As a construction manager, you need to be efficient at construction project planning so that your projects are delivered within budget and on time. Not having a proper project plan in place can be a deadly mistake as it can lead to implementation or regulatory flaws and be extremely heavy on your pocket. In this article, we will talk about the five phases of construction planning.
What is construction planning?
The specific process that a construction manager utilises to lay out the actual steps and decide how they will manage and execute a project is known as construction planning. Construction planning spans from building design to the end of the project, listing all activities and schedules for each part of the construction project. The plan helps define the scope of work, sets realistic timelines, allocates resources, and establishes appropriate communication channels.
In other words, construction planning is creating a master plan that ensures that the entire project is running smoothly, meeting all deadlines, avoiding all safety hazards, adhering to budget constraints and sticking to quality standards. You can use construction software management for better management and control in construction planning.
Steps to the perfect planning in construction management
These steps will help you create the ideal planning in construction management to deliver a high-quality project within time and budget. Begin by:
Initiating the project: Project initiation begins by considering the project’s specificities. Every project, irrespective of its size, must start with laying out the feasibility and creating a Project Initiation Document (PID) that describes the people, resources and budget allocated for its completion. This step aims to outline for the stakeholders and crew what resources would be needed to complete the project. Many companies provide templates to help you in this phase. Our free project initiation document template will help you calculate the number of workers, including contractors and subcontractors needed for the completion, the materials you will need to substantiate your building plans and estimate the project’s total cost.
Creating the project plan: After completing your PID and turning it into the stakeholders, you will need to create a more concrete plan. Efficient project managers utilise the following acronyms to set goals. These acronyms are SMART and CLEAR. Here, SMART refers to specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Therefore, project managers need to set specific goals for the project, including specific deadlines for key milestones, agree upon how they will measure success for these goals, have a plan in place in case these goals are not achieved, ensure that these plans are within their abilities and realistically set out a specific time frame. Similarly, CLEAR stands for collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, and refinable. Hence, when making these plans, get everyone on board, limit these goals to both in terms of scope and time frame, ensure that your goals motivate your employees, break up big goals into small achievable tasks, and remain flexible throughout.
Executing the plan: When it is time to execute the plan, finally begin by creating a high-level project timeline so that critical deliverables and major milestones can be easily tracked. Once you have the timeline, you can map out the details of each project stage. Do not make the mistake of not discussing the project plan and construction schedule with your team. Talk to each person individually, if possible, so that all expectations are aligned, and no one is confused about the roles and responsibilities.
Tracking project progress: Without accurately tracking the performance of your construction project, you cannot ensure that you are meeting all the parameters you have developed. In fact, unsuccessful projects are usually taking place because managers do not take a deep dive into the data to figure out inconsistencies. On the other hand, successful construction project managers utilise Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure that the project is progressing as expected. The project objectives can include ensuring that you are going as per the schedule and within budget. Project performance can be tracked to highlight any unexpected obstacles. Similarly, you can even track the quality by ensuring that your crew is hitting the milestones or following the stage that you are in.
Closing out and evaluating the project: Just because you have successfully constructed your building does not mean the planning process has ended. There are many valuable lessons that can be uncovered from the project plan. If you have a construction project plan that is clearly defined, you will be able to track performance and uncover obstacles in your next project as you will be better equipped with the planning process. As you end the project, call in a final meeting with the crew to discuss how they performed so that you can conduct a brainstorming session on what could have been done better. This opportunity is priceless to collect insights that can help you augment your success in the next project.