21 Dec

Common Building Project Management Mistakes

Construction is a complex business at times, with every project throwing up its own challenges and obstacles. 

That’s why project management is so important, but it’s a big undertaking for any single person – no one wants to be the reason something isn’t finished on time or to be left holding the can when things go south. Mistakes mean costs – both in monetary terms as well as for the safety of everyone working on the project.

So what can be done to avoid costly mistakes? Well, good planning would be a start. If you’re involved in project management, do yourself a favour and read our common building project management mistakes. That way you can eliminate them from your game and keep the gaffer – your client – happy!

Not outlining the scope

A cardinal sin of any building project is to start work without a firm plan. Get a Statement of Work (SoW) in place for your project to clearly and transparently outline what the project involves – it’s what you might call the scope.

Your SoW should include elements such as the purpose of the project and the deliverables from it. Be brief, but also be firm and comprehensive in what you say, so that there can be no mistakes in what you mean. 

As the old saying goes “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” – without a scope, you’ll probably run up against things like:

  • Scope creep, with clients pushing for more than you originally intended to do
  • Confusion on the worksite over who is supposed to do what works at what time
  • Poor results, due to a lack of defined requirements, meaning a dissatisfied client

Not having a timeline

“Where are we at?”, “When’s this part due to be finished?” and “What’s happening next?”. All questions that could drive you round the bend if you’ve neglected to put a timeline in place, but the client is well within their rights to ask. At the very least, you’ll have a deadline you need to work towards, so make sure to block out an overall timeline for your plan of action.

Things don’t always go to plan and schedules can make things tight. Give yourself some wriggle room and don’t over-promise if you don’t know you can deliver – you don’t want a bad rep in the industry. 

The main thing is to plot your milestones, since they’ll let your client and your team know what’s expected when. You can then push to meet expectations and hold people accountable where necessary.

Not addressing safety

Not a single brick should be laid before first addressing safety on a construction project. You’re dealing with people’s health and livelihoods, so approach this element with the seriousness it deserves.

Safety training should be one of the first things you go through at the very beginning, making everyone aware of the dangers, no matter how unlikely. You should then back this up throughout the project by taking regular walk-throughs with the site manager and prompting people where you spot infractions. It might seem like you’re hassling folk simply for not wearing the right protection, but it can prevent injuries and delays – they’ll thank you for the prompt if something were to go wrong! 

Not staying current on payments

A pretty simple tip for making your life easier is paying the right people at the right time. Not only will you get a bad reputation if you don’t, but it could burn bridges for future projects as well. 

It’s harder than it sounds, but make sure you schedule payments for contractors and suppliers to be current with the work. Pay them too early and you’re paying for something that’s not been done, but pay them late and they may down tools, delaying the project and costing you more in the long run.

At Hitchcock & King, we know what a relief it can be when a project goes smoothly. That’s why we provide a massive range of products and brands for every type of construction project – taking one less worry off your hands. Grab everything you need for your next construction project (but only if you’ve got the above points sorted first!) from your local  Hitchcock & King branch in London. We’ve got over 50 years of experience, great stock availability and can provide rapid turnarounds to keep your work on track.

Need more info on our products? Simply give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat.