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These are the Top 10 Construction Project Management Responsibilities

Construction project managers manage construction projects. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, few folks could reel off these professionals’ specific duties off the top of their heads: there are just too many. So, what do they do?

In this post, we’ll try to answer just that.

Here the top 10 project manager (PM) responsibilities on construction projects:

1. Planning

Planning is a vital part of any construction project. Poor planning is a recipe for missed schedules, blown budgets, and strained relationships. The project manager must establish what’s needed to complete the project on time and budget and plan their team’s tasks accordingly. They must plan:

  • personnel and subcontractors required for the project
  • materials and equipment needed to erect the building
  • the cost of labor, materials, and equipment
  • the correct sequence of construction activities
  • communications channels between various project stakeholders

There are many other things to consider during planning. To find out what they are, be sure to give our post on construction planning a read. 

2. Setting goals

It’s tough to reach goals when no one knows what they are. Successful construction projects rely on firm goals that are shared by the entire team. The PM must set them and plan activities around them. These goals may include:

  • creating a safety-conscious construction site
  • establishing quality standards
  • adhering to the budget and schedule
  • pursuing sustainability during construction

These, and many other objectives, are typically developed with the client and promulgated to the entire project team.

3. Manage personnel

Construction projects are unique because they convene many entities to collaborate on one venture. Each of these – contractors, subcontractors, consultants – must bear in mind the common goals we just discussed. The project manager keeps them all in check. On construction projects, this person (or company) takes on many roles often handled by HR departments. Namely:

  • hiring,
  • supervising,
  • disciplining, and
  • terminating staff

Personnel management is not a peripheral task – project managers must handle these duties with care to optimize productivity on the construction site, and solicit top performance from the entire team.

4. Stay on budget

Construction developments are expensive, and owners often take significant risks when funding these ventures. It’s no surprise that few things are as dear to a client’s heart as their budget.

Keeping a project within the budget involves numerous strategies, such as:

  • set a realistic expenditure limit as early in the project as possible
  • avoid uncontrolled growth of scope in the project
  • avoid costly delays and changes to the project
  • gather the project’s real-time financial data to track its performance

And there are many more. These tasks all fall on the project manager’s ongoing to-do list.

5. Deliver on schedule

Prompt delivery just as vital as sticking to a budget. Late projects incur extra costs and fail to generate revenue within the plotted timeframe. To ensure swift completion, a project manager must:

  • prepare preconstruction and project schedules
  • set timeframes for consultants
  • establish construction milestones
  • evaluate the critical path in the construction schedule
  • monitor the project’s progress against its baseline schedule
  • react quickly to problems
  • pursue fitting strategies to get the project back on track
6. Resolve disputes

With so many stakeholders involved, it’s natural for disputes to arise. When no one mediates these with the project’s goals in mind, the discord can turn caustic and pose an obstacle to success. A seasoned project manager will guide disputes to a prompt resolution early as they come up so they don’t grow into larger obstacles than they need to be. 

7. Draft contracts

On projects large and small, contractors, subcontractors, and consultants sign contracts amongst themselves and the project’s owner. How this happens varies based on the project delivery method and contract type. In all cases, the PM must review each contract and ensure the correct wording.

8. Ensure effective communication between all stakeholders

With their multiple moving pieces, construction projects need a thorough communication strategy to ensure that the owner, consultants, and contractors stay in the loop. Setting up these communication channels is a vital duty of any project manager, who must:

  • establish a chain of command
  • choose the right means of communication for each aspect of the project, such as RFIs, drawings, substitution requests, and meetings;
  • ensure that all communication is concise and clear to all parties
  • keep written record of all exchanges and correspondence
9. Allocate and manage risk

Construction projects face various risks, such as feasibility, design, funds, safety, and force majeure. From design, through execution, to project close, the project manager must find hazards, create a plan to manage them, and allot enough funds to avert surprises.

Large, complex projects may have a dedicated risk manager, but the entire project team should follow sound risk management practices to ensure success.

10. Ensure quality of work

Along with time and money, quality is one of the 3 pillars of any construction project. Owners expect a certain level of quality, and these expectations form a part of the builder’s contractual obligations. While everyone from laborer to architect of record answers for quality within their purview, the project manager oversees quality on a broader scale. Here’s how they do it:

  • set sensible expectations for vendors and subcontractors
  • implement a strict protocol for change orders and substitution requests
  • inspect work frequently
  • repair deficiencies without delay
  • protect completed work from weather, fires, and vandalism
  • hire reputable contractors and subs
  • invest in quality materials and equipment

Conclusion

With so many responsibilities, a project manager’s job comes with a heavy burden. And these are just the top 10 duties. In reality, these experts handle so much more; they’re the project’s central nervous system. Hiring a professional to oversee these tasks, and many more is a firm first step to ensuring your project’s success.

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