Construction job management is hard and we hear many challenges that project managers need to deal with every day at the site. That’s why every construction company needs a talented project manager to handle such a big responsibility. But it’s not just all about skills. Project managers need some helping hand too, through technology such as construction management software. Apart from that, it could help to know the struggles other project managers have, so they can prepare themselves when they go through the same challenges.
That said, we made a rundown of 10 of the most common challenges that hinder construction project managers from doing their job more efficiently and how they go about solving them:
1. Keeping Stakeholders and Crew Members on The Same Page
The construction site is such a big workplace with hundreds of people and equipment moving simultaneously to finish the job. Not to mention all the subcontractors you need to get on board too. So it’s no longer surprising how keeping all stakeholders and managing all equipment can be such a grueling task.
In construction, sharing the same information is crucial to keeping everyone’s tasks aligned with the project’s goal. With only one person receiving old data, the whole process can go wrong. So it is essential for everyone what exactly is going on at the site, what each one needs to do, and what common goal every member and stakeholder should be working towards.
Solution: It will be helpful to have a tool that can keep everyone on the same page. We suggest using a cloud-based application that automatically updates all documents in real-time, so nobody gets left behind. Starting with the best construction management software can bring all stakeholders, your crew members, and your clients into conversations about tasks, so nobody needs to go through the hassle of digging through old documents of long email threads.
A construction management software can also help everyone stay on top of their schedule while the project manager traces more efficiently where the project is without going to the site. This way, he can identify the current status and resolve issues immediately whenever a problem arises and mobilize the right team to deal with it so that costly errors can be prevented.
2. Vague Project Goals And Objectives
An organized construction starts during the earliest phases, which include the definition of the goals and objectives. Along with the project design, the goal and objectives will help the project managers and all stakeholders come up with the perfect plan to keep the construction process smooth. These will also serve as a guide for all workers in setting their individual goals.
The problem is that sometimes, due to miscommunications during the early stages, goals are not correctly set and objectives are not clearly defined, confusing workers when the project already kicks off. Processes are also misaligned.
Solution: From the start, clearly define the objectives and set expectations so everyone will have an idea early on how to strategize to achieve the goal. Post the target on your construction management software and subcontractor scheduling software to ensure that everyone working on the project is reminded about what you all aim to achieve at the end of the construction process.
3. Unrealistic Deadlines
Most construction projects are fast-paced, which causes a lot of construction companies to cram. They force their members to work double-time to meet the client’s deadline, not realizing that they risk the project for errors and low quality.
Solution: Never agree with a deadline that’s impossible to meet. Assess your resources from equipment to crew members, suppliers, and subcontractors if all are in the condition and exert extra effort to comply with the client’s deadlines. You also have to consider that when you commit to unrealistic deadlines, you will be wearing out both your crew members and equipment, which may lead to bigger and more costly problems like health claims, litigation, delays, and repairs.
Talk to your client if the deadlines seem unachievable and present some recommendations on a better project schedule. Manage your schedule correctly when the project already kicks off and keep track of the milestones to see if the team is coping well with the schedule you set or getting a hard time meeting the deadlines. This way, you can strategize on the adjustments that need to be done by the team so there won’t be delays on the builders schedule.
4. Finding The Right Construction Project Management Sofware
Construction companies are already recognizing the importance of having a project management tool that will aid in their task and crew management. But firms shouldn’t settle with generic apps like Trello or Google sheets in managing their projects. These programs may keep everyone connected but aren’t feature-rich to support clear communication and constant collaboration.
Solution: Instead of using free and generic programs, you should consider using an affordable construction management software like Pro Crew Schedule. It is easy to use that even your non-techy crew member can get the gist of it after a few tries. It comes with features specially designed for construction professionals and laborers to complete their tasks with ease. More specifically, Pro Crew supports:
- Efficient Planning: Being one of the best construction management software available in the market, Pro Crew Schedule allows project managers to organize their plans in a single space so that sharing them with their stakeholders and crew members can be done so easily faster.
- Collaboration: Pro Crew Schedule allows crew members to come together in a virtual space to exchange information to help them achieve better results.
- Organization: With a common place to keep files, no data will be lost hence equipping the crew members with all the references they need to complete their tasks properly
- Cloud Storage: Putting all your files on the cloud ensures that all information is updated in real-time, safe from hacking and that all members gain access to the right documents.
5. Sudden Changes in Scope
Changes in construction plans can’t be avoided most, especially when clients suddenly feel like changing the scope to follow a new process that they think will give them more significant savings or provide their building with more functionality. While it can be useful to adopt some changes, the project manager and the crew members may be placed in a tight spot and the project can fail altogether.
Solution: To prevent abrupt changes in plans, the contract should include a clause stating unnecessary changes should be prevented unless not adopting the suggested change will lead the project to failure. There should be specific qualifications on when changes can be and should be applied. In drafting the plan and schedule, project managers should outline every step so when changes are suddenly requested they can quickly identify how the project and results will be affected. This way, it will be easier to make the client understand the effects of sudden changes to the process.
6. Insufficient Labor and Skills
Construction companies usually face two big problems when it comes to their human resources. First is the lack of crew members and the second one is the lack of construction skills. Since the great recession, companies are finding it challenging to fill up their labor pool to settle with newbies. However, most of these newbies lack the right knowledge and skills needed in a hazardous workplace. As a result, more accidents occur at the site and the output seems to be of lower quality.
Solution: More companies realize the benefits of employing technology-based innovation, such as automation and robotics, to make up for the lack of human workers. Technology such as augmented reality is also used for more effective training sessions.
When hiring, companies should also be patient in screening the applicants to pick the right people. Sure they will encounter newbies who have zero experience but at least know how to do construction works. These people are the ones that deserve to be hired and trained. Those with great enthusiasm are also other types of people that can qualify as new construction workers. You can also check our previous blog on our recommended websites for searching for construction talents.
Like we always say, communication is the key to everything in construction. Without it, the management side cannot lead the crew members in the right direction. Without proper communication channels, updates and issues can’t be reported. Without communication, stakeholders would always guess when to start their work or what their dependencies did before they took over. Other problems that may lead to conflicts and delays are also bound to happen.
Solution: Project managers should find the right communication channel to use to keep everyone on the same page without hindering the crew members from doing their jobs. The use of mobile devices has been a great help to construction teams as they are cordless and can be brought anywhere. The device’s ability to connect to the internet made it more potent as it can now support the use of cloud-based construction management software.
As we mentioned earlier, the use of construction software is a more efficient way to keep everyone connected and on the same page as it updates files in real-time while allowing collaboration. Files can then be stored and exchanged in a central space to refer to them whenever they feel confused with their tasks.
8. Inefficient Risk Management
We mentioned earlier that changes in construction can’t be avoided and here are a lot of factors contributing to the need for change. The problem is that when changes are applied and new plans aren’t well-written, there is a big risk for the project to fail.
Solution: From the start, project managers should look far ahead in the future and consider being faced with change requests or change orders. A draft for risk management or mitigation should then be prepared so that the team can adjust smoothly when changes are needed to be done. Early and efficient planning is the key to effective risk management and preventing errors, delays, and over cost when changes happen.
9. No Teamwork
A construction project is the work of a whole team and not just a single person. That means teamwork is vital to achieving a good quality output. But with such a big worksite and so many stakeholders, it can’t be avoided that teamwork is lost along the process. Teams or individuals tend to work on their own without updating others about their progress. As a result, dependencies keep on waiting on each other to finish, wasting time continually checking for development at the site when it can be done conveniently when there is proper communication.
Solution: One of the project managers’ responsibilities is to break down barriers between crew members and stakeholders. An excellent team-building activity can be a way for each one to get along well with each other. Establishing clear communication between all workers can also help foster good teamwork amongst them.
10. Lack of Accountability
People want to be free from accountability because they think they need to answer their bosses when the project goes south. But without proper accountability, workers tend to relax, knowing that someone else will take the fall for them.
Solution: Make each member accountable for their tasks. This way, they will develop a sense of responsibility and be motivated to level up their skills to meet their bosses’ standards.
Managing a construction project is never an easy job. And talent and skills aren’t enough to handle all resources at the site. The challenges we listed are just some of the issues commonly dealt with by most project managers and there will still be more. Project managers should then have the patience and perseverance to resolve them all. An excellent project management tool can provide a big help in handling things more comfortably and more efficiently so that he can lead the whole team to achieve a successful project without being held back by these common problems on a construction site.
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