, bid, build” model. After all the submissions from contractors, the stakeholders test them and choose the most suitable option.
When the stakeholders decide on the most viable option for a contractor, CPM begins preparing for the execution phase. This is the most vulnerable part of the project, being that it sets the entire machinery into motion.
Among these preparations, the most prominent ones are site examinations, the conception of a schedule, assembly of the required materials, etc. But the most important one is the formation of your project team and worker base.
Now we’ll discuss some roles in a standard construction team.
- Supervisor – ensures that you communicate all project plans. He acts as an intermediary between the field workers and the CPM.
- Construction expeditor – manages the materials’ flow from the supplier to the project. These tasks include determining, ordering, and ensuring the quality of necessary materials.
- Construction foreman – oversees the project, tracks the completion of tasks, payroll, and manages each worker’s time.
- Electrician – sets up electrical connections for the project.
- Construction workers – the heart and soul of the entire thing, as they bring the project to life.
Once you’ve completed the plans, assembled the necessary materials, and your team, it’s time to move from paper to reality. Trouble-free execution is unlikely. But a construction project manager needs to ensure there are as few issues as possible.
That’s why risk assessment is often the most overlooked part of any construction plan. Before the execution kicks off, a CPM should have conceived a risk management response plan. Acting according to it saves valuable time and prevents unnecessary delays.
The project is not finalized in this stage, whereas the build is. A commissioning period is a time to put everything to the test. All systems need to be closely inspected and stripped of any errors. Also, the owner’s personnel needs to get trained for optimal use of the building.
5. Warranty Period and Finalization
The warranty period starts when the new building owners take over. A contractual warranty gets written into the contract, and it concerns the structural integrity of the building. An implied warranty is the one that’s written in the law to which your building must adhere to. manage a road construction project
During the commission phase, you need to document the process of maintenance education of the owners. It is essential, as it covers every part on your end in case of a user error issue.
This period is a test of time for your project, as the quality of the construction needs to meet the expectations of the owners. When this period expires, it means you’ve completed your contractual obligations. Now, all there is left to do is to perform some minor post-construction tasks to manage your road construction project. These include archiving the remaining documentation, a short review, and post-construction reports for future projects.
Challenges of Road Construction Project Management
What separates a road construction project from others is the significant amount of risk due to its spread over a wide geographical area. Risk affects the cost, time, and scope of the project.
As mentioned above, understanding risks in the early stages of the project can help reduce the overall impact and increase build efficiency.
So how to conduct the identification of risk factors? You do this via a questionnaire survey while considering the probability of the risk occurrence and its impact. The impact is measured using a 5 point Likert scale for high volume and low volume roads.
Next, you calculate the risk priority by multiplying the RII (Relative Importance Index) of both parameters. You rank it according to the RII values of the risk priority.
According to the data provided by a study conducted by the College of Engineering Pune, risk factors have the following RII:
As we can see, the most significant risk factors are 6., 7., 9., and 3. They should be the primary focus of any risk assessment to manage a road construction project.
The Benefits of Construction Project Management Software
One of the most untapped potentials in terms of technology is construction management software. Construction management software makes the business construction process more straightforward. It does so by streamlining the processes previously done manually.
Members of the oil and gas industry have most notably found these software solutions helpful. The trick was that there was a need to boost transparency in onshore, shale, and brownfield construction projects.
The most common demands for a CMS (construction management software) resemble this:
Simple Road Construction Management
So what makes CMS so beneficial to construction firms? Well, for starters, CMS makes a systematic approach to manage a road construction project a lot easier. Personnel can make requests for transmittals, and submittals, as well as for information.
Every construction project carries a significant amount of documentation to be done. Companies no longer have to store documentation physically. It’s because most CMS stores data in document management systems. This results in a lesser need for file cabinets and easier access.
Audit log records show the date and time of any document creation and modification. In massive projects monitoring these changes is required to maintain consistency. The goal is to have the complete documentation in one place. Then you can conduct risk management without spending too much time collecting data.
Via the CMS’s accounting capabilities, employees can find contracts, change orders, and the budget’s status. It prevents project errors that lead to high costs. Having access to real-time financial data can reduce operational costs and make the company profitable.
Construction management software that offers integration with construction accounting tools enables managers to complete projects at the most optimal budgets. Service delivery gets streamlined, the workforce is unified, which ensures profitability.
Increased efficiency opens new opportunities for business expansion. It is a positive feedback loop, where speedy job completion allows for more spaces to take on other contracts. By putting the entire construction project in one place, quality control gets attained at a high level. It results in minimizing project delays and promotes communication.
Modern construction management software should suit the company’s needs. Most software companies offer off-the-shelf solutions. But, it may not be what you are looking for. Communicating your software demands to IT specialists can be difficult, as each construction firm has different workflow standards.
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So, how to create an application without immersing yourself in the too technical aspect of programming? Kohezion’s mission statement is that everyone should have the opportunity to solve their problems.
You can develop a cloud-based database application in a matter of hours with a highly intuitive Kohezion UI. We will discuss the must-have features of all construction project management software in the following segment.
Crucial Features of Any Construction Project Management Software
To fully automate work and documentation processes, there are certain features that every construction management software needs to have. Most construction companies have used cost estimation, accounting, or scheduling solutions. CMS offers all these in one package.
Kohezion offers these:
- Custom CRM (customer relationship manager)
- Pricing lookup tool
- Project Tracking
- Resource Scheduling
- Inventory and Facilities Management
- Ticketing System
- Escalation Workflows
- Feedback Management
- Product Catalog
- Sales Activity Dashboard
The accounting feature performs the automation of processes. Some of them are payroll, accounts receivable, and payable. The job costing ability sets the standard rates for the company’s services. It also manages project schedules and monitors time expenses.
An ideal CMS needs to dispatch work orders, create schedules, book jobs, and allocate assets. In terms of project management, resource planning, progress tracking, client requests are among the top demands.
Among the crucial features of any CMS, you should have document, inventory, and equipment management options. Enabling these helps boost productivity, information security, and workflow processes.
And finally, every construction management software needs to have support for mobile devices too. Mobility is crucial for obtaining real-time data to make quick decisions.
Construction project management has much more depth to it than one would think. It’s essential to maintain a healthy initiative throughout the building process. Construction project managers have immense responsibilities in terms of planning, coordination, and execution.
CPMs need to be skilled in law and public safety. They should also be good at decision-making, human resources, time, and cost management. They are responsible for all issues during the construction and warranty period.
Construction project management divides into five phases:
- Warranty Period and Finalization
These phases comprise indispensable steps to manage a road construction project successfully.
We’ve also seen that risk assessment and management play a crucial role. That’s why you need to address them in the pre-build phase. Surveys have identified several primary risk factors. They include delays in payments, owner bankruptcy, unclear definition of project scope, and inefficient planning.
As a solution to these problems, construction firms wish to install construction project management software in their workflow. CMS is capable of cost calculating, measuring takeoff, accounting and job costing, project tracking, etc.
Custom software solutions offer more flexibility and efficiency for the end-users. Business software like Kohezion allows for a customized application that includes:
- Client tracker
- Task Tracker
- Data management
Without any shadow of a doubt, denying the benefits of construction management software can only be detrimental to a construction project manager.