From project to project you might notice that each of the owners and subcontractors you’re working with all have different ideas and goals for running a project. Though it’s very rare for any two entities to think alike on every matter related to your project, there are some basic core elements that you’ll always need to give attention to when setting up your construction project plan. Regardless of the endeavor or who you are working with, when you take the time to organize the following key construction project elements, you can rest assured that your project will run smoothly.
Keys to developing a smart and seamless construction project plan:
1. Establish a well-defined scope of work
It may seem obvious, but all too often, a clear scope of work is lost in translation between owners, contractors, and subcontractors. The scope of work for your construction project should be clearly established in its own addendum within all contracts (between the owner and contractor AND between the contractor and subcontractor). Everyone should be on the same page with regards to what is expected of them on the project as far as scope of work and time frame, and these expectations should be in writing so that there is no question or argument to be had as the project progresses. Making use of estimator tools will assist you in determining how many man hours will be required to complete your project and will help you to project costs.
2. Agree upon payment terms
This may sound like another “no brainer” but you would probably be surprised to learn that there are still contractors out there who rely on a simple handshake when agreeing upon payment terms. Again, the total cost breakdown of any construction project plan should be included in the contract with the expectation for payment terms. Often, on larger scale projects, contractors and owners agree up on a “schedule of values” plan that allows for progress payments. If this is the case, a plan should be established for signing off on each payment with conditional and final lien releases which will officially record each sum received in order to protect all parties.
3. Quick response to project changes
Anyone who has been even remotely involved with construction can tell you that a construction project plan rarely (if ever) comes to completion without a few changes. As the work progresses, owners may find that they would like to add elements to the project, just as yourself or your subcontractors may find that the work cannot be completed as expiated or that additional materials and manpower will be required. A clear “change order” plan should be established for any such instances. As soon as the need for a change arises, it should be documented on a change order request for all parties to approve and sign off upon before proceeding with any adjustments or the ordering of additional parts and/or labor.
4. Solid, established leadership and team chemistry
It is imperative that the project managers, superintendents, and foremen assigned to a particular construction project are specifically assigned to that project. Allowing project managers to flit between projects without giving their undivided attention to one can cause huge communication problems and confusion amongst workers. Strong leadership is required so that owners know who to reach with questions or problems and so that contractors and subcontractors can easily reach one another, develop communication styles, and continue forward with the construction project plan without any delay or confusion.
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