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The Importance of Being “On” in Construction Project Management

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The world of construction project management can be a tricky one, often characterized by a high degree of complexity, an abundance of moving parts, and varying levels of unpredictability that come with working in all aspects of indoor and outdoor spaces. But no matter the hurdles that a project may throw our way, every client always expects the same outcome: timely project completion with as few setbacks or additional costs as possible. Is this easier said than done?

To be on time is not an unattainable, pie-in-the-sky objective; quite the contrary! For us, “Excellence On Time” is more than a motto but a way of life. Over 75 years of first-hand experience in the construction industry have allowed us to identify, collect, and evaluate some of the most critical factors in expedient and timely project delivery. Let’s go over them now:

Communication

Good communication practices (both with clients and construction team members) are some of the most underrated success factors in any new construction project. According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2013 report titled “The High Cost of Low Performance: The Essential Role of Communications,” two out of five projects do not meet their original objectives, and half of those project failures are blamed on substandard or ineffective communications.

Conversely, companies that have highly-effective communication practices are 1.7 times more likely to outperform their competitors in the same industry. This is why we insist on being the lead point of contact for our clients from start to finish and help guide them through the process of dealing with realtors, financing agencies, architects, and engineering companies guaranteeing smooth communications with all the different players involved until the commercial project is completed. By using scheduling software to communicate schedule changes and project updates on a weekly basis, we make sure that our entire project team is always on the same page. 

Other actionable steps include standardizing communication methods and reducing/eliminating the unclear and jargon-heavy language (common in the construction industry) that could cause a communication breakdown. Instead, we opt for clear, focused language that everyone -from a foreman to a layman- can easily understand. 

Cultivating the Client’s Vision

Imagine two halves of a puzzle: your client has the “VISION” piece and you hold the “EXECUTION” piece. It is up to you (the contractor) to make them fit together in a way that is actionable and realistic given the client’s needs, objectives, timelines, and budget.

But clients are very rarely construction experts, which means that their understanding of the pros and cons of each desired feature are limited at best. When meeting a client for the first time, it is important to critically evaluate their vision under the lens of your expertise and experience. This means taking the time to fully understand what the client truly wants while directly addressing the compromises and adjustments that would be necessary to bring their vision to life.

Once the structure’s core design and functions are established, we can then give the client estimates, budgets, and timelines to set reasonable expectations from the start effectively. A deep and thorough project assessment can help us identify ways in which to further expedite important build factors such as design and regulatory agency permitting. But heed our warning: never overpromise. Being a “Yes Man” (or Woman) at this stage might get you the contract, but it is also a sure-fire recipe for disappointment (and possible litigation) in the later stages of your construction project.

Rethinking Construction Setbacks

Sometimes you have to play the hand you are dealt, good or bad. And a lot can go wrong in even the best-planned projects: from adverse weather and soil conditions to material cost changes, to simple human error, it would be impossible to plan for every possible threat to your project timeline. Despite these setbacks, the mark of a great contractor is the ability to quickly turn even the most challenging problem into a creative solution.

That’s the reason why we pride ourselves in offering onsite supervision to all our client’s projects. By actively monitoring every job site, we make sure that we’re always the first to acknowledge, assess, and fix emerging issues as they appear, thereby reducing their negative impacts on construction project timelines, optimizing build workflow, and ensuring that the schedule is executed exactly as it was planned. Through thoughtful planning and careful work sequencing, it’s easy to guarantee that materials, manpower, and subs are exactly where they need to be.

Hanto + Clarke is a premier licensed general contractor firm in Pensacola, Florida known for providing our clients with excellence on time, every time. Contact us today for a quote on your commercial construction project.