5 Steps To Effective Project Planning: Leveraging Construction Project Management Practices in 2021

construction project planning

Planning a construction project is the first and one of the most significant components of effective project management. It is a process that begins long before the design and architecture process is started. This includes the idea of defining the project teams, scope, project milestones, and other important factors that are essential to bringing a healthy project together.

Contractors believe that spending a greater amount of time on project planning ensures affordable construction, as it reduces the chances of change orders with an ongoing project.  Any changes made can be expensive after the start of the project, therefore, it makes sense that better project planning ensures better outcomes with the budget and the results.

For a project to be successful, the construction manager has to excel at construction planning. Besides the challenge lies in consistently finishing the projects within budget and on time. As construction projects become more and more complex, the need for initiation, planning, execution, and closing the project within a given time frame arises. 

Though modern-day construction involves the effective use of integrated construction accounting and project management software technology, a team effort is equally important for the success of any project. 

Apart from this, taking on a construction project in itself is a highly structured endeavor. It requires materials planning and precise cost projections. 

Since 2021 is expected to be a year full of opportunities and possibilities, we bring you a list of 5 steps that lead to effective project planning and more impactful construction project management. Let’s begin.

1. Start by Defining Project Goals

Even if you have a clear picture of what you need to build, everything related to construction starts by defining the project goals. If you have not defined the objectives, it will create a huge gap between what you expect and what you achieve. You can simply take advantage of your construction project management software to get insights from past projects with similar requirements to keep things sorted.

As the process of defining the project goals requires project managers and contractors to identify stakeholders including all teams who will be working on the site, make sure you consider all the representatives associated with the project such as consultants, design professionals, contractors, project owners, and any other representatives necessary. Keeping all stakeholders in a loop during the early stages of the project can help with better outcomes while giving a clear picture of what is required from the project.

To know the feasibility of the project and also making a business case to begin the project is the first step in the direction. A lot of moving parts have to be coordinated and the functioning has to be constantly monitored. Besides unraveling the complexity of each project is something that each contractor has to deal with from time to time. 

Also, working with a team can help identify the list of all needs, eliminating any type of ambiguity in the process. Moreover, working with a team on such goals helps to define things with greater precision cutting down unnecessary costs, and ensure smarter construction.

2. Identify The Project Scope

Once the team is done defining the goals of the project, the next thing that should be targeted is creating a list of features of the project. This can be anything such as achieving a safety certification for the structure or installing an HVAC system, plumbing setup, or use of green/natural materials in the construction process.

Make sure you work on a scope document that contains the detail of all the goals along with the implementation process. This would also include the equipment required, techniques, and other systems required to develop the project. For instance, contractors could simply take consent from project managers on using recycled material in the ceiling or drywall to meet the green building certifications.

Besides you need to analyze key project constraints and establish performance metrics to make project-based decisions timely. Having tools and strategies in place to deal with the implementation of management systems defines the scope of the project.

Also, the team can work on creating a schedule of the events to achieve the defined scope of the project for various tasks related to architecture and making of the structure. In addition, teams could also address the budget of the project while working on the scope of the project to fill the gap between estimated and approximate costs. You can benefit by identifying any financial constraints that may likely develop at later stages of the project while modifying the decisions to fulfill project requirements and maximize revenue.

3. Planning The Process

Before the process begins with the task of designing, the team should work on the planning part of the process. Though there are some standardized processes, it is always a good idea that any implementation must be agreed upon by all the stakeholders including all subcontractors or specialty contractor teams working on the project to keep things simplified for all.

Also, it is entirely the responsibility of project managers to define the roles and responsibilities of every person working on the project to define a perfect plan. This will help all workers associated with the project to know their duties and rectify any chances of issues that may appear during the ongoing process. Moreover, it can also help the owners to review the entire agenda and ensure the right development process has been chosen.

The crucial thing is you need to have a clear and thorough understanding of the project. Most of the time, it involves prioritization of project risks and identifying them to not be derailed if something crops up in due time. Having a risk mitigation plan is a must and some other factors  that you need to pay attention to are as follows:

  • Funding requirements

  • Project Phasing

  • Authorization of budget cycle

  • Impact on financials

  • Site requirements

Adding to this, construction projects involve a large number of risk factors that might hinder the development process if not identified earlier. Therefore, contractors must ask the teams working on projects to locate any budget cuts, probability of change orders, and unforeseen conditions related to weather or site. Doing so can help contractors to mitigate risks and stick with the planning process.

To make a project successful, it’s best you have a well-thought-out contingency plan. Construction software can assist you in giving meaningful insights and make the decision-making process easier.

4.Working On The Design

After the process for developing the project is streamlined, the design process could be started immediately. This may involve the use of advanced building information modeling (BIM) tools and other techniques for working on the design while using a cloud-based integrated construction project management software for quick sharing of documents/drawings with teams.

Design management also involves a review of key submissions and verifying the inputs of all stakeholders. Besides objectives and appropriate goals have to be determined at the beginning of the project. Keeping the owner’s designing criteria and designing standards, builders can manage and coordinate the phases of the project’s design.

Also, collaboration and communication tools can be used throughout to establish a smooth process of designing the project. This can help teams to connect at regular intervals to keep a check on the scope, schedule, and budget of the project allowing faster completion, precise cost estimates, and overcome any risk factors.

All in all, it is timely delivery, overall quality of the building, and reduction in cost that matters a lot at this stage.  Moreover, working on the design process allows teams to make all the necessary adjustments that are essential to cover jurisdictional requirements or achieving the project scope while allowing a better return on investment ( ROI).

5. Finalization of Bids

On the final review of the scope, process, and design documents by the teams, the documents can be simply submitted to the local jurisdiction in order to get permission to construct. This process involves plan checks as well as corrections with respect to construction codes for making essential changes to the finalized documents.

When done, the entire data is sent from construction firms to general contractors, subcontractors, and other parties involved to bid on the specific work. This process is meant to identify any discrepancies in the process and is usually done by getting a contractor on board at the early stages of the project planning. It is done with the intention to mitigate issues that might appear during the construction period.

Once your project documents, drawings, and other information are reviewed by the jurisdiction, the final pricing of the project along with the schedule is generated. On approval by the project owners, the teams could move towards project assessment and confirm that the defined process is suitable to meet the goals defined during the entire planning process.

However, contractors and field teams always keep the scope for changes at any stage of the project to ensure that project does not run more expensive than the defined budget. But in most cases, more planning done during the earlier stages helps keep the costs low at later stages of the project, which is ultimately the entire goal associated with project planning.

Concluding it all

If you are a construction company that needs to overcome the financial downtime and loss for existing and upcoming projects, the best thing that can be done is to define the stakeholders, have a design team, and create a process. 

By tracking performance and evaluating the project, is a good yardstick to measure the efficacy of a clearly defined construction project plan. It helps you to know what are you stacked up against and also informs you how to approach your next project. 

For this and to achieve project goals you must choose construction-specific software. By deploying technology and having a dedicated solution with robust reporting capabilities, can keep you better informed and deep dive into the details of the project. 

To ensure that you meet your client’s expectations make sure your work meets the end-users demand. Before closing out you must collaborate with your team and find out what you can do better next time around. 

Keeping the entire team in sync could benefit the construction firms, contractors, as well as all other stakeholders to work on common goals with design and then to carry out the implementation. All in all, spending more time on defining the objectives and scope of the project could be the ultimate goal to risk-free, effective, and productive construction.

Need help with how construction project management software technology can be your ultimate companion on the way to improving construction? All you need to do is plan a quick consultation call with our experts at ProjectPro to learn how a better strategy paired with advanced technology could help drive your goals.