Ways to Track a Construction Project
It is well known in the industry that managing a construction project is often harder than in other fields. That is because there are many variables to take in account as well as things that can go wrong and derail the schedule, including machinery that doesn’t get on site on time or a storm that closes the site for one day or more. For all the managers reading this article, these few ideas below, should help you remain on track, as much as it is possible, on your next construction project.
Use Tools to Inform You on the Site’s Progress
Although it is never fun to keep an eye on your employees’ work, it is still something that needs to be done. A construction site can only get to its end, if certain elements are being monitored regularly. To that purpose, there is no other tool that can do this better than time lapse cameras for construction projects. You can position them at various locations on site, so that you get a daily view of how the project is coming along, in real-time. They are waterproof, so that they can remain in position at all time, with no energy issue, since they are fully self-sufficient and connected, enabling you to view the images on your PC or your mobile. As an added benefit, once the project is completed, you’ll be able to have the film of the whole construction process. Seen at high speed, it is quite impressive.
The other tools that you can use, are project management software. It really helps when it comes to scheduling tasks and distributing them to the various teams on the ground. By utilizing digital time cards, you always know precisely the number of hours an employee has worked. It also makes it much easier to communicate, as you can exchange documents through it. It also enables discussion between all parties involved. Since the files are exchanged via the software, it is easy to prove that they have been transferred to a person, or not, which can come in handy in moments of contestation by an employee.
Establish and Manage the Key Performance Indicators of Your Teams
To see the progress on a construction project, other than by looking at the structure going up, you should establish KPI (Key Performance Indicators) before you start. You will need to share that information with your teams, or at least with the leader from each one. Early in the process, you should be able to determine if these KPI were accurate, or if they were too optimistic. If all teams are not managing to reach the objectives determined through KPI, then you have probably been a bit euphoric, while writing them down. If it is just one or a few teams lagging behind, then the problem probably lies inside them. Analyze the decisions you have made and make new ones, if need be, right away. This will help to adjust to the issues you are facing. Otherwise, you could rapidly get behind on time constraints, and the project would find itself going off track.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
No, this title is not redundant. It only goes to show the importance of communication, on a construction site. No matter how great a manager you have been in the past, and how much experience you have, if you don’t get the information back from the source (the employees on the ground), you will end-up facing problems too late, when you could have seen them coming, if you only had your antennas up. A manager is there to make decisions, but he is not supposed to know everything. He only needs to be told all that goes on, so that he can make the right calls, in each situation.
The same should be said about the relationship with the client. Keeping him informed regularly will save you from having to go back on the work done, at any point in time, which no one wants to have to do. However, if you don’t take the time to inform the client on certain aspects, he may well be in his right to ask you to redo a part of the job, if it isn’t built according to the plan. And since there are always changes necessary to be made, once construction has started, keeping the client inform before moving on is the right and the only choice you can or should make.
Adapt the Crew and Machinery on the Ground in Real-Time
This might be the best trick that managers have, in order to stay in control of their project. When we plan, we always leave some room to potential situations we cannot imagine before they happen. But most of the time, as with real-life accidents, they come when we expect them the least. Therefore, being able to adapt as you go, is one of the biggest qualities a construction manager can have.