4 Strategies of a Successful Construction Project Manager

Posted by Robert DeFalco on Sunday, August 27th, 2017 at 5:45pm.

The responsibilities of a construction project manager or CPM are far-reaching. They have the task of planning and implementing all of the long and short-term goals of a construction job. This means following each and every function done individual laborers from beginning to end to ultimately satisfy the needs of the customer. In order to be successful, the CPM must adhere to several mandatory components of the job they have to perform.

First, questions that directly pertain to the budget need to be asked. They are:
• Will the customer’s intended purpose for the construction serve them short-term or long-term?
• Is the customer on board with the changes fully and does the community support it?
• Is the scope of the job feasible from a financial perspective?
• Is the image of the CPM’s company at stake with the construction throughout any part of the process?

These questions should be answered with the help of independent counsel from a cost manager. They wear several hats as they work to satisfy the needs of the CPM. They have to know the economy in real time, by an expert estimator of costs per function, and continuously check and balance the books all the while using their best judgment as an engineer to analyze what activities need to take place on any given day and feed that information directly to the CPM. This individual needs to do research that is unbiased and fair to all sides involved in the construction project. He should be used throughout the entire process as an overseer of procedures to keep the project on track so that it does not change the answers to these questions along the way.
Overall, many successful construction projects have shown that when a CPM includes a qualified and efficient cost manager on the team, they get optimal results when it comes to the bottom line for their company and the customer.

This aspect of a CPM’s job is not only one of the most important, but if it not done correctly, it could lead to a domino effect with disastrous results in all aspects of the construction project.
So, CPM scheduling and planning must be detail-oriented and very strategic. There must be realistic goals set for each aspect of the construction project as well as accuracy in projecting deadlines for each area being developed within the scope of the project. This also means that a CPM must know when to ask the right questions of experts that he may need to consult to get the answers that any CPM is looking for to have successful project completion.
Remember that if a project is more complex, then a CPM needs more time to plan it out.

This includes specific CPM activities:
• Define the goals of the construction project
• Create project milestones ahead of time to set long-term goals
• Develop deliverables in a visual and tangible way of products and services throughout the process
• Assess any time restraints ahead of time and plan accordingly before they come up (Have a Plan B)
• Create a visual roadmap for everyone involved in the process can refer to and understand their role in the process
• Manage the quality of work so that it alleviates any unforeseen work stoppages
• Make sure to mete out the job site resources properly to avoid missing deadlines due to waiting on new resources to arrive

Whether a small project or one that is complex and daunting, a CPM should never take good communication on a construction project for granted. If there is a lack of communication on the part of the CPM with other workers on the team, including independent contractors who come and go on the job site, then there will inevitably be a chronic work stoppage because each person involved in the process does not understand their specific tasks and their role.
This means that the CPM must convey all the information about the project as early as possible to everyone it affects within the scope of the work that will be performed. This means sitting down and assessing beforehand who will be involved along the way and taking a meeting with all the stakeholders so no one is unaware of what they need to do when the time comes to continue the work at hand and all are in agreement about their responsibilities.

This may include having the following documents and forms ready for processing at any given time:
• Contracts for workers (both independent and employed by the CPM’s company): These will immediately establish in the mind of each person involved in the project what their duties are and how they need to accomplish them.
• Blueprints, drawings, and specifications: This gives everyone a visual perspective of the scope of the work and prompts any questions about duties, resources, and responsibilities from individuals involved in the project to ask up front and clarify before the work begins.
• Change Orders: These most often do not occur ahead of time, but the CPM need to make every person involved in the construction project aware of the perimeters of using these so that they do not rely on changing specifications instead of doing the job right the first and according to the master plan.

Assessing Progress
Once all the key players are in place and have fully established their role within the construction project, the CPM must make sure that everyone stays on track or the entire process will falter and every aspect of the plan will be affected. Sometimes, the elements that derail a project begin as minor problems and are exacerbated over time like not making sure that resources that are needed to complete a task are on hand before they are depleted. If this is occurring regularly and a CPM is not aware of it, the result will be a chronic work stoppage that makes the CPM appear to not have a handle on his own job site as well as ultimately affecting deadlines. Several areas of progress must be regularly checked and analyzed:

Budget Reports: Without question, this information must be assessed by the CPM on weekly and even a daily basis depending on the complexity of the job. It is best to bring in one or more experts in this area, (more than likely the cost manager), to help with identifying any budgetary issues that come up and resolving them quickly and efficiently before a deadline must be met.

Scheduling Reports: If these reports are analyzed on a daily basis, then a CPM can anticipate any potential work stoppage points along the way and remedy them before they occur by ordering necessary resources ahead of time. Also, if the CPM sees in the reports that a specific team or task is chronically falling behind in meeting the proposed deadlines, then it is the CPMs task to identify what the core of the issue is and root it out and fix it.

Contractor and Worker Progress: Communicating with each worker or team their progress throughout the process creates good morale and a better quality of the work performed. When workers see that a CPM is taking the time to observe what they do, analyze it, and suggest ways to improve upon it, then it speaks to caring about the completion of the job in the right way that spills over into the attitude of every worker. From the aspect of meeting deadlines and saving money, it will organically create these results with the proper implementation of progress checks.

Emily Kil is a professional blogger that writes about travel, family, and digital marketing. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and two dogs. When she’s not helping her husband with his bio hazard cleaning business, she’s RVing with her family around the USA. She’s driven across the country five times, including an epic trip to Alaska.

Robert DeFalco

Leave a Comment