Everyone likes to share project success stories. The challenges and hiccups that occur during the project are not so willingly shared. As some road blocks are inevitable, some problems can be avoided by good planning and leadership. ModSpace Construction Services Director, John Costas, highlighted for us the 10 common project management mistakes in construction that every general contractor should avoid.
Not Reading the Contract
This should be done before any project is accepted. It’s important to fully understand what’s expected of your team and your subcontractors contractually. Not reading this through will likely result in missed obligations outlined in the contract.
Improper Safety Training
Safety must be addressed before the project starts, as well as enforced for the duration of the project. Failure to do so greatly increases the risk of injuries. Reminders as you walk through your site, like telling your team to put their safety glasses on, are small steps that can have a great impact.
A Flawed Ordering Process
Ordering materials may not sound like a difficult part of the job, but an unorganized process can lead to problems or delays. It is important to know which materials are long lead materials and plan accordingly. Research and order these materials first as they can sometimes take months to arrive.
Skipping the Kickoff Meeting
It’s crucial to schedule a kickoff meeting with both your customer and your subcontractors so everyone is on the same page from day one. Use it to flush out potential delays and cost issues. Plan your customer kickoff meeting to review all project details and their expectations. Then meet with your subcontractors to review schedule, costs, scopes of work, etc.
No Communication Plan
As the project manager, setting up consistent communication is key. Schedule status meetings or calls weekly.
Share your progress with your customer and subcontractors and allow time to address any potential issues. The more your customer sees and hears from you, the more they will know you are serious about your work.
Failure to Manage Change Orders
It’s inevitable that processes will be modified from the original scope of work by both subcontractors and customers, and it’s important to manage these correctly. Continuing work without doing so can waste time and money. Plus, you should never do work without approval as customers don’t have to pay for work they did not contract for.
Not Staying Current on Subcontractor Payments
Failing to do so is certain to give your company a bad reputation for future jobs. It also can affect your current project. Time your payments to your subcontractors with the work they’re providing. Paying ahead of schedule will have you paying for work that is not yet completed. Paying them late puts you at risk for losing them for the duration of the job.
Incorrectly Assessing Time and Budget
Everyone wants to save time and money, but be sure to set realistic goals. Make sure your team and subcontractors agree with your commitments to your customer so that all parties can be held accountable and the project can be completed as close to deadlines and on budget as possible.
Mismanaging a Punch List
Make sure all parties agree on the project specifications and completion dates, and stick as close to the original plan as possible. Make sure all tasks assigned by the customer are completed and make payment plans clear.
Assuming All Closeout Documents Are the Same
Each project is different and understanding the documentation is crucial. Project documents will differ from job to job and industry to industry. Expect to see different required documents when working with the government, commercial construction, residential builders, etc. Carefully read and understand what is required, as you will need this to get paid.