When you have a big construction project coming up–building a new home, putting on an addition, or doing a remodel–it’s natural to be nervous about the process. You are trusting your most valuable possession and sacred space, your home, to others. You hope that the process will be smooth and the final product will be exactly what you want, but how can you be sure? Project management is the tool that builders use to ensure a successful project and a happy client. Read on to learn about project management and how it can bring you both peace of mind and a successful build.
Planning is Vital
A good project begins with a good plan. This ensures that all the stakeholders–the client, the builders, the project managers, the subcontractors, etc–know exactly what the goals are. A detailed plan looks ahead to potential problems, so that solutions can be brainstormed before construction starts. This means that the team is proactive in problem-solving, rather than reactive. Being proactive cuts down on change orders, budget issues, and delays.
A good plan
- involves you, the homeowner, at every stage, since you’re the one who will live in the finished product.
- is detailed enough that every contractor knows what to expect.
- is communicated to every stakeholder, and includes changes as they crop up.
- is discussed thoroughly between you and the general contractor. His job is to listen, offer suggestions, and do his best to make your dream a reality.
A Good Budget
Good project management helps you set an initial budget for your construction project. Especially now, with the price of construction materials on the rise, working with a project manager to come up with a realistic budget is important. By giving you a good estimate, a project manager can set realistic expectations for you about how much a particular job will cost. They can anticipate potential costs that may crop up, and communicate them to you as well. And during construction, they track your project to avoid overspending. Project management helps ensure fewer unpleasant surprises when it comes to your budget.
Construction projects are complicated. They involve lots of moving parts: your needs as the homeowner, the various materials that need to be ordered and delivered (and the inevitable delays), the various crews for specific parts of the job, the equipment that is required, and so on. Project management ensures that a well-designed schedule is in place and communicated to everyone who needs to know throughout the process.
Your project manager should
- know what supplies, materials, equipment, and teams are needed for your project, and in what order they need to be acquired.
- communicate with each team about how long their part of the process will take.
- prioritize tasks by brainstorming with each team or subcontractor about how to accomplish their goals.
- break the project down into smaller tasks and identify milestones (parts of the project when a significant task is accomplished).
- communicate the schedule to you, including potential delays.
Communication is King
Construction project management demands excellent communication in the field and with the homeowner. The bigger or more complex the project, the more important communication becomes. Great communication cuts down on delays, budget issues, unforeseen problems, and general frustration. It also leads to better teamwork and collaboration among the teams–which benefits you!
Good communication in the field includes:
- using technology such as project management software. This allows project managers to schedule builders, monitor your budget, track tasks and milestones, and more.
- holding weekly meetings where stakeholders can communicate about progress, upcoming challenges or tasks, and what needs to happen next. This also allows time for collaborative brainstorming about problems that arise.
- incorporating lookaheads. Lookahead schedules are prepared by the general contractor to coordinate work in the next phase of building (a few days or a few weeks out). He considers the daily labor or material needs of each trade (plumbing, electrical, etc), and schedules accordingly. He also looks ahead to milestones and works out the requirements of each one. This short-term, detailed schedule keeps everyone on track as they know what is expected of them over the next few days to weeks. It also allows adjustments to the schedules to be made before they become a problem.
Supervision of Moving Parts
A project manager acts as the hub of a construction project, supervising construction, safety, the budget, the schedule, and more. Good project management means that
- all the details are under control,
- you as the homeowner know what is going on with your project at any given time,
- all the builders and subcontractors know what is expected of them and when, and
- the budget, the schedules, and the communication that a construction project requires are all on track.
The Warranty Period
At BOLT, we offer a one-year labor warranty on all our installations, as well as the manufacturer-provided warranties. But our help doesn’t stop there. We support our clients even outside of this warranty period. Because we are very integrated into our market and we have a lot of projects going on, we always have a BOLT representative close by to assist previous clients with any issues they may have. We are committed to our clients even after their project is complete and our official project management is over.
Bringing it All Together
Every construction project involves a lot of details. The planning stage, working out a budget, coordinating workers and materials, solving unexpected problems, dealing with change orders that become necessary, and making sure every bit of work is of the highest quality–all of these aspects of your project are kept on track through project management. It’s the backbone of any construction project, and it’s something we take seriously at BOLT Builders. We want every part of your experience in building a home, putting on an addition, or doing a remodel in your D.C., Maryland, or Virginia home, to exceed your expectations. We value relationships built on trust and respect, craftsmanship enamored with detail, and quality driven by control. You will see all of these values played out in our project management. Contact us now to make your home exactly what you want it to be.