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9 Construction Project Management Challenges and How to Resolve Them

There’s a lot that can go wrong when you work in construction project management, that much is true. But it’s how you navigate these problems that matter. That’s what separates the adequate project managers from the effective ones.

Make no mistake about it, your ability to mitigate certain project challenges will determine the overall success of your work. After all, how project managers handle these challenges will impact everything from employee morale, to how much the project costs overall.

In this post we are going to outline 9 construction project management challenges and how you can resolve them. Do keep in mind that we are talking in broad terms here, meaning the situations you find yourself in might require a different or more detailed approach.

Before we continue, let’s look at a quick definition of construction project management. This is something you might already know, so feel free to skip this section and get straight into the project challenges.

What is Construction Project Management?

Disclaimer: Again, if you already know this, do feel free to skip to the project challenges down below. This section is for those interested in becoming a project manager but maybe don’t understand the position fully.

Project management in the ever-expanding world of construction is a must have. It’s the role of the project manager to ensure that the goals set at the beginning of the process are well and truly met.

Utilising budgets, managing others, ordering materials, and solving project challenges. All are part of construction project management. This is, of course, a very summarised version of what a project manager does, if you’d like to learn more, check out the range of blogs we have on the YardLink site.

Value engineering also plays a significant part in the day-to-day of a project manager. So if you’re looking for the best place to start, check that blog out first.

Construction Project Management Challenges

Challenges will always present themselves to project management, no matter how much you plan ahead. After all, some challenges you just can’t predict or plan for, such as delays caused by bouts of harsh weather.

Again, how you counter these project challenges will determine how effective you are in your position, and the rest of the project by proxy given just how important management is in construction. After all, they are directly responsible for everything that occurs on site. Every decision they make will affect employees, stakeholders, subcontractors, suppliers and more, either directly or indirectly.

You’ll find that some of the most common problems facing project management can be categorised into three distinct categories, those being:

  1. Time
  2. Scope
  3. Budget

Understand that some project challenges are entirely situational and will vary depending on the size of the project, not to mention, where the project is taking place. Here is a list of the 9 construction project management challenges we’ll be talking about in this post:

  • No well-defined goals
  • Poor communication
  • Limited skills
  • Poor risk management
  • Project delays
  • Budget limitations
  • Lack of structure
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Lack of accountability

No Well-Defined Goals

The first project challenge we’d like to draw your attention to is an important one. Workers that have no well-defined goals will often do things wrong, or walk around not knowing what they’re doing fully.

Clarity is key, and needs to be highlighted from the outset, not only so that everyone knows what they’re doing, but to monitor performance too. By monitoring how their workforce is doing, project managers gain a better understanding of where the project is at during certain periods in the timeline.

How to Resolve

Easily one of the best ways to help with this potential issue is by looking at SMART and CLEAR approaches to help come up with and roll out a series of effective goals. The goals you set should be clear from the beginning; clear for you and clear for whomever the goals are for in the team.

Be sure to document these goals too, and keep track of them. After all, most goals span the entire project length and therefore need to be monitored continuously.

Poor Communication

Effective communication in constriction is more of a requirement than a suggestion, and with good reason. Poor communication can lead to problems and tasks that aren’t completed to a set standard. This can cause delays and pause the project indefinitely – depending on the size of the problem.

There’s no room for miscommunication on-site when you consider what is at stake, and the dangers around you and others, which is why any communication issues need to be sorted as soon as they present themselves.

How to Resolve

Take advantage of project collaboration tools. These tools make life a hell of a lot easier on-site as it ensures that everyone is updated. Setting up a project WhatsApp group, or setting up Slack could go a long way in ensuring that nothing is ever lost in translation as far as communication goes.

Alternatively, short stand-up meetings every morning before work could also come in real handy to prevent any miscommunication.

Limited Skills

Have you ever heard the saying: a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? Well, this applies to construction project management too. If anything, it has more relevance in this sector given how much work goes into construction.

What does this mean in terms of project challenges?

Quite a lot when you consider how much can go wrong if a member of the team is not equipped to deal with the tasks you’ve outlined.

As someone in project management, you can only do so much in terms of creating the most ideal environment for your workforce. If someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, then this needs to be sorted.

How to Resolve

An effective project manager should be able to identify what they need and the competencies of who they’re looking to hire for the job. Meaning, you should only hire people you know are up for the task and can complete it to the highest standard.

Yes, you could train people up, but this can cost time and money. Both of which you might not have. Our advice would be to hire smart from the beginning. An effective project initiation plan should help you make the right decisions.

Poor Risk Management

Risk management during construction project planning is a game of what if scenarios. Creating contingency plans is a big part of project management and could make a world of difference in terms of someone getting hurt.

That being said, not every risk assessment is as comprehensive as it should be, leaving room for mistakes to be made and problems to arise. This is one of those big project challenges when you consider the amount of risk there is with working on-site.

How to Resolve

Having comprehensive risk assessments is one of the only ways to overcome this potential issue. If you’re struggling to form them on your own, or are simply worried that it isn’t as comprehensive as it should be, then you could ask others to look at it.

Another option would be to send it to others in your team to look at and ask that they provide you with feedback. This might outline other potential risks that you haven’t considered already.

Project Delays

As we’ve already mentioned, construction project management can plan for everything, but you can’t always plan for delays that fit in that unavoidable category. Again, harsh weather conditions could be the reason behind your project getting delayed.

Regardless, it will be up to you to weather the storm, so to speak, and find a way to navigate any potential delays so that the project can remain on schedule. Sometimes you can’t avoid a project getting pushed back, but we’d like to think there are solutions for other reasons behind any delays.

How to Resolve

In the case of harsh weather conditions, you could choose to begin the project during certain times of the year where that kind of weather is less likely to occur. Of course, you can’t always predict what is going to happen, so it will be up to you as someone in construction project management to roll with these punches.

Budget Limitations

Ask most project managers what their biggest challenge is and the majority of them will mention budgets – or more specifically, running out of budget when the project is nowhere near completion.

A study by McKinsey found that 98% of construction projects go over budget, which is less than ideal when you might have spent an extortionate amount of your spending already. It can seem like an impossible task, but there is a way to overcome budget limitations.

How to Resolve

A lot of the time, poor planning and documentation is the reason behind issues surrounding your budget. Keeping tabs of your spending and your overall budget will ensure that there are no additional surprises.

We’d recommend taking advantage of the right kind of platform, especially when it comes to hiring equipment and materials. This is something we offer here at YardLink through our dedicated all-in-one platform!

Get in touch to find out why we’re one of the most trusted plan and tool hire companies in the UK.

Lack of Structure

Structure will determine how smooth your construction plans go from that initial planning stage to the real deal. Without clear structures in place, a lot can go wrong. For example, not knowing who your employees are to report to can lead to faults, which can then lead to problems later down the line.

A lack of structure will typically coincide with a lack of clear targets or goals. Again, this is something that will affect your staff as they go about their day-to-day responsibilities, or lack thereof if they aren’t familiar with the structure you’ve put in place.

How to Resolve

Communicating your project structure is easily the best way to resolve this project challenge. You can do this in a variety of ways, one of which involves you speaking with workers throughout the project to ensure that everyone knows what they’re doing and what the goals are.

Unrealistic Deadlines

Like budget issues, unrealistic deadlines is another popular project challenge facing project management. An effective project manager will know what their team is capable of, and will negotiate the project timeline based on that and other variables.

How to Resolve

The only way to resolve unrealistic deadlines is by communicating and relaying information to those who are asking for the work to be completed by a certain date. Another option would be to leverage agile project management strategies that encourage you to be a lot more flexible in terms of when certain things are done by.

Lack of Accountability

A project team performs better when every member of the team feels responsible and fulfils their role as standard. Lack of accountability can lead to a bunch of problems, and could even sink an entire project in some instances.

How to Resolve

It’s the job of construction project management to assign responsibilities to other members of the team and direct them towards a common goal.

Again, having some sort of project management tool will help here, as it tells you who is doing what and when, so if something should go wrong and no one owns up to it, then you’ll know who is responsible.

9 Construction Project Management Challenges and How to Resolve Them

We understand that construction project planning can be a tough and lengthy process. Which is why we put together this post in the first place.

We want to help anyone in construction project management mitigate a series of potential project challenges in a way that is clear and concise.

Hopefully, we’ve done that, and have given you peace of mind in knowing that there is always a solution to what challenges you face – no matter how big that challenge may be.

At YardLink, we care about helping construction project management perform their job with little to no stress or worry. Which is one of the reasons why we created an all-in-one construction platform.

This platform is a great way to simplify construction project planning as users can simply manage and hire construction equipment from one place. The platform is very easy to use, and it allows you to book equipment online 24/7.

You can also manage your invoices, make payments, and choose your own delivery slot. In other words, we’ve taken all the heavy lifting out of the majority of project challenges you’ll face.

For more information, simply get in touch.

Let's talk!

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