By addressing issues that arise over the course of construction management, project owners are accountable for ensuring that a site operates without incident while also adhering to all timelines and financial goals.
They are responsible for making sure that everybody gets what they require in order to finish the construction project on schedule and deliver it. According to research conducted by McKinsey, the majority of building projects (98%), especially larger ones (77%), experience setbacks. The causes of these disruptions might be different depending on the working environment of the project.
The construction manager… is the fulcrum of managing the money and managing the personnel and resources. We’re having a shortage of that individual.
Dave Martin (Martin Construction & Excavation Company)
Each of the project’s stakeholders, including the construction owners, financiers, vendors, and subcontractors, brings a unique set of concerns and ambitions to the table that might potentially derail it. In addition to this, the project leader must contend with challenges, such as regulations from the government and poor weather conditions, both of which cause additional delays. That’s where KanBo is a must-have software for construction organizations as it provides a unified platform for construction management, facilitating interaction and collaboration amongst all parties involved in a project at any stage. KanBo equips project owners to make, manage, and oversee the project master plan, work scheduling, incident, change, and problem management with its cutting-edge features, improved work visibility, and real-time communication.
This article will provide construction owners with a deeper understanding of the issues that come with construction project management, as well as how to overcome those obstacles. Let’s start at the beginning and get the fundamentals of managing construction projects down before we go any further.
Who is the Construction Project Owner?
The owner of a construction project is the person who comes up with the strategy and then hires an architect as their client. The architect may also serve as the project manager, in which case he or she lends their knowledge and experience to the structure, oversees the development, and makes sure the functions are achieved. The entity that is in charge of awarding contracts almost always is the one that owns or has the right to utilize the piece of land that will be used for the development.
Primary Responsibilities of a Construction Project Owner
As the individual responsible for the construction process, the project owner is required to procure the services of professionals in aspects that may surpass their capabilities, based on the specifications of the facility that is being planned and the regulations that are associated with those attributes. These areas include technological, legal, and fiscal project management, as well as day-to-day operational management. Here’s what the project owner is expected to do:
- Maintain oversight and watch over the completion of the project in terms of its timeline, functionality, budget, modifications, agreements, and risk.
- Prepare the Project Action Plan, making sure that the undertaking is consistent with the client’s criteria and practices and that it produces results in compliance with those methods and procedures.
- Take charge of the project’s collaboration and make it a point to ensure that interfaces are taken into account and dealt with at every level of the construction project.
- Participate in the coordination and management of the design team and any other outside service providers by working with the functional departments.
- Maintain responsibility for the project risk management plan and provide regular updates on the status of the project during its entire duration.
- Utilize various performance management strategies and always be on the lookout for ways to enhance performance management’s standard operating methods and procedures.
- Take charge of the procedure governing change management and compensation events and manage the flow of information related to the project among the many stakeholders.
- Execute any additional obligations that are included in the contract, in addition to communicating with and issuing papers as needed by the contract.
Hiring & Managing Third-Party Stakeholders
Whenever a construction owner makes the decision to hire professional assistance for the architecture and construction of a project, they are presented with a large number of options from which to choose. The kind of construction project being built and the owner’s prior experience working with a variety of specialists on the company’s other projects are two major factors that play a significant role in determining the kind of services that are ultimately chosen.
In general, the owners of a business have the option of employing a variety of typical kinds of expert services in either a standalone capacity or in some hybrid blend. Following are the key areas where a construction owner usually requires external or third-party expertise.
Financial Planners and Advisory Services
An owner will frequently employ the services of financial management advisors such as certified public accounting (CPA) agencies in the initial stages of strategic organization for a capital project. These services are commissioned to assess the fiscal and economic viability of the construction project, notably with regard to the different regulations of national, state, and regional tax laws that may influence the investment strategy. Financial institutions may also be engaged over the numerous choices for funding the construction project in order to examine the long-term impact that each of these financing strategies will have on the owner organization’s overall financial stability.
Specialized Firms for Architecture and Engineering
When designing a project proposal, it is often the owner’s responsibility to hire an engineering and architecture company or coalition to serve as a technical advisor. Following the conclusion of the structural engineering and the financial affairs for the project, the owner will sign a project agreement with a construction contractor via either the process of public bidding or bargaining. The general contractor will be responsible for the construction of the project as well as the coordination of a big group of subcontractors who will each be responsible for a different aspect of the conclusion of the project. The architectural and engineering company does not only finish the design and layout but also performs quality inspections on-site while the building is being constructed. As a consequence, the architecture and engineering company serves as the primary expert on the owner’s behalf and oversees the construction work to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved.
Design & Development Firms
Although many construction owners have their own organizations with a wide pool of talent, employing the skills of a design and development company is becoming more prevalent in the commercial construction sector, especially for the management of major projects. It is possible to resolve a significant number of disagreements that arise between architects and builders by combining the planning and management functions under a single company. Specifically, proposals will be evaluated in great detail for how easily they can be constructed. However, an owner who employs the services of a design-and-build company has a responsibility to ensure that the caliber of the property that is built is not compromised in order to complete the project in a shorter amount of time or at a lower cost. Additionally, using competitive bidding in this sort of design-and-construction process is challenging due to the nature of the procedure. As a consequence of this, owners need to have a reasonable level of expertise in order to negotiate building contracts that are both practical and budget-friendly.
Construction Project Managers
In the past few years, a fresh crop of construction project managers has emerged, providing expert services to clients from the beginning of a project all the way through to its conclusion. The majority of construction management individuals originate from architectural and engineering organizations or general contracting companies, and they may or may not continue to maintain parallel responsibilities in the employment of the construction owners. In any event, the owner of a project can depend on the services of a primary key specialist to oversee the whole of the procedure. On the other hand, similar to the architectural and engineering companies of the last many generations, construction managers are valued by certain owners but not by others. When there is a substantial risk involved, some owners discover that the main contractors, too, may want to defend their own interests rather than the owners’ interests when it comes to protecting their investments in the project. That’s why it all comes down to the nature of the project, the owner’s preferences, and the resources available to them.
To get the most efficient assistance all throughout the project’s lifespan of a completed facility, a few owners and contractors are open to the idea of including strategy development at the outset of the process and facility upkeep as a subsequent obligation in order to cut space-related expenditures in their real estate assets. This is a natural continuation to ensure you get the highest-quality services throughout the construction phase of the project. As a result of this, certain engineering and architecture companies, project management firms, and interior architecture businesses that have expertise in using technology are now providing both upfront and after-development services, apart from relatively typical solutions offered in architecture and construction.
Operations & Maintenance Managers
While many owners of developed facilities employ full-time workers to oversee the operation and upkeep of their properties, other owners may find it more convenient to subcontract these responsibilities to qualified professionals. In special-purpose industrial and infrastructure facilities, it is typical to employ an in-house workforce for operations and maintenance. On the other hand, it is standard procedure to employ external managers under service agreements for the operation and upkeep of investment properties such as condos and commercial complexes. However, there are instances in which these standard procedures do not apply. Contracting out the upkeep of public projects such as roads, for instance, may be done with private companies. In any event, managers have the ability to offer a variety of maintenance and operations services for a certain duration of time in line with the conditions of any legal arrangements that may be in place. As a result, the owners won’t need to provide their in-house expertise to manage and maintain the buildings as they normally would.
Challenges Facing Construction Owners
Due to the involvement of a number of stakeholders along with third-party service providers, it becomes quite an uphill battle for construction owners to manage, coordinate, and monitor every aspect of planning and development. They neither have the time nor the capability to organize everything on their own without delegating many technical and operational tasks. Apart from that, there are numerous other challenges that make it much more difficult to execute a construction project to perfection.
The Skills and Experience Gap
The construction sector places a significant emphasis on one’s credibility. People have a tendency to operate with those whom they are familiar with and respect. This is frequently a really positive sign since it can be a very productive use of time for groups of people who understand how to collaborate well (more about benefits of real-time collaboration you can read in this article). However, this might result in certain disruptions if there is a labor shortage among the team members. That’s where it becomes a bit challenging for the construction owner to ensure all teams and individuals work collaboratively so there aren’t any skills gaps. Moreover, having an awareness of these knowledge disparities prior to them having an effect on the project is the answer to this problem. As soon as you identify these voids, you’ll be able to address them in a timely and effective manner. Partnering with a recruiter who specializes in the construction industry and can quickly find you the ideal professionals, is the most effective approach to accomplish this goal.
Absence of Well-Outlined Specific Goals
The lack of clearly defined objectives is often the first difficulty encountered while managing construction projects. Quite often the parties involved, such as the project owners or the freelancers, are unable to come to an agreement on what it is that they desire exactly, or they may not have a solid understanding of what it is that they want. It is quite similar to embarking on a journey without having any idea of where you will end up. This can result in a waste of time and resources which could cause the project to be delayed if you do not define specific goals. Despite this being a significant obstacle, there is a way to fix it. Finishing a building project within the allotted time frame is the overarching objective of any construction process. These objectives are attainable provided that the project is not only planned and carried out in a strategic manner but that an appropriate decision-making framework is in place, and that tasks are delegated effectively. It is the responsibility of the project supervisors to be upfront and raise the appropriate questions in order to prevent excessive slowdowns and to persuade the client to agree on the project’s objectives.
Cash Flow Delays
Payment processing is essential to the success of construction companies, despite the fact that it is frequently an archaic procedure. Additionally, when payments are not made on time, it has an adverse effect on the cash flow of a firm. This, in return, can increase uncertainty in other ventures and deplete a pool of funding that could be used for them. As a result, there is a need for new types of billing systems. Construction businesses are able to assure that the cash flow of one project will not adversely impact any other projects by using updated software and sufficient follow-up.
Unfeasible Expectations and Subpar Forecasting
It’s possible that certain customers and stakeholders may present some ambitious expectations. It is also likely that certain difficulties may arise as a result of their aspirations, regardless of whether they desire a project to be finished on a reduced timetable or within a restricted budget. There are certain aspects that are just not feasible for even the most experienced project manager to do. Working for objectives that are impossible to reach might actually be counterproductive. A number of these ideas are based on inaccurate projections of the future. It is possible that similar to risk assessment, this forecasting places an emphasis on the foreseeable future rather than the near future. To determine whether or not those projections are genuinely attainable, construction owners should first split them into monthly, weekly, and daily targets. After that, they need to discuss the concerns with the stakeholders, if that’s required. Give them an alternative strategy so that they can envision a deadline or expense that is ambitious yet within their reach.
Communication is an essential skill in any field of business, but it becomes exponentially more vital once tasks are split up among several people or organizations. It is possible for crucial tasks to get lost in the shuffle when there is an absence of concise and functional communication between team members, and the team may be oblivious to a problem until it is way too late to fix it. As a result, those in charge of managing projects cannot initiate a project without establishing transparent criteria. At the conclusion of each working day, there needs to be an interaction across a clearly defined hierarchy that notifies the workforce of any development that was made or roadblocks that were encountered. In this manner, issues are able to be handled in a preventative manner. Utilizing a work management software application like KanBo might prove to be an effective tool to ensure proper communication and collaboration across teams.
Absence of Organization and Structure
It is challenging to get tasks accomplished in an efficient way if there are no clear objectives to work toward. If those working on a construction project do not have a specific goal in mind that they are expected to achieve, the project is at risk of falling behind schedule, going over its allotted budget, or doing both. And then in the absence of these objectives, it will be impossible to hold individuals responsible for the contributions they make to a project. The performance management process is an essential component of project management. In order to put this into action and ensure that everyone stays on track, construction owners need to have defined responsibilities. It is beneficial to split up larger, project-wide objectives into more manageable, daily tasks for people to work toward (In KanBo you can use Gantt Chart). The consequences of not completing a task on one day carry over to the following day. That’s why it is important to hold individuals responsible for the use of predetermined procedures.
Concerns Relating to Worker Safety
The importance of the health and safety of construction workers cannot be overstated. The number of incidents and illnesses suffered in the workplace has been stable for a number of years. When running a company, ensuring the well-being of employees and shielding them from potential dangers like accidents and injuries should be the construction owner’s first concern. One strategy to ensure the safety of employees is to provide them with ongoing training on safety procedures. Accidents may be avoided by strictly enforcing safe working standards in the workplace. The company’s image is enhanced as a result of its unwavering dedication to protecting its workforce.
Lack of Proper Risk Assessment & Mitigation
In many cases, project leaders will construct precautions to safeguard against long-term risk. However, short-term concerns are often disregarded while making calculations. These problems may soon accumulate and begin to have a substantial effect on the bottom line if they are not addressed. Any problem, no matter how apparently little it may seem, has the potential to undermine a whole project. This may be the result of inefficient subcontractors, timeline issues, or shifting preferences among stakeholders. As a result, it is necessary to prepare for a variety of different scenarios. To prevent any of those possible problems from occurring, timetables should provide some flexibility, and investment should be made in initiatives such as safety training (more about risks in construction you can read in this article).
Ensuring Compliance with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable production and consumption habits are essential if the construction industry is to achieve its climate objectives. If the construction sector is serious about attracting young workers, it has to make climate and environmental issues a top priority. This is especially true when you consider that environmental and ecological concerns are high on their list of concerns.
Achieving carbon neutrality in the future will need innovative solutions, even if existing infrastructure and economic systems are capable of greatly reducing emissions. Innovation is essential for environmental sustainability in many fields, including the hiring and firing of employees. The need for higher-quality, more practical digitalization is growing as new technologies emerge.
Goal 9, proposed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, has several connections to the building trades. It encourages multinational firms to put money into building up the world’s infrastructure so that the benefits of industrialization and economic expansion may be shared by all people. Furthermore, businesses do this because they want to foster an environment where innovation is encouraged and welcomed. Businesses in the building industry should strive to achieve the following sustainability objectives:
- Utilization of PPP ideas and creation of environmentally friendly, certified infrastructure. Industry engagement and operations, as well as the development of new transportation networks, should be encouraged.
- In addition to increasing real estate investment in the healthcare sector, this includes promoting workplace safety and health, providing medical services, and organizing athletic activities for staff. Construction firms should engage in corporate citizenship and sponsorship to help the neighborhoods where they work.
- Creating and regulating universities should be an option that is readily available to all employees. In addition, businesses and organizations should be actively involved in fostering the next generation of talent via corporate social responsibility and sponsorship programs, as well as a variety of other initiatives.
- Coordinating the building of flood protection and treatment facilities with the creation of water supply and wastewater treatment and disposal systems is crucial. Companies should do their best to reduce their environmental effect throughout the building process.
- To reduce environmental impact, energy infrastructure development should be tied up with green construction and infrastructure efforts. Businesses in the building sector should spearhead the development and administration of alternative energy programs.
Key KanBo Features for Enhanced Construction Management
Enhance Interactions among Project Stakeholders
Using KanBo, project leaders may create and roll out a strategy for communicating with all involved parties, describing their specific duties in the project. Stakeholders have complete access to all necessary information, and that information is communicated to them through the system’s records and documentation on ongoing projects. All interactions between project participants are encrypted, highly contextualized, and simple to access. Any party involved may openly discuss and share ideas for addressing future shifts, adjustments, and unexpected obstacles. It also enables project owners to stay in constant contact with one another and work together in real-time throughout the project’s life cycle to guarantee success.
Incorporate Timely Project Management and Work Scheduling
Owners may give the necessary help to project managers in terms of timeline and resource management using KanBo’s construction management software via outcome-oriented planning and issue management. They have far better insight into the Project Master Plan and can guarantee that any modifications are conveyed in real-time.
Manage the Project’s Overall Structure Independently
With KanBo, owners can plan out and execute their project’s design phase and the sequence of their tasks with precision, ensuring that everything gets done on schedule. With everyone on the same page regarding the project’s updates, queries, and requests, it’s easier to tackle obstacles and interdependence. Owners can gain valuable insights into the state of their projects and the obstacles they’re facing thanks to real-time, on-demand reports on the status of their work and the issues they’re facing. To avoid downtime and guarantee effective operations, owners can detect and correct misalignments in the project’s requirements, schedule, and resources. They can also maintain a constant view of project planning and modification requests in relation to work progress and funnel activities while having the option to review the quantitative and qualitative effects of proposed project plan adjustments on efforts to standardize and improve business procedures.
Allow for Effective Record-Keeping
Project managers may use KanBo to centralize and manage data such as project blueprints, prerequisites, approvals, and status updates. The data may be retrieved, saved, and synced from many sources and templates can be constructed to bring efficiency and exploit past knowledge and experiences.
Integrate Kanban with Content Delivery Environments and Enterprise Content Management Systems for Data Management
From the beginning of the design stage to the completion of the project, project owners can produce, administer, and communicate all the information pertaining to the project to the numerous stakeholders involved. They can maintain consistency throughout the project lifecycle by classifying and centrally storing all necessary information, interaction, and documentation. KanBo also enables a quick and easy way to access, evaluate, and share real-time data on project status and work activity with all relevant parties in order to solicit input, expedite decision-making, and improve outcomes. Apart from that, project stakeholders can locate any file or information in CDE for the purpose of accessing, viewing, and altering any data item. If you want safer data, you could also have information management governance.
Manage Incidents, Changes, and Problems More Easily
Manage and overcome obstacles by coordinating efforts with relevant parties and keeping them informed of developments that might impact their ability to make prompt decisions. KanBo also helps owners take care of problems by bringing them to the attention of higher-ups so that they may get the help they need to finish the project.
Integrate ECM to Centralize Data
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has built-in interaction with many different technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), allowing you to centralize all your data and information in one place.
Improved Construction Management for Owners with KanBo
Every construction company requires technological channels that allow it to centrally control all of its operations and responsibilities. KanBo’s task and knowledge management platform’s adaptability and versatility may be helpful to any construction organization. Construction firms are no longer obligated to build information-restricting walls when it comes to interdepartmental collaboration and the production of new ideas and discoveries. KanBo may work with organizations that have a hierarchy of authority.
KanBo Is the C-Suite’s Headquarters
Employees may use KanBo to swiftly access critical information such as objectives and projects, job assignments and skills, and internal communications. If desired, senior management might set up a virtual base of operations and information on an agile work and knowledge management platform. Executives in the construction business will now have instant access to data and analytics presented in a highly visual format. A business’s innovation strategy may benefit from a faster and more accurate decision-making process.
KanBo Provides Citizen Programmers with a Low-Code Platform
The only advantages of a low-code strategy highlighted in this section are faster application delivery and less human coding. Non-programmers, such as project managers and business analysts, may now design and create mobile apps. Reducing IT backlogs and removing shadow technologies may enable non-technical employees to have a bigger effect on the organization. As a result of the creation of creative new technologies, the knowledge management system is currently more efficient than before.
Without the use of traditional computer programming, both developers and non-developers may design application software. Those at the top of a company who do not know how to code may find it difficult to do their jobs effectively. The primary benefit of using a platform like KanBo as a no-code solution is the ability to construct applications quickly. Organizations are increasingly relying on these platforms for assistance as the number of mobile workers grows and software expertise becomes rare.
Processes are long-term efforts necessary to attain a certain goal. The KanBo knowledge management platform provides both HR and workers with the tools they need for efficient project management. Several teams and departments may easily engage with one another using the software’s components.
For construction firms, innovation is not a choice but a requirement in the challenging years beyond 2022. With the global economy facing a downturn, labor shortage, and supply chain constraints, construction project owners face a multitude of obstacles. In order to maintain smooth, trouble-free operations, they need to be nimble in their business processes and strategic planning, which necessitates ongoing modification and adaptation.
KanBo software is one of the most comprehensive digitalization systems for construction organizations as it provides a diverse variety of foundational blocks for creating a wide range of business processes across multiple departments, as well as their execution and optimization. Apart from that, it delivers complete work visibility along with a collaborative work environment that can help construction owners to get “work about work” out of the way while keeping an eye on all the details.