Time is a limited but crucial resource, and proper time management in construction is vital to any project’s success. But when it comes to large, complex projects, productive time and schedule management is especially critical to profitable completion.
Missed deadlines can result in monetary loss, damaged client relationships, and harm to your construction firm’s reputation. Even a single day of delay can significantly affect the project's timeline and profit margin.
With contractors paid hourly, construction time keeping and management become even more crucial. Efficient use of project labor and resources is a must for remaining within budget.
To improve productivity and deliver quality results to clients, it’s important to strategize and use your time effectively. Time management is usually the project manager's responsibility—in other words, they're in charge of ensuring everyone is putting their hours to good use.
Here are some tips to improve time management in construction, and how ALICE can help you efficiently budget your time.
One of the simplest ways to enhance construction time management is through technology. Various tools and software can centralize project information, making it easier to access. Construction firms that invest in and implement technologies like ALICE benefit from sped-up collaboration and improved visibility, streamlining processing and communication.
The best programs automate repetitive tasks, while allowing you to view, track, and manage assignments and their deadlines. Effective time management is supported by digital tools and systems, which allow team members to contribute and communicate information while monitoring project data and progress.
To pick the best software for your construction firm, consider what elements would benefit your team the most. Is there, for example, a gap in your company’s communication strategy? There’s often a disconnect between operations staff and on-site workers, resulting in unrealistic expectations that can impact a project’s schedule.
With platforms that facilitate collaboration, it becomes much easier to establish a pragmatic timeline for completing your build.
2. Plan and schedule
A large part of time management in construction projects involves planning and scheduling. A project’s schedule provides a roadmap and an agenda of activities. It’s a guidebook detailing when contractors are expected on site, when an activity needs to begin, and how long it will take to complete, which makes it a key element in project time management.
Although the bulk of planning is done before construction actually begins, the project manager should also consistently monitor day-by-day progression in order to ensure tasks are completed according to plan.
Not only is it important to set, communicate, and follow up on clear deadlines, but a certain amount of flexibility is needed to account for unexpected events, which are all too common on construction sites.
When project milestones slip, or the unexpected occurs, all crews should be notified immediately—and proactive measures taken to avoid spiraling delays. Consider what's best for that day or week in the short-term, while reassessing and reconfiguring due dates to align with long-term goals—and communicate those changes effectively.
Project managers responsible for overseeing projects are often required to multitask—and may be dealing with multiple projects and issues, simultaneously. When dealing with competing demands, it’s crucial to prioritize and address the most critical aspects first.
Accurate prioritization of important assignments is essential to time management in construction. At the beginning of the workday, identify what you'll need to deal with first, breaking up larger segments into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Assessing urgency is crucial—and should be based on potential impact. Considering dependent tasks, as well as financial and time constraints, can help determine which matters take highest priority.
It helps to organize workloads from high to low importance. Minor tasks, which can be a distraction from more time-sensitive assignments, should be left for last.
4. Delegate and reshuffle tasks as needed
Construction projects involve multiple crews working together towards a common goal, which is why properly designating team members plays a major role in construction time management.
Oversight of tasks that require specialized skills should be assigned to team members who understand them. Project managers should also regularly review team results, assessing whether certain tasks or segments of tasks (such as administration or materials management) can be shared or redelegated to increase efficiency and speed completion times.
Cross-training your project management team to handle multiple responsibilities can help you shore up your ability to respond quickly in times of need. Although onboarding additional team members to specialized tools or technology can take some time, it can offer great benefits in the long run—as well as provide desirable opportunities for professional development.
Introducing a system of mentorship and progress monitoring can help ensure your team has what they need to succeed. However, it’s also important to consider the level of specialization and competency required. In some cases, it may make more sense to outsource, or prove beneficial to hire a subcontractor with the right skills and experience.
5. Keep meetings on track
The life of a construction project manager centers on communication. The relay of vital information is the keystone of this role—and the need for daily updates and progress tracking can lead to a hefty agenda. While meetings can certainly be productive, there may be a need to reign in your schedule, in order to manage effectively.
To improve time management in construction projects, it’s best to ensure that all meetings adhere to a set agenda. Be prepared with a list of items to review, ensure that the topic is relevant to all attending, and that discussion stays on track. For more minor issues, consider whether it would be more productive to send a direct message or email instead of convening as a team.
It’s also important to make sure that all loose ends have been tied up by the end of each session, as unresolved threads can carry over to the next meeting, and end up costing you more time.
ALICE makes time management in construction easy
One of the best ways to enhance your company’s time management is by investing in technologies like ALICE.
ALICE is an AI-powered construction optioneering platform that digitizes your construction data. ALICE helps you track, share, and simulate project progression, revealing time and cost-effective solutions that help you streamline and improve project efficiency, while reducing exposure to risk.
Analyzing the time and cost impact of options with ALICE helps projects cut build time by 17%—as well as optimizing crew and equipment use to reduce idle time and costs.
Interested in boosting your time management efforts and increasing your workplace’s productivity? Request a demo with ALICE today!