The Evolving Role of the Project Manager in Construction
An expert project manager no longer simply focuses on tactics. Today’s project manager must be strategic with the ability to manage issues at a high level, deal with advanced technology, and provide innovative solutions. The decisions of the project manager will impact overall cost, scheduling, quality, labor, and profitability.
The role of a project manager in construction has evolved and is now much more proactive. The project manager must have the ability to predict unforeseen issues that may impact production. They may be involved earlier in the project design phase and manage interactions between systems. Understanding new techniques, collaborating with planners, and communicating with various teams are all necessities.
As a project manager, you are tasked with making sure the job comes in at or below budget with very few cost overruns. Selecting materials, hiring crews, renting needed equipment, and anything else that affects the bottom line must be paid close attention. During the bidding process for jobs, either public or private, having incorrect information will sink the job before it even starts.
In addition to financial considerations, there are deadlines, timelines, and schedules to account for as well. In the construction industry, time is money. Overtime pay for crews, delayed work phases due to weather, or missing supplies can wreak havoc on a budget.
Not that a project manager has any control of the weather. However, they can plan for other issues that might appear during a job. That’s why an experienced project manager is so valuable at the start of the job. Mitigation for these problems can be built into the budget.
The size and scope of the project also play a part when planning a budget. If large stormwater systems are required, does it make sense to go with pour-in-place concrete or other materials like precast concrete or steel?
Will waiting for the forms to be built, concrete poured, and concrete to strengthen make up for the cheaper materials? Or will installing precast concrete pieces save enough time to recoup the upfront cost? A project manager doesn’t need to be an accountant. But they should know how to create an accurate budget forecast.
As the construction market continues to gain strength, securing vendors, sub-contractors, and other crewmembers is a huge concern. Putting major aspects of a project on hold because plumbers weren’t scheduled is an unnecessary delay that should never happen.
Project planning coordination also applies to materials arriving on-site when needed. This could include ordering supplies for delivery well before they are needed (and eating any addition to cost for storage). In the concrete example above, using precast buried infrastructure can cut installation time by at least 50 percent. That could be an immense help to the overall project.
Every job is different of course, but the construction process is relatively the same. Planning, excavation, grading, foundations, walls, wiring and so forth follow a certain schedule. There are a lot of moving parts on a construction site. With proper time management, one phase should never hold up the next.
Before any construction activities can begin, even the ceremonial first shovel turn of dirt, a project requires a certain amount of investigation. In many cases, a general contractor will inspect a piece of land to make sure it meets zoning requirements, size constraints, and proper easements.
Understanding building codes, completing the permitting process, and other jurisdictional requirements need to be satisfied during the pre-construction period. Halfway through completing the project is no time to be hit with a surprise work stop order because a form was filled out incorrectly.
There are many factors when getting a parcel of land ready for construction. Will the land be able to handle additional water runoff created by parking lots or other hardscaping? Has environmental mitigation been considered for wetlands? Even something as rare as the height of the building affecting nearby landing strips for airplanes need to be researched.
This can happen in any size job – from a 2,500 square foot residential home to a 50,000 square foot industrial facility. Regulations are put into place to protect the environment, neighboring parcels, and a host of other reasons. As a project manager, you need to make sure plans, permits, and other paperwork are easily accessible but crewmembers as well as public officials.
Although most manufacturing plants have safety protocols in place for day-to-day operations, risk management is also the name of the game during construction. In fact, construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to work. That’s why safety vests and hard hats are required on almost all large-scale projects.
Working at great heights, lifting tons of material or equipment, or installing gas lines can make for an almost literal minefield. The project manager is responsible for making sure everyone on site follows safety precautions, including civilians, inspectors, and even passersby.
Workers across all industries are entitled to a safe work environment as required by law – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act enacted in 1970. Certainly, a construction site holds more danger than an office building, but safety best practices must still be put in place and followed by all.
As a conduit for the general contractor or owner of the building and the rest of the crew, the project manager must be a master communicator. Status reports, project updates, or problems at the site need to be communicated clearly with all interested parties.
Project managers need to be versatile, available, and adaptable to any situation that could occur. Just as an experienced project manager recognizes issues during the planning stage, they should be able to act fast when unforeseen problems inevitably occur. They may even need to jump in and get their hands dirty once in a while.
Project Managed for Success
The role of the project manager is critical to preventing cost overruns, design errors, material waste, and schedule delays which all contribute to financial risk. An industrial contractor with experienced project managers works closely with you on your project. They can offer increased resources, services, and expertise that comes from working in a variety of industries. With special skill sets and capabilities, they can manage the most demanding projects and complex facilities.
An industrial contractor managing the project can also prevent delays by coordinating the work of multiple subcontractors. By involving subcontractors and material suppliers earlier in the process, interactions are streamlined. Building collaborative teams and effective project schedules address solutions before problems occur.
This can mean the difference between success and failure.
Take Advantage of Project Experience
Advanced manufacturing depends on the improved responsiveness, flexibility, and infrastructure quality as well as resource efficiency resulting in reduced costs. Take advantage of the expertise and innovation your industrial facilities contractor can provide for improved project management and reduced project costs.
Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas manufacturers contact Storee for experienced project management of industrial construction projects. This includes new building construction, modifications to existing manufacturing facilities, production and conveyor equipment installations, and custom metal fabrication for industrial specific applications.
Contact Storee at 888-736-2032 to discuss your project with a Storee project manager.