What are the unique challenges
of construction project management?
Effective communication is everything in project management. Without adequate skills, you’ll quickly feel like you’re talking to a brick wall rather than getting your point across.
For those unfamiliar with what multi-level communication is, consider this everyday scenario.
You arrive on site and find that the cladding for the structure your team is building hasn’t arrived on time.
First, you need to call a meeting to address your team and work out what they can be doing today instead of fitting the cladding. Next, you need to contact the supplier to find out why your cladding didn’t arrive and reach an agreement on delivery within a timeframe you can both work with. Then, you need to make the dreaded call to the client to let them know about the delay and how you’ve handled it, while also assuring them that it won’t set the deadline back (hopefully).
One issue, three different parties that each need to be communicated with effectively to reach an outcome that ensures work continues as usual.
This is without even mentioning that frequently as a project manager you’ll find yourself acting as the go-between for different parties, making it even more crucial that what you communicate is heard and understood clearly.
Every construction professional knows the murmur that goes around a site when the client arrives looking displeased. As a construction project manager, you’ll be the one they seek out first and you’d better be ready to make changes on the fly.
Some clients are more prone to wanting alterations to their build than others, but a great project manager is one who can simultaneously accommodate changes while being firm on where the limit is.
This leads back into communication skills, with how you discuss change and compromise being greatly affected by how good you are at putting your thoughts forward in an agreeable way.
Preventing cost blowouts is just part of the job in construction project management. Unforeseen issues will arise, and delays will happen, it’s just a fact of life in the building industry.
The challenge here is how to meet these setbacks while keeping the cost of a project as close to the budget as possible.
With a good team at your back and some experience under your belt, you’ll find managing a project budget becomes easier and easier with time, but early on in your career, it pays to always keep a close eye on expenditure.
No construction project management guide would be complete without a mention of health and safety management.
Keeping everyone safe and secure on-site is a huge priority for construction project managers and you always need to be on the ball when handling risk assessment.
Plans, rules and regulations are all well and good, but the real challenge as a project manager is ensuring that the systems you put in place are properly enforced and followed by everyone.
This is known as a ‘culture of safety’ and building one within your company is vital to ensuring employees react appropriately to potentially unsafe workplace conditions. If you’d like to know more, check out Construct Connect’s great little guide on improving your company’s safety culture, it’s definitely worth the read.