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What is Construction Project Management?

Construction projects are dynamic and complex in nature. Regardless of the project’s scale, there is always a large volume of moving pieces (and stakeholders) to account for. That’s why construction project management is essential. 

Construction project management (CPM) is often considered the foundation of any successful construction project. Let’s look at what CPM is, its phases, and a few benefits of effective CPM. 

What is Construction Project Management? 

Construction project management includes the planning, coordination, supervision, and execution of a construction project. Unlike other forms of project management, CPM features many construction-specific constraints and considerations that broaden the scope of the work, such as safety management, bidding processes, and jobsite monitoring. 

In addition to managing many different areas, CPM also requires communication between and collaboration with a long list of stakeholders — from architects to engineers to city planners to the client themselves. 

It’s no surprise, then, that effective CPM requires a team that features highly diverse skillsets and a wealth of knowledge about the building process.  

Phases of Construction Project Management 

Generally, construction projects are organized by phases, with each playing a vital role in any successful project. While the names may change depending on who you ask, there are five phases to consider. 

1. Initiation

The initiation phase sets the tone for the entire project. During this phase, the project manager and their team will meet with the client to determine critical details about the project and ensure that each side is in alignment. This includes developing the project scope, identifying key stakeholders, and establishing a preliminary budget. The initiation phase also includes the design stage of the project. 

With this information, the project manager often runs a feasibility study or completes a business case to determine if the project is doable and worth undertaking. If the project is to move forward, the project manager will complete a project initiation document (PID) which defines critical project information such as scope, goals, potential risks, and more. 

2. Planning

The planning phase, also called the pre-construction phase, is a comprehensive step that includes a variety of necessary pre-execution tasks. The project manager will lead tasks such as finalizing scope documentation, assigning team roles, completing a project schedule, developing a communication plan, identifying potential risks and mitigation strategies, and establishing budget. 

This phase is incredibly important to the efficiency and success of a project, as planning lays the foundation for the project and ensures that everyone is on the same page before the work begins.

3. Procurement

During the procurement phase, the project manager collaborates with necessary stakeholders to develop a procurement strategy based on project objectives and budget constraints. Developing this strategy involves conducting market research to identify potential vendors and costs. 

The project manager will prepare procurement documents such as requests for proposals (RFPs) and invitation to bid (ITB) documents that outline evaluation criteria, contractual requirements, and other information for potential vendors. 

Once the strategy is defined and documents are prepared, the project manager will lead the vendor selection process. This includes evaluating vendor proposals and conducting negotiations to finalize terms and pricing.

4. Execution

Once planning and procurement is complete, it’s time to begin the work. The execution phase is where the team carries out assignments based on the project plan. During this phase, the project manager will oversee the work to ensure that it’s on schedule and within budget. Resource management becomes paramount during this phase.  

Within the execution phase is the monitoring and control phase. This sub-phase plays a major role in the overall success of a project, and, because of this, some view it as an entirely separate phase. Within the monitoring and control phase, the project manager will closely monitor progress against the timelines, budget, and key performance indicators (KPIs) defined in the project plan. This often involves utilizing construction project management software, which documents and organizes this data and can be shared with stakeholders for visibility.

5. Closeout

Once the work is complete, the project lifecycle ends with the closeout phase. This includes a final inspection to ensure that work is complete in accordance with the project plan and quality standards.  The project manager completes the final report on the project, and all project documentation is compiled and archived. Once everything is finished, the project is presented for approval, and final approval marks the conclusion of the project.  

Benefits of Effective Construction Project Management 

Optimal CPM will provide countless benefits for both clients and your business. Let’s look at a few of the most impactful benefits of effective CPM. 

Improved project productivity and efficiency 

Strong CPM is a driving factor for the productivity and efficiency of any construction project. Project managers are responsible for establishing timelines, setting project goals, allocating resources, supervising, and many other tasks that will directly impact efficiency. 

Cost savings 

The goal of any construction team is to finish projects on time and within budget, and good CPM is how they get there. Project managers are tasked with managing budgets and monitoring expenses over the project lifespan, and the best project managers will be able to accurately estimate costs and adapt to new and changing circumstances to keep projects within budget. 

Enhanced communication 

Effective CPM is rooted in communication. Project managers need to communicate with a variety of audiences — from providing direction to their team to acting as liaisons between various stakeholders to providing updates on project status to clients. By developing and maintaining open communication channels, project managers help in creating a collaborative environment in which all parties are on the same page. 

Reduced risk of delays 

Another important function of CPM is risk mitigation. Project managers identify potential risks during the planning phase and develop contingency plans designed to address potential issues such as weather delays, supply chain disruptions, or regulatory hurdles. 

How Crescent Can Help 

Construction project management is essential for any successful project, but building an effective CPM strategy is no simple task. That’s why, at Crescent, we’re proud to offer project management services to help your team complete projects productively, efficiently, and within budget. 

How can our project management team work for you? 

  • Database of 2,000 nationally recognized manufacturers — with submittal turnaround times in as little as 24 hours 
  • Full, 24/7 project visibility through SmartSheet project management software, including automated notifications so you never miss an update 
  • Direct Through Stock (DTS) material staging for lower handling costs, improved jobsite security, and improved cash flow 
  • Specialization by product group, with expertise in gear, quotes, lighting, and energy savings 

We’re excited to partner with you on your next project — get in touch with us today!