Planning and executing a construction project is always a balancing act – you want the best possible outcome in the least possible time. Reducing the time frame of a project often compromises the quality of build. Conversely, adding extras to a project will often extend the project length and move the completion date. As surveyors, it’s our job to keep track of the process and balance these two factors as best we can.
But the Holy Grail for any construction process is to speed up the project without sacrificing quality. It’s not an easy task, but with some organisation and planning, it is possible. Here are our top tips for speeding up the construction process.
1) Make a decision
Any delayed decision is a potential delay to the project. Every construction leader should be an efficient decision maker and motivator for their team.
A decision delayed is expensive, and can often have repercussions further down the line of the project.
A good way to stay on top of decisions is to have a detailed project log book. Flag any emails that need an answer and set aside time in your week to catch up with these key decisions. Speak with your team and ask them to alert you if they are waiting for a decision on any work.
Sometimes we hit dead-ends. There may be strands of a large scale project that require action that is beyond our control – maybe the weather has halted construction, or a team is unavailable. It’s at times like this that being an effective multi-tasker can stop a project from running aground. Several other strands for the project will be running concurrently. Keep an eye on all of these strands and pick up the parts of the project that are unaffected. Use this downtime to catch up with the rest of the project team and review paperwork.
Losing track of what is happening is a major cause of delay on a construction project. This works both ways: as a leader, you need to be keeping your teams up-to-date with the latest developments, and they need to be feeding back to you with regular updates on how things are going.
Let your people know that you need all the information in a timely manner – even bad news is better than no news. If you are not on site, then maybe a mediator or skype-based regular update session maybe the best way to keep in touch.
Delegating is not the same as passing the buck. Effective delegation will not only disperse the number of tasks that an individual is responsible for, it will also instil in your team a level of trust and responsibility.
By demonstrating to your team that you trust their competence and experience, you will be getting the best from them and will, therefore, by improving communication and speeding up the whole construction process.
Always remember to follow-up with any delegated task to ensure that the work is being done and the team member will feel valued.
5) Track changes
Inevitably, over the course of a project, you can expect to see some changes. These are large, long-scale projects with a huge amount of variables in terms of both time and materials.
Change is fine and can often be a positive force in a project. As a leader, the important thing is finding an efficient way to keep a track of changes from the original plan.
It’s really worth investing in an As-Built Plant Model. You can request an As-Built Plant Model from your architect before commencing any works. These 3d models will not only provide you with a more accurate initial plan, they also have the scope to show changes throughout the construction process. A great example of As-Built Plant Models can be seen here.