Project managers are responsible for keeping a site running smoothly, safely, within schedule, and on budget. They have to ensure that everyone has what they need to complete and deliver the construction project on time.
A study by Mckinsey says that 98% of construction projects go over-budget and 77% of them endures delays. Reasons for these delays may vary as per project working conditions.
Stakeholders including the property owner, lenders, suppliers, and subcontractors have different aspects and interests that come in the way of the project. Besides this, the project manager faces issues like government regulations and unfavorable weather conditions causing further delays.
In this blog post, you will get to know more about construction project management challenges and How to deal with those challenges? Before going deeper, let’s understand the basic concept of construction project management.
What is project management in a construction project?
Project management is the art of managing human & material resources till the project ends by utilizing modern management methods to achieve predetermined goals. Now expand this definition to construction project management, wherein a project manager utilizes the same model to achieve predetermined goals, and complete the project on scheduled time, only in the construction context.
#1 Lack of Well-Defined Goals
The first and common construction project management challenge is undefined goals. Sometimes stakeholders (property owners or subcontractors) don’t have a clear idea about what exactly they want, or sometimes they can’t agree. It becomes like going on a road trip without knowing the destination. Without clear goals, you end up wasting time, resources, and hence delaying the schedule.
However it is a big challenge, but it can be resolved. The general goal of every construction project is to complete the project on a scheduled time. These goals can be achieved with proper planning, execution, decision-making structure, and task delegation throughout the project.
To avoid this, project managers have to be proactive in asking the right question from the client or contractor and get them agreed on goals.
#2 Budget Limitations
In the construction sector, it is common that projects go over-budget. Here, construction project managers are responsible to set a reasonable expectation for cost overruns and make reconciliation to ease and manage them. A miscalculation, lack of proper supervision, or poor verdict can result in the collapse of the project.
The project budget is mainly determined based on stakeholder expectations and project requirements. So first ensure that the project deliverables are clearly identified. Environmental considerations, resource and labor shortage, currency exchange, etc. are the budget factors that a project manager can not control. To avoid over-budgeting of projects, keep an eye on the budget constantly.
#3 Poor Communication
Communication is the primary professional tool for the smooth running of any project. Lack of proper communication results in missing out on the important task and the team remains unaware of the issue until it’s too late to rectify it.
To face such challenges, every project manager must enact clear guidelines and set up a ladder that informs the team about progress or obstacles at the end of each day. This allows the team to early identify the issues and rectify them on time. Cloud-based project document management & coordination tools could be an excellent tool to ensure clear communication amongst various project teams.
#4 Unrealistic Expectations
Some clients and stakeholders can make unreasonable requests like completing projects on an accelerated schedule or limiting the budget allotment. These unrealistic expectations and unreasonable requests are the biggest moral and productivity killers.
At that time project managers should advocate for the team and respond to unrealistic expectations after communicating with the team’s feedback.
#5 Time Management
Many stakeholders deem time constraints as the biggest issue resulting in defective designs, high accident rates, and loss in revenue. Contractors can cut corners to catch up on missed deadlines to avoid further delays and higher costs.
Project managers need to focus on tackling different variables that cause delays and design workflows to meet up the requirements. To face this challenge proper project scheduling and tracking methods need to be used.
#6 Limited Skills
In the construction industry, people tend to work with people they can trust and know. People who know how to work together can form an incredibly efficient team. But the skill gap in the team could cause some delays.
Be aware of these skills gaps before they directly or indirectly impact the project. Once you detect these gaps, fill them as soon as possible.
#7 Lack of Structure
Without clear targets or work responsibilities, it’s difficult to get things done efficiently. A construction project can go over-budget or delayed if people don’t have a target to hit (Lack of structure).
Performance management is one of the key aspects of construction project management. For better performance management and to keep everyone on task, they all need clear tasks to perform. Split bigger goals into smaller and daily targets for every individual. Keep them accountable through set processes. This way you can keep everything in order.
#8 Inadequate Risk Management
Another common construction project management challenge is managing risk that requires an adequate skill set. The project manager has the responsibility to identify potential problems and find ways to mitigate them. Without preparatory risk management and project analysis, the project will go over budget or delayed.
#9 Delayed Cash Flow
The construction business works with the invoicing system and can result in payment delays. And if payments fall behind, it negatively impacts a company’s cash flow. This can in turn dry up a wall of funds for other projects and cause delays.
Therefore, the invoicing system needs to be evolved. With hybrid software technology and auto follow through, construction companies can ensure that cash flow does not affect other projects negatively.
#10 Safety Issues
Worker safety is a big afflict to the construction industry. Workplace injuries and illness count has remained constant for many years. It must be the top priority for a business owner to take care of worker’s safety and protect them against accidents and injuries.
One way to keep workers safe is possible by regularly training them about safety. Accidents are preventable when safe work practices are strictly enforced. Also, the commitment towards worker safety can improve the company’s reputation.
The main challenge for every construction project management system is to complete the project on schedule and within the predefined budget. To face these challenges you have to invest a little of your time in building a better & efficient team, and adopting technological advancement (like integrating construction cameras) to make the workflow easier, better communication, & easy cash flow, etc.