What do Construction Managers Really Do?
June 27th, 2022 in Construction Managemet
You probably know the fundamentals of managing construction: getting the work, and then doing it – successfully. To be a good construction manager, you need to manage cost, time, quality and safety, and mitigate any risks that might come with these factors to optimize project performance. But how do you do that? By ensuring you’re fulfilling the eight basic functions of the construction manager:
- Managing the project team – The project team performs all of the functions essential to finishing a project, so it goes without saying that good team management is also essential. This involves selecting the right workers, subcontractors, etc. and making sure that the team’s efforts are always aligned with the project’s overall goals. As anyone who’s been in a toxic job can tell you, it’s important to create a culture and working environment where every team member can excel and perform at their best.
- Performing pre-construction services – This is a really important function for good construction management, particularly with at-risk CM and design-build project delivery approaches. Pre-construction services happen at the design phase, when the construction manager helps the owner and design team by providing important input on material selection, costs, and constructability of the proposed design. Providing this early input makes it easier to anticipate challenges, and find efficiencies that generate greater value and save costs.
- Estimating the project – One of the most important construction management functions, an estimate involves the calculation and pricing of all materials, equipment and pricing needed to complete the work. As the project moves forward, construction managers should constantly compare the actual cost of the project with the estimate to make sure they’re staying on track.
- Administering the Contract – Contract administration deals with all of the documents that are needed to manage the business side of the construction project – things like reports, submittals, change orders, inspection records, etc. This usually involves a lot of paperwork, especially on complex projects, but this function is crucial for keeping the project on track in terms of cost, time and quality. Increasingly, construction managers are using software like BuildEnd and Procore, that keep all these essential project documents in one place and in the cloud, making them easily accessible from the job site and the office.
- Managing Job Site and Construction Operations – This is the actual “construction” part of construction management. A good construction manager has to consider all the logistics and every detail needed to get the work done – from tools and equipment to where workers should park when they get to the site.
- Planning and Scheduling the Project – A schedule orders all the project activities in the right sequence to get the project built. This real-time tool is shared with all the parties in the project to help them stay on the same track, and is monitored and adjusted throughout the construction process.
- Monitoring Project Performance – This is the process of controlling project performance by comparing two key components, cost and time, against what was originally estimated, and adjusting the plan when necessary to get the project back on track.
- Managing Project Quality – Quality standards are established early on, in the plans and specifications provided by the designer. It’s the construction manager’s responsibility to meet these specifications by putting in place a quality control plan, and ensuring that plan is followed. The quality control plan contains a number of quality measures that the contractor must ensure that they meet and document, so that the owner will accept their work.
- Managing Project Safety – Ensuring that everyone on the job site stays safe throughout the project is an incredibly basic but important part of the construction manager’s job. Accidents are costly both to people’s lives and the efficiency of the project; and a proactive and rigorous approach to safety makes sure that these avoidable costs will not occur.
- Assessing Project Risks – You probably know by now that construction is a risky business, for both the owner and the contractor. It’s important that everyone involved in a project takes on only the risks that they can manage. Once risks are identified and understood, they can be properly allocated to ensure reasonable schedules, estimates and management plans.