How To Avoid Major Construction Project Management Blunders

Construction project management blunders are common and good stuff! Before I hit the Big 65 I made good money as a freelance project turnaround specialist PM! Still, seen as though there isn’t anything in it for me these days, I’ll give you a few tips on avoiding these blunders!

  1. This needs to start before you even get the contract for the project! When you are asking subbies for Tender prices, research them! Make sure they are actually skilled and experienced in what you will be asking of them. Do not just go for the cheapest price! That can end up being expensive if they let you down!
  2. Once you’ve won the contract and appointed your subbies hand the job over to your Planner. Make sure he or she is a good, competent one! Have them discuss the job with the subby’s people and come up with — wait for it — wait for it! — a Detailed Programme to Completion! (DPC). Sure, the wages bill for this to be done properly will be around the £20k mark, but isn’t that cheap if it saves being lumbered with LAD charges at the end of the project? If it comes to that, to duck and dive and foist off the blame, you’ll need a Forensic Delay Analysis — that’ll set you back about £60,000 for an expert to do it!
  3. So, okay, you’ve started on site. Never, ever say “You’ll do it my way, because I say so!” Always have a chat with the subby’s man, or even the skilled trades, and find out the best way to do it!
  4. To do that you’ll have to display some subtle skills and get everyone involved in the project feeling that they are part of a team, that they all work together and that their own views are important! Do that and you needn’t worry about your own status as the Boss! They will all see you as their Team Leader.
  5. Part of the above involves “wearing a suit and tie and swanning around looking important”. Silliness aside, get out there and make yourself approachable and accessible to the skilled tradesmen. If they rate and respect you they’ll tell you about problems ages before you’d find out the hard way! Saves loads of remedial work and a pile of money!
  6. While you’re having your at least once-a-day wander, keep your eyes open for defective workmanship. Point it out to the men there andthen. They’ll put it right instantly which save loads of rework. Not having the rework save having to sort out who has to pay for it! Plus these guys don’t like having their work criticised so they’ll make pretty sure it is all much better from then on!
  7. If there are drawing changes which changes the work to be done, make sure the guys that need to know get a copy of it as fast as you can! Saves a bundle on re-work!
  8. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what has to be done. Then we submit a Request for Information to the Architects or Engineers. Make sure that they come back to you within the contractually permitted time! Nag them if you have to! If they don’t, and you record the fact, then it is them that is going to be picking up the rework and LAD bills.
  9. Record everything that happens! Make sure all your paperwork has been read, acted upon and is properly filed away before you leave site each day! Keep a Site Diary and a secret one of your own with things in that which aren’t really company business! I’ve used mine to jog my memory about odd things years later, usually for Police enquiries or insolvency actions.
  10. Pay your subbies on due date! Don’t let the QS’s befuddle you about cash flow! That is their problem. Yours is to complete on time and to budget. If your subby goes bust on you because he runs out of money, a replacement one will cost you an awful lot more! They aren’t idiots and they, too, work for a living to keep their families!
  11. Finally, for now Health and Safety on site. As you wander round site keep your eyes and ears open. Look for the guy who is an accident looking for somewhere to happen. Look for unsafe procedures. Look for anything which can become a problem. Have a Notifiable Incident on site and HSE can hold work up for as long as the fancy takes them! LAD staring you in the face again! Plus, there is also a morale issue. If there is a serious accident on site the lads’ morale plummets and their work output drops — even from theguys on price work.

Implement that lot and you’ll be walking away from your Blunder- free construction project mangement software after it has finished on time, to budget and to standard.You and everyone involved will take pride in it and many will be coming back to have another look at it in the future!

Funny thing, though. Walk in and tell Security you were PM on the job and they usually fall over backwards and give you a Cleaners Pass that lets you go everywhere!

Posted by Stuart Howie

Stuart has built something like 2,500 houses, refurbished 1,500 homes and been involved in 150 commercial construction contracts on which he spent about £5 billion, and of which a 100 were project turnaround roles!

Originally published at