As a contractor, you’ve got to wear plenty of hats. You’re business manager, human resources manager, quality control person and keeper of the budget (just to name a few). Part of the job is knowing how to combine all of these roles to ensure smooth construction project management and happy customers. Poor management means dissatisfied customers, unhappy employees and possibly claims against your company. To avoid these hassles, take a look at our top five tips for smooth construction project management.
1) Be a team player
It sounds obvious, but working well within any kind of team is one of the most important aspects of being a good manager. Doing this starts with good communication between you, the architect/designer, the client, and your team. Ultimately, what it really comes down to is attitude. All the technology or software in the world won’t create a teamwork-friendly environment. Updating everyone working with you on each project’s status at regular intervals helps to create a predictable flow to teamwork and will avoid any potential frustration resulting from lack of understanding.
2) Budget smartly
Arguably the greatest complaint clients seem to have about construction contractors is that they go over budget. If you’ve had to explain a hundred times that this is a normal part of the process, join the growing ranks of other construction companies and contractors who budget for these costs from the beginning.
Try beginning realistically by adding 10% to the budget for unexpected costs. Explain to your customers that the budget includes this and hopefully, instead of having the “we need more money” conversation, you can have the “we actually finished under budget” conversation at the end of the job. That would make a great change.
3) Take design seriously from the start
Not every contractor is a designer, architect or engineer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep good design in mind on your projects. At the very least, advising clients to consult a professional designer before beginning major work can leave you with a happier client and a more predictable (and on budget) project.
Doing this can also help you to build trust. A client will feel more comfortable knowing that you’re happy to bring another person or firm into the project and work with them if needed. Without the comfort of trust, client worries can result in slow decision making, cost overruns, and major headaches.
4) Make and refer to a comprehensive list of goals
Most contractors and managers make lists, but making a comprehensive list, incorporating information on the priorities of the client, makes a big difference. Having important project information at your fingertips avoids having to turn to a client with questions about whether they would prefer one feature over another.
This can really cut down on the number of phone calls asking questions or requesting updates, and allows you to focus more on what you’re doing, leading to more efficient and better work.
5) Look at the big picture before starting a project
Before beginning any work, make sure you’ve taken a step back to consider all the wider construction implications. This can be anything from how drainage will affect a site, how an addition will affect the structural integrity of a building, or how green technologies might save money on the project.
These considerations can save amazing amounts of time and money in the long run. Because ultimately, having a clear idea of the bigger picture immensely helps with remembering details. Plus, catching a potential disaster before it occurs is a great way to build a good relationship with a client.