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The top 5 construction project management challenges and what to do about them

Written by LetsBuild

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Even the most seasoned project managers face challenges on a daily basis. Construction projects are prone to more risks than most other industries—each project is unique, and there are endless factors that can impact its outcome. Not to mention that many of these factors are difficult to control.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s no solution for each construction project management challenge.

Free eBook: Quick guide to Lean practices for construction professionals

Construction site problems and their solutions

Let’s explore the top five construction industry challenges in 2022 and how project managers can overcome them.

1. Communication and collaboration

Communication is a significant part of a project manager’s role—project managers in the construction industry spend 90% of their time on it. So it’s not surprising that communication presents one of the biggest construction project management challenges.

You can’t manage a project well without effective communication.

Luckily, there are endless ways for project managers to improve their communication skills, including:

  • Establishing a clear chain of communication
  • Encouraging open communication
  • Avoiding unnecessary jargon and acronyms
  • Holding weekly team meetings
  • Making access to information easy
  • Choosing the right communication methods

As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to facilitate communication and collaboration between teams, managers, and stakeholders. And even more than initiating those conversations, you must ensure that everyone stays connected throughout each stage of the project.

2. Admin burdens and constraints

We mentioned that project managers spend a significant amount of time on communication, but what are they spending the rest of their time on? Administrative tasks like chasing updates, writing reports, and attending unnecessary meetings.

And then we have the many constraints of construction projects, which include much more than problems associated with physical resources—project managers must also address issues with design specifications, compliance, permits to proceed, etc.

The solution to these construction project management challenges? Construction management software.

Project managers can use digital platforms to reduce administrative burdens and resolve constraints by:

  • Tracking changes, diversions, and movements
  • Monitoring and requesting updates instantly
  • Creating and sharing detailed reports in minutes
  • Staying connected with site managers
  • Keeping everyone aligned with a single source of truth

Further reading: Standardise as you go: The key to better and admin-free processes

Construction site teamwork | LetsBuild

3. Budgeting and cost overruns

How many of your construction projects met their initial cost estimates? If that number is more than you care to admit, you’re not alone—McKinsey found that large projects tend to go 80% over budget and take 20% longer to complete than estimated.

Not only are cost overruns extremely common, but they present a difficult construction project management challenge because of the number of factors that affect them, including:

  • Changes in designs and client demands
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Unrealistic estimates to win bids
  • Material price escalations

Since cost overruns can happen due to a wide variety of reasons, there’s no single solution that works every time. However, you can significantly reduce them by optimising your planning and scheduling practices and paying more attention to cost estimation.

4. Disputes and delays

Another huge construction project management challenge is disputes and delays, which often stem from the two problems we discussed above combined with poor goal setting.

On the construction site, you can’t have a strong building without a strong foundation—we can apply this same principle to project management; the foundation of the project is clearly defined goals.

To overcome this construction project management challenge, you must work together with project stakeholders to understand exactly what they want out of the finished project and set clear goals to help your team meet those specifications.

The goals you set need to be:

  • Specific in their scope
  • Easily measurable
  • Realistically attainable
  • Relevant to the stakeholders’ goals
  • Bound to a specific deadline

Finally, it’s important to understand that setting these goals is about more than establishing the project’s end result—it’s a strategy to develop a plan of action that provides true value to the owner.

5. Safety and risk management

Finally, we have the construction project management challenge that affects every one of the problems listed above: safety and risk management. The risks in this industry are diverse, costly, and can stem from a number of factors, including:

More to read: What are the common safety violations in construction work and how can you avoid them?

There’s no straightforward solution to solving this construction project management challenge—the key to dealing with this problem is taking the right approach to risk management:

  1. Identify any potential risks relevant to the project
  2. Assess those risks based on their probability and severity of impact
  3. Determine how to avoid risks or reduce their impact on the project

Lean construction for residential projects - LetsBuild

Digitalisation can solve the challenges in construction project management

You can remove or reduce almost every construction project management challenge through digitalisation.

Unfortunately, putting off adopting new technologies is often the norm in the construction industry. And despite the fact that many project managers understand the benefits these technologies can bring, it’s easy to find excuses to justify putting off implementation.

We’ve heard it all—digitalisation is too expensive, it’s too complicated, my team won’t use it, etc.

But the truth is, with how often projects run over budget and past their deadlines, the industry can’t afford to put off digitalisation any longer.

So take your first steps toward digitalisation with your personalised demo of LetsBuild—the construction management software platform designed to help you overcome your construction project management challenges.