Project Management plays a huge role in Construction and the Construction industry plays a huge role within the world economy. The world population is increasing at a staggering pace, and more people means more houses and hotels, and restaurants and apartments all over the world. In fact, the construction industry has taken such a giant leap in the past decade with mega projects like the Belt and Road Initiative helmed by China and various undersea cables connecting entire continents via the internet, that its value has ballooned to the trillions and it is soon going to cross another threshold. According to the Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), the world’s construction market is projected to be worth $10.3 trillion in 2020.
However, despite this fact, the need for Skilled Project Managers within the industry is huge. According to statistics from the US, for every $1 billion invested in the United States for construction, $122 million is wasted due to lacking project management and waste of resources. This means that a 12% waste of resources occurs each time investment goes into a construction project. This lack of project management needs to be remedied if we are going to stop the huge waste of resources.
Construction Management, or Project Management, is responsible for the success of a construction project. Since managers oversee every little aspect of the project including the allocation of funds, the execution of the plan, the planning itself and monitoring the progress of individual stages and the successful closure of each stage, they indirectly and directly decide the fate of each little aspect of the project. Of course, they don’t do it alone, but like a director in a stage play or a film, or a scriptwriter in a television series, they take care of every beat the construction crew follows and the direction that the planning takes.
There is a wide swath of responsibilities that they need to take care of in construction management from making sure that enough raw materials have arrived for the completion of the project to reporting on the project’s progression to sector management and the client that has paid for the entire thing. Mostly, the entire job is making sure that the project goes on without many hiccups and that the allocation of resources is apt enough so that waste is minimal, and delays are little to nonexistent.
Client support is also a big part of the role since clients have constant questions about what is being done and why things are being done in a certain way. They are naturally suspicious and cautious about placing millions or sometimes even hundreds of millions in to the hands of a construction firm to build their hotel or their block of apartments for them. In this, the project management professional removes all semblances of suspicion and fear by arranging visits and having the client keep up with the process of construction every step of the way.
What Key Skills are Required
You do need to have a certain amount of experience in the construction industry to know what you’re doing. This job needs experience because knowledge of past failures and techniques needed to get projects off the ground and completed without a hitch is essential. It can’t be done with book knowledge or just by memorizing a handbook on project management. You must be ready to deal with the surprises that construction management throws at you. You must learn to budget and anticipate for accidents that might occur and mishaps that may happen as they do on major construction sites.
You also need to be aware of the difficulty and the conditions that the workers operate in to understand why construction management is so important. That doesn’t come just with a cold understanding of the facts, but by seeing it all in action.
You’ll also need to be skilled in negotiation and financial management expertise to anticipate if the project will go over budget and to request additional funds. This could be because you realize there is a better way to complete the project that involves new technology, or which has a bigger pay off in the future if more money is invested now. Convincing the client isn’t going to be easy and you need to know how to do it.
You’ll also need to be meticulous in keeping records and allocating funds. Every dollar and cent need to be accounted for if you are to justify payments and request more funds.
And finally, the biggest and most prized skill of all is time management. This isn’t something that can be learned in school, it’s something that must be learned through experience. Being wary of timelines and conscious of deadlines is a skill that people hone throughout their lives. Some leave work until the end and hurry, while others plan carefully throughout the duration of the project. Be the latter, because no one should want to be the former under any circumstances.
And an additional skill, that may once have been considered optional, but isn’t anymore, is the skill to develop new skills. The world is changing more rapidly than ever before and people in all professions need to stay on their feet and wary of the evolution of business and management and technology. If there is a new technique or material or innovation in your field, you will need to learn it to stay on top.
Your client won’t wait for you to adapt, they will simply get a better deal if someone else beats you to it.
Construction Project Management is an underrated skill, but it is essential to get things done and more importantly, to get them done as efficiently as possible. The future will strive for efficiency and for constant improvement. If that is to be the case in the construction industry, more effective and more adept construction management needs to be at the center of it.
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