Becoming a project manager in the construction industry is a hard-won endeavour, and a career highlight for a great many in the field. Project management is a multiply difficult role to fill, requiring executive control over numerous variables and the agility to respond to new problems as they arise. Project managers can also sometimes find themselves squeezed between clients, firm executives and the workers over which they preside.

Time management is a crucial part of making a project run smoothly, particularly when there are others breathing down your neck. In a time where construction orders are breaking records, a shrewd approach to time management is necessary; what, then, are some of the secrets to time management within the construction industry – whether for small domestic projects or larger industrial builds?

Research and Scope

Good project management always starts with thorough research, learning and fact-finding.  This should start with consultation between the client, architect, financier and overarching construction firm. What is it exactly that the client is expecting, and in what time-frame? 

This is a good time to outline experimental knowledge of time-scales and scheduling, in order to mitigate certain expectations. Here you can also establish firm boundaries for the project, whether financially or physically. No two projects are the same, though they may bear some significant similarities – as such, each project should be treated as a new problem. 

With this in mind, researching solutions to potential snags and snafus should start here; with blueprints and a rough idea of timings, you can do the future of the project a favour by predicting difficulties and accounting for them – whether creating spillover space for surplus materials or creating schedule gaps to account for delays in pouring and drying concrete.

Scheduling and Stock

With the specifics of the project’s scope and form nailed down, you can start to make some more direct plans – particularly with regard to the project’s schedule. Here is where you draw out a form of gantt chart, that outlines the specific tasks involved in the construction project, where they lie in the overall timeframe and how they overlap.

This information also gives you a clue as to what raw materials will be required when. Concrete pours will happen early on, so you will need the sheet wood available for formworks early on; roof tiles, however, would clog up the construction site for some time before they were finally needed.

Maintaining Productivity

The above points are, essentially, the bread and butter of time management in a project’s early stages. Project managers are also adept at managing crises in real time, keeping the project to timeframe and making adjustments as necessary.

Keeping track of processes and stages in the build is only one part of the equation. There are boots on the ground carrying out each stage, and failure to maintain an active presence with them can lead to delays. While not an active time management ‘hack’, the simple act of being there for your staff can work wonders for inspiring them to meet a deadline. 

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