Learn the basics of construction management: its definition, advantages, functions, phases, and some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about this process.
Published 15 Aug 2022
| By Kevin Gausch, Leizel Estrellas
Construction management is a professional service involving oversight and control over tasks and activities in the construction phase. Typically handled by a Construction Manager (CM), it covers all essential elements of the construction process, including its schedule, cost, quality, function, and safety. This service is ideal for large-scale construction projects such as industrial facilities, commercial properties, transportation infrastructure, and other capital projects.
Construction management aims to deliver high-quality construction projects in the allotted time and budget while meeting safety standards and the owner’s expectations. It establishes systems and procedures to ensure all construction activities are completed according to plan.
For this to work, the CM collaborates with all key stakeholders involved in the project: owners, architects, engineers, and general contractors. They are also responsible for the following tasks:
In other words, construction management handles all aspects of construction work to guarantee its success and satisfy the client’s requirements.
Aside from the project owner, the top-level aspect of a construction project often involves two key players: the project manager (PM) and the construction manager (CM). These people work alongside each other to plan and coordinate tasks and provide status updates to the owner. While their jobs overlap with one another, there are striking differences between their duties.
The table below compares construction management and project management in terms of their scope, purpose, the expertise required, and responsibilities.
Mainly concerned with the construction phase
It goes without saying that effective management is crucial when handling construction works, but how exactly does it benefit construction projects?
The primary strength of construction management lies in organizing workflows to ensure that tasks and activities go according to plan. This practice promotes a systematic order of carrying out jobs while avoiding disjointed processes. The latter, according to the most recent McKinsey Global Construction Productivity Survey, is one of the main drivers of poor construction performance. In other words, construction management improves overall productivity and boosts project performance.
The advantages of construction management also flow into other aspects of the construction process. In particular, it helps construction teams:
Construction management consists of the following functions and tasks to fulfill the objectives and requirements of the construction project:
In the planning phase, the CM develops a construction management plan comprising all relevant information about the construction project. It informs project teams and stakeholders about the owner’s vision and goals for the project and guides them throughout the construction process.
In addition, the CM also carries out the following activities:
The preconstruction phase includes all necessary preparations before proceeding with the construction itself. The hiring process begins in this phase as the CM works hand in hand with the PM to choose the members of the construction teams.
Moreover, the CM also compiles the required documents for building permits and contractor bids, such as technical specifications, design drawings, and contracts for construction management.
In this phase, the CM plans the procurement procedure for the construction equipment and materials in line with the project’s budget and schedule. During bidding, the CM will review all submitted proposals and negotiate the best terms for the construction’s goals and targets.
As mentioned in the previous sections, the bulk of the CM’s work goes into the construction phase. The CM pays close attention to the following construction activities to make sure the project runs smoothly and gets delivered as planned:
This phase marks the completion of the construction project, but the CM’s responsibilities are far from over. In the close-out phase, the CM accomplishes all items in the construction punch lists. They must also observe a smooth turnover to the project owner by submitting project documents, manuals, ledgers, and reports for the owner’s reference.
The complexity of tasks in managing construction projects calls for efficient solutions to simplify and keep track of these processes effectively. Listed below are some of the most common tools used in construction management.
A daily construction log provides basic information about the day-to-day site operations of construction workers. It outlines relevant tasks, updates, issues, and other essential details for coordinating effectively across different workstreams. Some examples of daily logs include the following:
A construction field report—also known as a site report, progress report, and inspection report—is a document created during routine site inspections. Through this document, stakeholders can have a clear overview of status updates, tasks, changes, and other relevant information observed in the construction premises.
With accurate field reports, construction teams can identify deficiencies before they worsen, avoid miscommunication among parties, and reduce construction delays.
To keep up with the increasing industry demands, construction managers have utilized the power of modern technology. A dedicated construction management software, in particular, is an excellent tool for digitizing time-consuming manual processes. This tool offers features to assist CMs in planning, scheduling, cost, and scope management.
With the help of this software, CMs can save time and effort from performing repetitive tasks and recalibrate their focus on the management aspect of construction.
Listed below are the challenges and risks that construction managers typically face during the construction process:
A construction manager (CM) oversees the entire construction work to ensure that the project meets its target schedule, budget, and quality standards. To achieve this goal, a CM performs the following tasks:
Construction management requires the following skillsets:
Project management revolves around handling and organizing tasks, activities, and procedures throughout the construction lifecycle. It aims to accomplish construction projects efficiently and in line with the owner’s goals by managing its cost, scope, and schedule.
This method goes hand in hand with construction management, which primarily deals with the construction process itself.
Construction management is vital to the success of construction projects. However, it is not an easy undertaking, as it demands a lot of planning and coordination for it to work. Aside from this, manual processes also slow down the pace of the construction project, for these reports, inspection forms, and other paperwork take a long time to complete.
For this reason, construction managers turn to reliable software programs such as iAuditor by SafetyCulture to optimize these tasks. iAuditor is a simple and easy-to-use construction management software for scheduling tasks, documenting progress, and meeting project targets on time. With iAuditor, construction teams can:
You can also use the following checklists for documenting construction tasks:
Kevin has a Lean and Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University and Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence through ASQ with a focus on the construction industry. Kevin has 13 years of Quality and Project Management experience in the utility contractor space, including; electric transmission, distribution and substation, gas distribution and pipeline, and telecommunications, both inside and outside plant. 16 years of construction experience overall.
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