1. Always plan ahead
This should be your motto. Plan everything and plan ahead. You as a construction project manager have to start planning way before the actual construction will begin. In addition, you must revise and evolve your plans till you finish the work. From start to finish i.e., the design, pre-construction, and the actual work stages of a project demand major planning. This planning never remains consistent though and has to be revised every now and then as the workload unfolds. Your planning is what will make the project a reality. Project collaboration is the key for a construction manager when it comes to finishing a project. Never forget that.
2. Mapping the pre-construction phase
You can never predict as to what can happen at a construction site. A thunderstorm, a sandstorm or even a hailstorm. These are just a few natural problems you might have to deal with. Mapping the pre-construction phase usually helps you get an idea about the environment. Historic data can be your most valuable ally in such cases. This, in turn, lets you make changes and adjustments in the design and pattern of the construction.
3. Be humble
Your real test begins when the actual work starts. You will work with seasoned professionals, few may be new at this or could have decades of experience in electrical engineering, scaffolding, plumbing, and carpentry etc. Be polite where you can and firm where necessary. It is your job to make people work together in harmony. You have to lead the way. But remember, being humble with everyone is just the first step.
Read: How I built that – The hell and heaven of house builders
Also, you cannot keep scolding everyone to get the job done. There will be times when you will have to be on the site 24X7 but that doesn’t mean that you can lose it. Be patient and humble. Always.
4. Communication is the key
Communication is what builds relationships and gets the work done. If you don’t talk well no one will want to listen to you, let alone work for you. You will come across people from diverse educational, cultural and economic backgrounds. Hence, be understanding and communicate with them accordingly. Poor project collaboration can lead to mistakes and disagreements amongst team members. There can be no mistakes when it comes to construction. One less brick here will collapse the whole facade. Communicate! Be the manager they need you to be. Digital tools can also provide you with great help in that direction, as they can allow you to exchange information and project updates in real-time.
5. Lead and take everyone with you
You as a manager cannot construct the whole building by yourself. You need a team that will listen to you and do what you tell them to do. But you cannot just randomly tell people to do things. You have to assign the right job to the right person. You cannot ask the carpenter to paint the door or attend the budget meeting, can you?
tips for construction managers
Similarly, don’t ask the senior staff to carry out menial jobs. Be a good assigner and get the work done. Other than ordering work, make sure you always ask for a follow-up. You can only be a good manager if you keep your eyes and ears open before and after your work gets done.
6. Manage time
As a construction manager, you will always be swamped with work and may often fall short of time. If you don’t stay wary of things, you may end up ignoring important issues. Managing time is about staying on top of things, being organized and ensuring that work is filed correctly every day. You have to prioritize work and issues. Finish what needs to be done first and then move to the lesser important things. Set goals and work on them.
7. Be informed of the costs
You have to understand the cost of construction. Be informed of the cost of materials, people, equipment, and the whole process. You cannot always get into the details and comment on the most minute of costs. But you can be aware as to how much money is going where and how much everything major thing is costing.
Find also: 5 things you can’t do using a spreadsheet in construction
Just understand departments and costs to get valuable insights and experiences. This will make you a good construction manager and allow you to always make informed and good decisions. This all means only one thing- more productivity from your end and in turn from your employee’s end as well.
8. Read the contract document thoroughly
It often happens that construction managers don’t read the contract document thoroughly till the time an issue arises. But it is too late by then. You have to understand the importance of the contract document, which ensures that the contractor and the customer are both meeting their obligations entailed in the document. This would minimise troubles, conflicts, and arguments.
9. Negotiate well
You have to be an amazing negotiator and persuader if you want to get work done. You will have to negotiate with your own team, your customers, subcontractors, and suppliers. You have to convince people every day that your decisions and your way are the best. Be that the negotiation of prices for materials or anything else, you have to do it in the best way possible.
10. Be responsible
A construction site is just a step away from another disaster. You need to be extra careful with everything that is happening on the site. You are responsible for all those lives. Safety has to be the number one priority. Before, during, and after the construction, the building has to stand. Poor workmanship cannot be a thing when you are handling the work. Stay informed and be responsible.
Leading and managing a team of hundred members isn’t easy at a construction site. But if you set your goals, take help from time to time and always plan and then act, you will never have problems. Success is never far when you know how to channelize your efforts.
Also, you have to know that all this knowledge isn’t available in a university curriculum. It comes with hands-on experience. So, get out there, learn and start working.