Many construction project managers make the mistake of focusing on starting a project, throwing all of their resources into the preliminary stages, thus limiting its continuity and ultimately, damaging its ending.
The fact is that the ending of a project is as important as its beginning, and a project can only be successful if it is carried out under professional construction management. Construction management gives an in-depth breakdown of the life cycle of any construction project, which consists of five different phases which will be discussed in this article.
Regardless of the scope, complexity, or desired outcome of a construction project, here are the five major phases that should be followed:
Project Initiation Phase
The project initiation phase is where the ideas for a project are conceived. Consider it as a starting point, where the planning team comes together to determine what kind of building is to be constructed, the preferred location for the building, the project needs, goals, and objectives and how they can be met, and finally, the duration of time during which the project must be completed.
There are typically three stages to this phase. They include:
A feasibility study aims to determine how realistic a project is. This is done by an examination of the project objectives and goals as well as recommended solutions and approaches to determine which solution best accomplishes the goal. This stage provides answers to important questions such as:
- Should the project be carried out?
- Are there enough resources available to successfully complete the project?
- Can the project be completed within the allocated time frame?
- Can the project meet the standards for local planning and building safety?
If a solution is arrived at, then the project is initiated and a Project Initiation Document (PID) is created. Typically, a project manager is usually appointed after project initiation, and then the project moves to the next phase.
In this stage, the architect and his team go ahead to sketch out the construction ideas on paper, showcasing the usage of colors, textures, materials, as well as space. This sketch serves as a feasible roadmap that can be used during the design development.
A document containing the project specifications, including its cost, feasibility report, and final drawings is drafted in line with the project’s goals. These documents are then used to place bids on the project by those interested.
Project Planning Phase
In this phase, the project’s details and specifications are further developed to ensure that the project’s objectives are met. Planning is very important to the success of any construction project. Various aspects of the project are outlined, including activities, tasks, and most importantly, the budget. A proper planning phase should cover the following:
A resource plan identifies the estimated amount of labor, equipment, and materials that will be needed to complete the project.
A project plan identifies all the activities and tasks needed to complete the project, and these tasks are organized into a sequence. The resources needed for these tasks are also allocated.
This plan is put in place to ensure that all tasks and activities outlined in the project plan are carried out according to a strict schedule to ensure the project is completed within the stipulated time frame.
A financial plan details all the expenses to be incurred during the project, including the cost of all resources as well as the cost of administration. A financial plan also leaves room for unexpected expenses that may come up along the way.
Other plans carried out during this stage include:
- Risk mitigation plan
- Communication plan
- Quality management plan
- Acceptance plan
Project Execution and Implementation Phase
The project execution phase is the phase that consumes the most time. Here, the construction idea and building blueprint are slowly brought to life on the construction site. The project manager typically oversees this stage, ensuring that all plans are followed strictly, resources are properly allocated and effective communication is maintained between all members of the team.
To have a successful execution and implementation phase, the following have to be in place:
- A dedicated and well-organized team
- Proper and timely allocation of resources
- Regular team meetings to discuss the progress report
- Task assignment
- Accurate implementation of all plans
Project Monitoring and Control Phase
The project monitoring and control phase goes on simultaneously with the project execution phase. No matter how competent a team is, as the project progresses, certain changes and difficulties are bound to come up. Project monitoring and control ensure that all changes are strictly controlled to keep the plan running smoothly.
A major part of the project monitoring includes regular team meetings during which the progress report is discussed. The project manager compares the current reports with the initial plans to determine if there have been any deviations. If deviations are found, corrective measures are put in place to bring the project back on track. If this does not work, the variations are then properly recorded and implemented into the original plan. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be used for proper project tracking.
The closing phase is the final phase of the construction and has to be carried out properly to prevent any problems that may arise at the dying minute. During this phase, the project is regarded as completed and the final deliverables are to be provided for the client. Before this, however, the punch list has to be reviewed to ensure that all weak points have been properly corrected.
Furthermore, a construction closeout document is drafted containing the as-built schedule, as-built drawings, the final accounting, and all other project documentation. Before this document is handed over to the client, supplier contracts should be terminated, final payments settled, and Certificate of Occupancy, Permanent Property Insurance, and other important approvals obtained.
Most importantly, an analysis of the entire project should be conducted to outline the tasks that went to plan, the tasks that didn’t, and the lessons learned. The result of the analysis will prove useful for future construction projects.
To someone who is unfamiliar with the processes, they may seem too time-consuming and complex, which is why a professional construction manager is needed to oversee the project from start to finish.