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Unpacking the 5 principles of construction

When it comes to construction, a comprehensive set of skills will be required. This is what is required.

When it comes to construction project management, a comprehensive set of skills will be required from project managers. Having an arsenal of both soft and hard skills is a must, as project managers in the construction industry will have to rely on their interpersonal skills and technical knowledge in order to successfully bring a project to completion. Combining this vast set of skills with the principles of project management will give project managers the tools they need in order to be able to forecast any issues that may arise as well as ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.

What is construction management?

Construction project management or construction management (CM) is the process of planning, coordinating, monitoring and controlling a construction project. The individual responsible for overseeing this process is known as the construction manager, and it is his or her  job to ensure the smooth sailing of the construction project.

There are multiple types of construction projects that fall under different categories that a construction manager can oversee, such as industrial, civil, commercial, environmental, and residential projects. Each category of project has its own way of running things, but they will all still follow the same construction management methodology or the principles of construction.

The principles of construction project management

Following the principles of construction management means following the project phases to a T to ensure that the project is a success. In order to build an effective project plan for your construction project, you will ’ll need to understand the construction process. Below are the five basic phases in the construction project management process, also known as the principles of construction management.

The initiation phase

The first phase in the construction project lifecycle is the initiation phase. This is one of the most important aspects of the construction management process as it includes all the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to successfully bring your project to fruition. Without a thoroughly executed initiation phase, construction managers may fall victim to taking on a project that is not at all feasible and suffer the consequences of improper planning and the lack of due diligence.

During this initial phase, the construction manager will define the project’s objectives and feasibility; an important part, if not the most important part, of the entire project. After the construction project has been deemed feasible and the objectives have been defined, the construction manager will then outline the steps that are needed to take in order to lead the project to a successful outcome. Once everything has been decided, a project initiation document (PID) will be created. The PID provides the framework for the construction plan and is one of the most important documents involved in a construction project.

The design phase

The second phase in the construction process is the design phase. In this phase, the project owner and the construction manager will work together in order to develop plans and outline details regarding the construction project. It is essentially the construction manager’s role to take the client’s idea and turn it into a feasible plan. There will be certain critical decisions and developments that occur during this phase that will set the tone and scope of work for the rest of the project. This phase of the construction project also signifies the start of the bidding process once it has been completed.

The preconstruction phase

In the preconstruction phase, a roadmap will be created in order to outline in detail the steps that are needed to complete the project. This is where the construction manager will decide on what and who they need in order to complete the project. Some of the tasks involved in this phase include;

  • Defining and allocating
  • Creating mini-
  • Creating timelines and
  • Distributing tasks among
  • Mapping out work and activities through work breakdown structures so that everyone is aware of what is expected of them and when it is
  • Completing a risk assessment analysis.

As you can see, in this phase, construction managers lay out the scope of work and breaks it down into achievable tasks that are then distributed to the appropriate resources.

The procurement phase

In this phase, it’s all about getting everything you need in order to complete the project. Construction managers will source, purchase, and arrange transport for all the materials and services that are required during the project. It’s important to note that there may be price increases and unforeseen delays during this phase, so it’s important to ensure that thorough planning is done beforehand and that there are backup measures in place.

The construction phase

The construction manager has made the plan, relayed the plan to all the resources involved, and gathered all the materials that are needed in order to complete the project. Now it’s time to start the construction process. The construction manager’s job doesn’t stop here, though. They will need to oversee the entire construction process and deal with any roadblocks or issues that may arise in a timely manner in order to keep the project on schedule and within budget. When dealing with any project, the chances of something going wrong when you least expect it is not unlikely, which is why it’s of utmost importance that the construction manager goes to site and speaks to his resources in order to try and mitigate the risks that come from managing a construction project, whether it’s  on a small-scale or large-scale.

Once the construction is complete, hopefully on time and within budget, the last thing to do is let the client know and give them a breakdown of the entire process. If adequate planning had taken place, the project should have been completed with little to no major disruptions, and if not, those disruptions would have been swiftly dealt with so as not to affect the project’s timeline.

Final words

When it comes to successfully completing a construction project, these principles and phases will help any construction manager reach their goals of a successful project outcome, no matter the size of the project. Give yourself the skills and tools you need in order to thrive in the construction industry as a construction manager by signing up for an online construction management course, and learn all the tips and tricks of the trade so you can better both yourself and your team.

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