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The ultimate guide to successful construction project management

Micke Paqvalén
02 February, 2024

Keeping your team cohesive and on track, the client satisfied and in the loop, and your CEO happy with the progress, the project manager can often feel like the linchpin of construction endeavors. 

Client not happy with the progress? The project manager has to smooth things over. Divisions within the team? It’s up to the project manager to fix it. From managing resources to fixing problems, the construction project manager has a lot to do.

This may seem like a lot of different things to manage - a lot of different responsibilities to take on. But don’t worry! This article will cover everything you need to know for successful construction project management. That includes the 5 biggest challenges you may face, planning tips, key strategies, and more.


Key takeaways on how to successfully manage a construction project

While the rest of this article will go into detail on how to ensure you successfully manage any construction project thrown your way, here are some of the key things to keep in mind.

Plan and estimate everything, and continuously improve your forecasting 

Keep your communication & collaboration tight and simple

Document everything, and stay organized

Stay open and honest by keeping clients in the loop

Make use of digital tools


What is construction project management?

Construction project management is the profession of managing construction projects - with the key thing here being “projects” - plural.

Across all industries, project managers typically handle anywhere between 2-5 projects at once, although it’s not unusual for a project manager to be focusing on just one project for some time - and construction project management is no different.

This means a construction project manager needs to be able to manage and work with almost every key player in a construction project, as well as control most aspects of the project such as:

  • Strategic planning
  • Resource allocation
  • Budget management
  • Risk management
  • Internal and external communication
  • Scheduling and project time management
  • Quality control
  • Ensuring safety

The main types of construction projects

There are four general categories that most projects fall into:

- Residential construction

Probably one of the first types most people think of when they hear “construction”, residential construction is all about creating housing and living spaces. These projects can vary greatly in scope and size, from single-family homes to multi-unit developments, or sometimes simple renovations and extensions.

Project management for residential construction often comes with fewer regulations and smaller projects, it can be a good place to start as a new construction project manager, picking up all the necessary skills for bigger and more complex projects.

- Commercial construction

Often a step up in scale from residential projects, commercial construction involves the development of structures for business or other commercial purposes. This includes a lot of different types of projects, such as office buildings, retail spaces, hotels, restaurants, and more.

- Infrastructural construction

A whole different sector, infrastructural construction is the realm of public facilities and essential structures - the things that are the backbone of our communities and countries. 

This means projects related to transportation, utilities, and public services, building things like roads, bridges, water treatment plants, and airports. 

One thing to keep in mind is that infrastructural projects often involve collaboration with government agencies, meaning a deeper adherence to strict safety standards, protocol, and additional considerations for environmental impact.

- Industrial construction

Although some could argue this sector is a form of commercial construction, the very specific types of projects in industrial construction easily make it a unique category. 

Industrial construction projects are those related to manufacturing, processing, and heavy industries, meaning projects typically include building things like factories, warehouses, power plants, and refineries. 

These types of projects often require specialized knowledge of manufacturing processes, unique safety protocols, and compliance with industry-specific regulations. 


What should your construction project management team look like?

Depending on the size of your company and the project, there are quite a few different team members you’ll want to work beside you as a project manager. 

A project owner

Also known as the client, the project owner is the person paying for the project, and the one who will own the result of whatever you build.

The project owner is responsible for creating the overall goals of the project and providing the necessary financial resources. 

They are often the only nonprofessionals involved, however, as the person paying the bills, the project owner plays a crucial role in decision-making and is usually the person with the final call.


A project manager - to keep the ship sailing

As discussed, a solid, reliable construction project manager is vital to the success of not only a construction project but multiple projects across a construction firm.

Overseeing both the day-to-day operations and the overall strategy for the business, the project manager must coordinate various tasks across projects to ensure that everything stays on schedule and within budget. 

This usually involves working closely with field managers and on-site teams to ensure they have everything they need behind the scenes to complete the project, along with regularly meeting with the CEO and the client to communicate crucial updates.

Essentially being the primary point of contact for everyone involved in the project, the project manager must carefully balance looking after each team member, as well as the client to keep everyone aligned with the project's goals.


A field manager - for everything on-site

For many construction firms, the field manager and project manager may well be the same person, given that in the UK most firms have an average of 3 or fewer employees, and in the USA the average is 10 employees or less.

Despite this, the field manager is often a separate role from the project manager, as it includes a more niche set of responsibilities. Where the project manager must oversee multiple projects, manage on-site and off-site teams, and plan budgets, the field manager is in charge of the day-to-day running of the site.

Because of this, field managers are typically assigned to a single project, and are responsible for all the employees and equipment on-site.

This means solving disputes within teams, ensuring a high standard of safety and construction quality, and sourcing the correct resources. It also involves working with the project manager to keep the project on schedule, working with off-site teams, and keeping the client happy and updated with progress.

Much of this boils down to establishing good coordination within the on-site team and liaising with the overall project manager. This helps to establish smooth collaboration between workers onsite and any off-site personnel, as well as the client.


General contractors - to get things built

With all the planning and organizing completed, someone has to put shovels in the ground and start building - these guys are your general contractors.

The hands-on builders of the construction project, are responsible for executing the construction plan, managing subcontractors, and ensuring that all construction activities align with the project specifications. 

General contractors play a key role in coordinating the workforce, sourcing materials, and maintaining quality standards throughout the construction process - when the field manager or project manager decides what resources are needed, they are usually informed by the general contractors, given they are the ones who will be using said resources.


Construction subcontractor - for specialist work

Depending on what you’re building, not every set of skills you need will be held by someone inside your construction firm. This is where subcontractors come in.

They are brought in for specialized tasks and trades that you cannot complete with in-house talent, bringing specific skills and knowledge to the project.

These specialized aspects include things such as electrical work, plumbing, or HVAC installations. Collaborating with skilled subcontractors ensures that each facet of the construction process is executed with precision and meets industry standards.


How to nail the construction bidding process

Before you can start working on a project, you need to win the bidding first. A big part of the project manager’s role is to help win new projects and clients, and in construction, the bidding process is one of the main ways to do it.

But how do you create winning bids?

There are a few different elements to creating a successful construction bidding strategy.

The first thing to do is get to grips with the project requirements of whatever you’re bidding for - this involves meticulously reviewing project specifications, plans, and additional documentation, making sure you know the project better than the client. 

By knowing everything there is to know, you are well-informed to create every other aspect of your bid to the highest level. The first element is creating an accurate cost estimation. Giving a fair or “cheap” price isn’t always enough - clients will want to see a detailed breakdown encompassing materials, labor, equipment, and overhead costs so they know exactly where their money is going. 

You’ll also want to make sure the project is profitable before you submit a bid, so make sure to consider potential risks and uncertainties when pricing.

With a fair price set, it’s time to sell yourself. Demonstrating expertise and experience further strengthens your bid, so make sure to highlight your company's qualifications, successful past projects, and certifications to instill confidence in the client. Later sections discussing the post-construction phase are especially important here, as establishing good relationships with clients and potential clients can help you build a great reputation, as well as get referrals.

Finally, craft a clear and convincing proposal addressing client requirements comprehensively, outlining your approach, timeline, and project milestones to showcase your team's unique value and commitment to exceeding expectations. 

To make it easier for you we've created a construction bidding checklist down below. If you'd like to learn more about the bidding process check out our in-depth guide.

Construction Bidding Checklist_1620 x 1620

The major types of construction contracts worth knowing

There are lots of different types of contracts in construction, all serving very specific purposes. Before we go into the main different types of contracts, there is an important category distinction worth noting.

Most types of construction contracts fall into one of two types: building contracts vs general contractor contracts. The main difference between these is that for a building contract, the contractor is directly responsible for the actual construction, while in a general contractor contract, the client is hiring your services for the management of the project.

Because of this, as a project manager, you’re most likely to sign general contractor contracts with clients and give building contracts to any subcontractors you may need on a project.

With that being said, here is a brief list of the main types of contracts you need to know about:

  1. Fixed-price construction contracts: Also known as “lump sum” contracts, these contracts involve agreeing to complete well-defined smaller projects for a fixed price.
  2. Cost-plus construction contracts: This is where clients pay actual costs on top of a predetermined fee, helping in projects with larger scope and more vague project goals.
  3. Time and material contract: Perfect for uncertain projects, clients directly pay for labor hours, material costs, and a contractor's markup, but no upfront fee.
  4. Unit price construction contracts: A Unit Price Construction Contract divides the project into set “units”, and prices each part distinctly.
  5. Design-build construction contracts: A contract for both designing and construction.
  6. Construction management contracts: These contracts are specifically for construction managers to oversee large, complex projects.
  7. Joint ventures: This is for when multiple contractors need to collaborate on a project.
  8. Guaranteed maximum price contracts: Also known as GMP contracts, these contracts establish that contractors will not exceed a specified maximum price, which will be the billable amount.
  9. Incentive-based construction contracts: This contract offers financial rewards to contractors whenever they achieve project goals.

For a full breakdown, make sure to check out our in-depth article on construction contracts.


What are the 5 stages of construction projects?

Construction projects can take a while and have many different steps - in the USA the average construction time for residential buildings is roughly 17 months and can vary greatly.

Once the preconstruction phase is completed, you will go through multiple unique stages of the project, each with its challenges and objectives.

1. Initiation phase - Starting the project

Essentially the bidding phase and its associated steps, the initiation stage involves finding the project, or on the client’s side creating the project, and beginning to establish the project's purpose, scope, objectives, and feasibility. 

Once you’ve won the bid, the initiation stage will also include identifying key project team members and clarifying their roles, as well as obtaining any necessary approvals and funding.


2. Planning stage - Preparing for everything

With the bid secured and the project in your hands, the next stage is the planning stage. Although some basic planning should’ve been done as part of your bidding, this is where you really nail out the details of the project.

This means outlining tasks and schedules, allocating resources, budgeting for the entire project, and overall creating a comprehensive roadmap that guides the project from start to finish.


3. Execution phase - Delivering on the plan

With the planning in place, it’s time to pick up the hammers and bring out the plywood. This is where the physical construction activities begin, and project/field managers start to oversee day-to-day operations.

This stage requires ensuring that tasks are completed according to specifications, on schedule, and within budget. It’s also the stage that most often sees challenges arise, whether it's changes in the supply chain, unexpected terrain issues, or anything else that could go wrong.


4. Monitor and control

Overlapping slightly with the execution stage, you should also be continuously monitoring performance, making any necessary adjustments.

This means tracking progress, comparing actual performance to the project plan and time estimates vs actual time spent so you can understand exactly how the project is progressing. This also allows you to identify bottlenecks and forecast any potential delays that might occur further down the line.

While overlapping with the execution stage so project managers can make adjustments as needed, this stage should also include a final review, allowing you to learn from mistakes, analyze your strengths, and adapt your plans for future projects.

Need help with tracking your project’s progress? We’ve created a list of the best construction project tracking software tools for you!


5. The final steps of project closure 

With everything built and the client generally happy with how the project has turned out, the final stage can begin.

Before you start worrying about reviews and client feedback, the first thing you need to do is complete any final inspections, get an official sign-off from the client, and write up any key lessons learned, along with handing over any key deliverables or documents agreed upon to the client.

Once you’ve ensured that all your contractual obligations are met and that the project is officially concluded, you’ll also want to look at your future relationship with the client. 

This means determining if there are any other projects you can take on, as well as creating a case study of your successful project and asking for any feedback from the client.

A flowchart of the different phases of a construction project.


The entire construction project management process from start to finish

From beginning to end, here is a complete breakdown of every core step in the construction project management process:

1. Design

Sometimes completed alongside or within a construction firm such as with design-build contracts, and other times began way before approaching a construction company, the first step is for the building or project to be designed.

This is where the originators of the project, often the client and an architect, collaborate to outline the project's scope, goals, and specifications. Architects and engineers will typically be employed by the client to develop detailed plans and designs, ensuring alignment with the client's vision and regulatory requirements well before construction plans begin.

Often before the first introduction to a construction project manager, this phase establishes the blueprint for the entire construction process and will define the eventual scope of the project the construction manager oversees.


2. Preconstruction

With the vision sharpened and defined, plans for actual construction can begin. 

This is where the planning and preparation of the actual work takes place, which means taking the designs and initial plans and establishing a clear order of work for actually creating what has been set out in the blueprints.

At this point of preconstruction, the major tasks for project managers to coordinate include budgeting, scheduling, and risk assessment. 

Alongside these broad aspects, the project manager will also need to obtain any necessary permits, start creating contracts with contractors and subcontractors, and research any necessary supply lines.

A detailed flowchart of the preconstruction process from start to finish.

Want to dive deeper into the preconstruction phase? Here’s everything you need to know about the preconstruction.


3. Procurement

After some detailed planning and researching in the preconstruction phase, there’s just one step left before boots hit the ground.

This is where, under the supervision of the project manager, the project team acquires all the necessary resources, materials, and services required for construction. For smaller projects, the construction project manager is directly involved in acquiring the resources and materials.

This means finalizing deals with selected suppliers, negotiating and signing contracts, and ensuring the on-site team has everything they need to get to work.

Use this checklist to ensure that your schedules, cost estimates, project teams, and clients are all aligned before work commences on-site.


4. Actual construction

Often seen as the busiest phase of construction, it's all hands on deck as project managers continue to plan and analyze, while the onsite team of the field manager, contractors, and often subcontractors start building.

Sometimes created in the preconstruction phase, this is also a good time to create a construction punch list to help organize your time and tasks more efficiently.

At this stage, the project manager’s main role is to oversee day-to-day operations, ensuring that everything stays on schedule and on budget (something greatly helped by using construction scheduling software), as well as double-checking quality standards. 

At this stage, maintaining good communication and collaboration is at its most important to ensure issues are dealt with quickly.


5. Post construction

As mentioned, this is where the final sign-offs occur, and you can start to think about the future. The first thing to do is organize your documentation and hand anything previously agreed upon over to the client.

It’s the project manager’s responsibility to do final quality checks, make sure contractual obligations are filled, tie up any loose ends, and ensure that the client is happy with the final result.

Once all this is complete, it’s also important to conduct an end-of-project review, to reflect on what aspects went smoothly and why, as well as what issues occurred and why. 

Doing this will often help improve your processes for the next project, making you more efficient by being able to anticipate problems and keep any good systems or rules, while ditching those that don’t work.


What is a construction project management plan?

These comprehensive documents are detailed plans of the entire project from start to finish, outlining everything already discussed from budgeting to risk mitigation.

And they’re not just a useful tool for project managers.

For instance, in the UK, a construction project management plan must include steps and guidelines for how the project will reduce and avoid impacting the local environment and community, as most UK councils require submission of a construction management plan before work is approved.

Similar restrictions apply for many other regions and can vary massively depending on your country, state, region, or even sometimes local council by local council. Make sure to check the specific requirements for the area you are in before starting your construction management plan.

But what else should go into a construction project management plan? Find out everything your construction management plan should include in the section below.


What should a construction management plan include?

Here is a detailed list of the main things a construction management plan should include:

  • Project overview:
    • Introduce the project and its core objectives, along with the key stakeholders
    • Also outline the overall project scope, which should include very clear deliverables and constraints

  • Organizational structure:
    • Outline the team, roles within the team, and everyone’s specific responsibilities (this will help with clear accountability)
    • If possible, you should also define what communication channels will be used, and designate clear reporting lines for complaints or issues

  • Budget and cost management:
    • You must include a detailed budget breakdown with cost estimates and financial plans - not only is this important to add to your construction management plan to be upfront with your CEO and client, but it also provides a clear record of your initial budget in the case that you go over-budget, helping dispel any possible contract disputes
    • This section should also include a variety of strategies for cost control and monitoring the budget during the project
  • Risk management
    • A comprehensive list of identified potential risks and uncertainties, alongside mitigation strategies and contingency plans to prevent these risks
    • Use our risk management guide to dive deeper into how you can identify potential risks in your construction projects

  • Health and safety protocols:
    • A full outline of important safety measures and procedures should be included to ensure a secure work environment
    • Reference to relevant health and safety regulations should be included, alongside how you plan to adhere to them
  • Quality Assurance and control:
    • Clear and easily understandable standards and specifications for construction activities should be included
    • You should also clearly outline the step-by-step processes you will use for quality control and assurance

  • Environmental impact mitigation:
    • A section on how you and the team will minimize the project's impact on the environment should be included, with both overall aims and clear steps that will be taken to achieve them
    • An overview of relevant environmental regulations and how you intend to comply with them is also needed

  • Community and public relations:
    • Similarly to the environment section, you should outline your strategies for engaging with the local community, and state clearly how you intend to minimize disruptions and keep the public informed of possible disruptions

How do you write a construction project plan?

Now you know what should go into your construction project plan, how do you write it?

The first thing you should do if you haven’t got experience is to look at construction management plan templates online - some good ones can be found at Smartsheet and Spreadsheet.com

Once you have a general grasp of how to format a construction project plan, the main thing you need to remember while writing is to stay clear and concise.

This means using page numbers, clear tables and statistics where relevant, and an easy-to-navigate index at the start will all help make your construction management plan more accessible and accurate. 

As a construction project manager, this job isn’t all on you. Make sure to collaborate with everyone involved to get the right stats and figures, as well as check the client is happy with your project aims.


The 6 main challenges facing a construction project manager

Top 6 Challenges for Construction Project Managers

Always another fire to put out, construction project managers have lots of challenges to deal with. However, these six stand out above the rest:

1. A breakdown in communication and collaboration

Of the five main reasons projects fail according to a construction project manager, three are related to poor communication.

If not managed carefully, construction projects can quickly dissolve into a slow-moving inefficient mess due to poor communication. In fact, the Project Management Institute (PMI) estimates that poor communication is responsible for a third of construction project failures.

Not using the right tools, creating a workplace culture of silence, poor time management and no communication structure or rules can all lead to a lack of good communication and collaboration.

This can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and a lack of alignment on project goals, ultimately stalling or sometimes stopping a project dead in its tracks.


2. The dreaded budget overrun

Though caused by many different things such as unforeseen expenses, changes in project scope, or inaccurate initial cost estimates, going over budget is always a dangerous game.

There’s no guarantee that the client will have the money needed to complete the project according to their exact expectations. Even worse, if you have a contract that says you must finish the job for a set amount of money, you’re likely to be paying out of pocket for any rework, meaning once you go over budget you and your company may be responsible for all the expenses. 

The worst type of construction job is one that loses you money to complete. Around 70% of construction projects go over budget. This stat may fill you with disappointment and relief at the same time. What this also means is that you have an opportunity to be better than 70% of the industry, if you can overcome the challenge of budget overrun.


3. Project delays

Similar to budget overrun, many construction projects end up delayed. Things inevitably go wrong during a project, whether it be unexpected adverse weather conditions, difficult terrain and site conditions, or issues with the supply chain.

One of the best ways to combat this is to plan for this inevitable delay and give yourself extra time from the start to deal with any issue that may appear. 

This also links back to the first main challenge - poor communication can often lead to delayed decision-making, making having good communication vital for eliminating delays.


4. Overburdened with admin

With so much to do and plan, sorting out admin can often be at the back of a project manager’s mind. Unfortunately, it piles up quickly.

Dealing with permits, approvals, and other administrative loads, along with adhering to local regulations, sorting contracts, and everything else can be a lot, taking up valuable time and resources. 

If you don’t get on top of the admin from the start, it can quickly become a burden that prevents you as a project manager from effectively doing your job, sorting out issues, and keeping the project afloat.

This is a challenge that is directly combated through the use of digital tools, as project managers can quickly and easily access current and old documents in one secure location, ensuring no data is ever lost.


5. No clear instructions or briefing

Not receiving clear instructions or briefs from a client can be a bit of a nightmare. It can quickly lead to misunderstandings and misalignment between the client, you, and your team.

If this issue is not addressed early on it can lead to quickly going over budget, massive amounts of rework, and a dissatisfied and disgruntled client.

To prevent this, ensure that project objectives, specifications, and expectations are communicated clearly from the outset. This includes providing detailed briefings to all team members and stakeholders involved in the project. 

Having solid two-way communication between you, the team, and the client also helps prevent this issue, avoiding any confusion and managing the client’s expectations to reduce the risk of rework.


6. Lack of good risk management

All construction projects come with a lot of risks, whether unforeseen site conditions, changes in regulatory requirements, regular health and safety, or more. 

If these risks are not identified early and planned for ahead of time, they can massively delay a project and sometimes even end it.

It’s always good to have a general construction project management guide to hand to help you navigate the challenges listed above, and having the right strategies prepared will help make overcoming hurdles much easier along the way.

Another useful tool is a risk assessment matrix, which can help you plot out all the relevant risks, alongside their importance to help you mitigate them effectively.


5 strategies for successful construction project management

There are many different ways to ensure you have successful construction project management, but some strategies are better than others.

Here are the best 5 strategies to improve your construction project management skills:

Plan for everything

To save you time, money, and hassle, make sure to develop a detailed project plan that encompasses every aspect of the construction process, from construction bidding, contracts, and preconstruction to final delivery and leaving a good impression at the end of the project. 

It is estimated that 35% of construction professionals spend more than 14 hours per week on unproductive tasks, and this wasted time can be massively reduced by effective planning.

Throughout your planning, consider factors such as budgeting, timelines, resource allocation, risk assessment, and regulatory compliance. 

By having a plan before you start, you can easily navigate hurdles and challenges, using your plan as a roadmap to guide the project throughout. 

This proactive approach helps you create accurate estimates that make your operations and overall business run smoother by allowing for better resource allocation, budget management, and overall project efficiency.

Regularly revisiting and adjusting plans based on project developments contributes to a culture of continuous improvement in forecasting.


Keep your communication & collaboration tight and simple

With so much to do and think about, your time and brainpower are your most valuable assets as a construction project manager. As such, you’ll want to eliminate anything that drains these unnecessarily.

Establishing clear and effective communication between yourself, on-site and off-site teams, as well as between the client and the contractors working on the project will save you a lot of time and headaches.

By creating a culture of open dialogue and two-way communication among team members, stakeholders, clients, and subcontractors using technology (one of the next key takeaways) to create easy-access communication channels, you can focus on managing rather than relaying information.


Document everything, and stay organized

Easily left behind in the admin, keeping everything documented, and every document easy to access is one of the best ways to keep a construction project running smoothly.

Whether it’s a subcontracting agreement for subcontractors, documents on local regulations, or specific instructions on what has been requested by the client, having everything on hand and easily accessed ensures nobody wastes time rummaging through files for what they need.

Good documentation can also serve as a reference for future projects, making creating case studies of your success easier, as well as ensuring accountability and helping to resolve any disputes that may arise. Stay organized by implementing efficient filing systems, both digital and physical, to easily retrieve relevant information when needed.


Stay open and honest by keeping clients in the loop

Honesty is the best policy, and one of the best ways to avoid disgruntled clients or miscommunication is to keep them in the loop throughout.

Sending live update photos, having regular meetings and catch-ups, and keeping them updated on the project timeline goes a long way to establishing trust between you and the client. 

Being open and transparent also helps alleviate concerns when challenges and issues do arise, as they always do in construction, as your planning, preparation, and openness will keep your client confident that the project will be completed to the standard they want in the end.


Make the most of digital tools 

Digital technology is here to stay, and when all your competitors are using construction project management software to save time and boost productivity, there’s no reason not to jump into the mix.

With a wide range of different tools from specialized construction bookkeeping to general construction project management tools such as Buildbite, Letsbuild, Fieldwire, and others, these apps can help you save time and money across the board.

These products offer useful tools such as task scheduling systems, digital communication channels, centralized documentation, and more.

Whether you need to improve your planning, take control of your communication channels, or organize your documents, Buildbite is here to help.

Unlock a new level of efficiency in construction task management. Choose Buildbite for seamless communication, collaboration, task coordination, and document management. Start your journey toward streamlined operations with our 30-day free trial.


What to look for in a construction project management software


Whether you’re looking for specialized construction communication apps, time-tracking apps, or overall project-tracking software, there are lots of different options.

But how do you know which one to go with?

Alongside affordability relative to your budget, there are some key features that most comprehensive project management apps should offer.

Here’s what you need to look for:

- Task management tools

As discussed, keeping track of tasks and project progression is vital, both for keeping your current project on track and for learning from any mistakes. 

A good construction project management app should allow you to easily create, monitor, and edit tasks within a digital system, as well as assign those tasks to other team members.

By providing a centralized, digital task management board, you can save time creating complex Excel spreadsheets and filling in data, and let the digital tool do the bulk of the work for you. The really good apps should also allow you to set priorities and specific deadlines, enhancing your project organization.


- Time tracking features

Similar to task tracking, keeping track of not just your own time, but the time of all your team members can be a real drain on your productivity as a project manager, especially if you’re managing multiple projects.

Therefore accurate time tracking is essential for monitoring project progress and managing your resources effectively.

A good construction project management software should offer robust time-tracking features - this means allowing yourself and team members to log hours against specific tasks, often blending with their task management features.

It should also provide you with real-time insights into project timelines, comparing the time tracked by team members against your set deadlines and expected times. This helps you easily identify possible delays before they occur, giving you a chance to fix them before everything gets way behind schedule.

It also helps prepare you for the future, as for each new project you will have a better idea of how long everything takes, allowing you to create much more accurate time estimates and project timelines.


- Easy communication & collaboration

As discussed multiple times throughout this article, good communication is one of the most important things to foster. 

Although software isn’t always necessary, it can be a massive help, and as the main point of contact for almost everyone involved in a project, using digital tools for communication can take the weight off a project manager’s shoulders.

This means that the software should facilitate seamless communication among team members as well as clients. and other stakeholders. 

Many construction projects use WhatsApp as their primary communication tool. We cannot overstate how bad of an idea this is. As soon as you have more than two people involved in a project, WhatsApp starts to become more of a hindrance than a tool.

When it comes to documenting progress and establishing accountability, finding messages in WhatsApp is a pain with a long string of messages and no easy search feature, as it’s not really designed for large-scale collaboration.

More importantly, WhatsApp does not allow new users to group chat to see previous messages. This means that any new subcontractors brought into a project, let alone any new employees, will not be able to see crucial information previously sent.

While WhatsApp does have good security encryption, the fact is it was never designed to handle communication for complex projects like in construction.


- Ensure client involvement

For client involvement, one of the most important features to have is document sharing and real-time updates. This allows team members on-site to upload images and update progress reports directly for the client to see.

Instead of walking into your weekly or monthly client meeting with the client having no idea what’s going on, they can come to you confident in the progress you’ve made, having seen firsthand project progress and key milestones being hit.

This is especially important for clients who aren’t immersed in the construction world. If you have never experienced a project before, it can be hard to understand why delays occur, why things are being built in a certain order, or why specific regulations are in place.

By bringing the client into the loop from the beginning, they can slowly understand the complexity of the project, and be able to have a much better understanding of how their decisions can impact the project.

This approach not only promotes engagement and keeps clients happy, but it also massively reduces the risk of rework, as any changes that the client wants can be communicated right away, instead of weeks later during a catch-up meeting.


- Bring the team together

Equally as important is effective communication channels for the internal team. This means choosing software that offers tools for centralized communication, shared calendars, and collaborative document editing. 

All relevant team members should have easy access to all project-related information, and be easily able to message any other team member within the software. 

As we’ll get to in a moment, this is also useful for documentation and accountability, as all the messages are stored on one system, rather than multiple different devices over Whatsapp.


- Organize your documents

Vital throughout, but especially important at the end of a project, keeping all your documentation organized is extremely important, and extremely tedious.

Good construction management software should simplify this process, doing most of the legwork for you. Make sure to choose software that not only enables centralized storage but also version control and easy retrieval of project documents. 

You should be able to set which team members and stakeholders can access which documents, allowing people who need access to quickly go in and get what they need, while keeping everything compartmentalized. 

This helps reduce admin and speed up construction work, as neither you, team members, or clients need to waste time trying to find the right documents.


- Choose software that is easy to use and replaces multiple tools

At the end of the day, the whole point of picking up a digital tool for your project management is to save you and everyone involved time and energy. This only really works if everyone, from the subcontractors to the client, can easily pick up the software, understand it, and use it efficiently.

If a lot of in-depth training is needed just to understand the new tool, it might not be the right choice.

You, the client, and your team should all be able to understand how all of the core features of the app work and be able to use them effectively without much trouble. 

This is especially important for getting your clients on board - training up your team is much easier than convincing them that they have to use complicated software.

By having everyone from contractors to clients inside the app, you can streamline the approval system and reduce rework, as the client can interact directly with the project without too much effort.

This ultimately leads not only to lots of saved time but also happier clients who are more engaged with the project without sacrificing any extra time.


Additionally, utilizing an all-in-one construction software that consolidates various tools into one helps you manage:

  • Integration challenges: With the use of multiple tools, you might come across compatibility issues, making it difficult to integrate data seamlessly across different platforms.

  • Increased complexity: Managing and training teams on multiple software tools can take a lot of time and effort since each tool often has its own learning curve and interface.

  • Data silos: Using different tools often creates data silos, where information is confined to specific applications or departments. This makes it difficult for you to cultivate transparency and collaboration, and have a comprehensive view of your projects.

  • Workflow disruptions: Switching between various tools disrupts the natural workflow and adds unnecessary time. You and your team may spend valuable time adjusting to different interfaces and workflows, which can impact overall productivity and project timelines.

  • Increased risk of errors: Transferring and juggling data between multiple tools increases the risk of errors and inconsistencies. If there's friction and mismatch in the information due to various tools  - it may lead to miscommunications, delays, and potential mistakes in your project execution.

  • Different security across the board: Each software tool may have its own security protocols and vulnerabilities, which increases the overall risk of data breaches and compromises.

  • Harder to scale with multiple tools: As your projects evolve, having multiple tools might not easily scale to meet growing demands. An all-in-one solution provides scalability, adapting to project size and complexity without the need for constantly integrating new tools into your daily operations.

This is why Buildbite has created an app that combines all the vital tools and features into one easy-to-use app.

Book a demo with Buildbite today to discover how our task management app can revolutionize your project communication and coordination.


What makes a successful construction project?

As this article has shown, and any experienced construction project managers undoubtedly already know, there are a lot of factors that go into a successful construction project.

But, amongst the many different challenges faced and strategies to success, several factors rise above the rest as the most important.

A comprehensive 2016 report analyzing the most Critical Success Factors (CSFs) in construction project success found four factors were deemed the most important by most researchers and experienced industry professionals.

These factors were “ the cost (budget), time, quality and management”, with organization and technology also being key contributors to project success.

This means if you want your project to succeed, there’s a clear order of priority. Finish on budget, on time, with a high-quality build and good management throughout. 

To support these factors, implement good technology, and stay organized.

All of this can be aided greatly by the use of a digital project management app such as Buildbite.

With built-in reporting, task and time management features, and everything you need to foster both internal and external communication through document sharing and centralized communication channels, Buildbite has everything you need for project success. 

What makes Buildbite different is that you can Invite your clients to the app to keep them up to date with milestones. This helps you avoid potential misalignment and creates the foundation for great customer service. Satisfied, aligned, and informed customers mean potential recurring business and referrals.

Unlock a new level of efficiency in construction task management. Choose Buildbite for seamless communication, task coordination, and more. Start your journey toward streamlined operations with our 30-day free trial.


Frequently Asked Questions

Courses - What courses can improve your construction project management skills?

Aside from University courses, there are multiple different online courses you can take that will improve your construction project management skills, and give you a recognized certificate upon completion. Here are some of the best ones:

Certifications - What construction project management certifications can you obtain? 

There are lots of different construction project management certifications, and several can be obtained by taking the courses listed above.

Some of the most recognized include the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate, becoming a Certified Construction Manager (CCM), and the Associate Constructor (AC) certificate. 

These certifications validate your skills and enhance your credibility in the field.


Salary - What’s the salary of a construction project manager?

The salary of a construction project manager varies greatly based on experience, location, and project size. 

In the United States, the average construction project manager earns between $70,000 to $120,000 per year, in a full-time position. 

In the European Union (EU), the average yearly salary ranges from €50,000 to €80,000, in a full-time position.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom (UK), it varies from £40,000 to £70,000 per year, in a full-time position. 

These are broad averages, and it’s also important to remember they are often relative to the cost of living in that country or area, as well as being valued differently based on the strength of the currency - i.e.  €80,000 is equal to around £68,000 in 2024.

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