Project Management Tips - Managing Productivity in the Construction Industry

Project Management Tips - Managing Productivity in the Construction Industry

16th December 2014

Construction projects are usually complex and the person responsible for the overall management is the project manager who will oversee all aspects of the project.  For a project to come in on time and on budget, managing and maintaining productivity is essential at all times. 

A construction project needs to run according to a strict time schedule and any delays will not only lead to financial costs but could have a negative impact on key players across the supply chain.

 If a construction project suffers a loss of momentum in one area, it is almost inevitable that there will be delays in another area.  For example, if the shell of a building is not completed at the right time, then the next set of workers/contractors will have to be rescheduled. 

This means a small army of electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators will need to rearrange their respective schedules.  Many of these workers will be self-employed or small traders which means that they may need to delay work they have arranged to do for other clients.  They may also be faced with several days of no work (and therefore, no pay) while waiting for the go-ahead on your project – this can be particularly difficult for small businesses and could lead to financial hardship or even bankruptcy.  Likewise any delay in delivery of materials may lead to delay in activities and work, resulting in a knock on effect which the project may take weeks to recover from, if at all.

With so many elements necessary for a building project to be undertaken successfully, there are a number of factors that may hinder productivity.  These include an unskilled or poorly motivated workforce – this covers not just the tradespeople involved, but also architects, designers and project managers.  Other key factors that could cause delays are building permits, lack of compliance with local regulations or cash flow.

This is where the project manager comes in – it is his/her responsibility to make sure that all of the necessary elements work in unison in a complex undertaking.  An experienced and competent project manager will have the skills necessary to understand how all of the key factors correlate and to anticipate issues that could cause delays.  A skilled project manager will:

  • Ensure that all permit requests are submitted well in advance.
  • Make sure the correct quantities of materials have been ordered to be delivered on the appropriate dates.
  • Inspect goods delivered to site to ensure that quantities are correct and that goods are of good quality and free from defects.
  • Ensure that the budget is realistic for the project at hand and that it is being adhered to.

The project manager is responsible for making sure that everybody on the team knows his role and carries it out effectively.  The specific responsibilities will differ from one project to another, but the following ones are common to all projects:

  • Developing a project plan
  • Managing the stakeholders in the project
  • Managing the project team
  • Managing communications
  • Managing the project risk
  • Managing the project schedule
  • Managing the project budget
  • Managing conflicts that may arise
  • Managing the project delivery