Keeping Momemtum

Construction tip submitted by Admin

In the world of construction we often find ourselves compelled to “go faster”! There are many factors driving this “push” for more results in less time. The obvious is financial. Money is usually the number one factor dictating the project schedule. This is especially true today as we collectively suffer through the current economic times. However, although cost containment is very important when executing the typical construction schedule, the management of the overall process is equally, or perhaps even more so, important in order to keep a project flowing on time and within budget.

The Project Manager is tasked with the responsibility of keeping the project moving forward. His job description is analogous to the coach of a sports team. Although he does not actually “play” any position during the sporting event, he needs to insure that all members of the team not only play their respective positions when required but perform in such a manner as to bring about a favorable conclusion to the event. So it is with the Project Manager. He’s a strategist, a mentor, a cheer leader and a disciplinarian. It is his responsibility to know and understand all aspects of the project and to make sure that each member of the team performs their portion of the project successfully.

There is any number, or combination, of situations that can occur during the course of the project that have the potential to side track the schedule and slow down the momentum. It is understood that when it comes to construction, you never know what you will run into after you start. But, the key to maintaining momentum throughout the course of the project is to anticipate these variables and to have options available when needed. It does not matter how diligently a project is managed, the odds of something going wrong during the course of construction is almost expected. Some things can be anticipated due to the nature of the project, but most problems that occur are surprising to all involved.

So, what to do when these “anomalies” occur?

First, make sure that the problem is clearly identified. Instead of saying “We hit a water line”, say instead, “ We hit a small water line along the East side of the foundation that was abandoned and does not need any repairs” This tells us that although an “anomaly” occurred, it does not affect the schedule.

Second, try to understand why this occurred. Was it not identified during the planning stages? Was it on the plans but not noticed by the operator?

Third, quickly assess the potential impact to the schedule. Does the damage require repairs? Can other portions of the project continue while the repairs are made?

Fourth, ACT on the conclusions determined from the assessment of the situation. If action is required, DO IT! If no action is required, make sure all involved understand to put the event behind them and to continue to move forward with the project.

Although this may seem like common sense, there can be at times so much pressure to perform during construction that common sense gets forgotten and blind action takes its’ place. Don’t fall victim to chaos. Keep a level head and know that regardless of what happens, there is always a solution to every problem, if you are willing to look.

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