Until the pandemic upended the world, the construction industry was booming. Although the industry is slowly recovering, project managers are faced with new challenges to complete their work. Each state has different restrictions, but nearly every construction crew has downsized to meet public health concerns.
Managers cannot meet with large groups for meetings, and many are unable to travel to multiple job sites to observe their progress. In uncertain times, it’s essential for managers to adapt to the new environment. The following sections examine how to improve the project management of your construction company.
Develop a Plan
For construction companies to remain profitable, project managers must develop new plans to address the uncertain working environment. Plans must include new safety protocols that protect work crews and customers, and spacing requirements may result in organizing smaller teams to complete larger projects. Operational costs will likely increase when you’re required to purchase protective equipment for crews, and for large companies, testing may also drive up costs.
Take Advantage of New Technology
One of the best ways to monitor labor costs, timesheets and budgeting concerns is to embrace new technologies. Keeping track of employee’s hours when you have multiple crews working at different locations is complicated, and often, timecards are not accurately calculated. F
or accurate accountability, you can use a construction daily report app that tracks employee hours, equipment availability, accidents and project progress. Employees can clock in and check their hours with a mobile phone, and managers can instantly retrieve information related to active projects.
Research and Supervise Each Project Thoroughly
Each project brings a different set of requirements and challenges. Researching the location of the site and the project details before beginning construction can save you time and money. Does the job site have parking close by for the workers? Is there a power source nearby to run the equipment? These questions should be answered before the project starts to avoid possible work delays. Any unexpected delays can affect your budget, and it’s easier to solve minor issues before the site becomes busy with work.
Resolve Conflicts Promptly
Even in normal times, conflicts can arise between employees. Prompt conflict resolution is crucial to maintaining a prosperous work environment. Arguments increase downtime, and if an issue isn’t resolved quickly, the situation can escalate and cause future disruptions.
Take an active role in supervising your workers and handle disciplinary disputes as soon as they occur. More problems will arise when employees are left on their own without a supervisor present.
Use Video Chats for Meetings
To keep tabs on workers and managers, you can use video chats. Although you may be unable to visit your sites personally, you should have frequent video conferences to stay informed on job progress. On-site workers can use their phones to film job site progress, and they can also display problems at the job you were unaware of.
You can avoid any technical issues by requiring all employees to use the same system for video chats. Schedule daily meetings online with your workers and encourage managers to report any problems immediately.
Implement Strict Safety Protocols
Although it’s challenging to promote social distancing in a construction crew, you should implement strict policies that keep your workers safe. When employees must work closer than six feet apart, they should use masks or face shields for protection. Being proactive about safety can save you a fortune, and crews that ignore safety guidelines risk being sidelined by a lengthy quarantine. Although safety equipment can significantly raise your budget, it’s much cheaper than dealing with a shutdown caused by an outbreak.
Provide Remote Working Options
Rather than furloughing your office employees, you can develop a remote working program to keep your office compliant with local ordinances and safe for employees. You may only need a small percentage of employees to work from home, and hopefully, the change will be temporary.
However, you’ll spend less money on heating and cooling your offices with fewer workers, and many business owners are impressed by the savings associated with remote work and plan to make the positions permanent.
Modify the Budgeting Process
Budgeting is a tricky process for construction bids, and industry analysts claim that inaccurate budgeting is a nationwide problem for project managers that causes millions in lost revenue every year. When you bid on a project, take your time and account for work delays or unexpected problems. A high bid may price you out of certain projects, but it’s better to be accurate and honest with clients in the bidding process.
When you’ve established a reputation for quality work and precise bidding, you’ll surpass the competition and have plenty of clients eager to work with you. It may seem difficult to implement cost-saving initiatives in your company during the current state of the world. However, you can overcome the challenges and continue to expand and improve your business.