Regional Operations Manager
Brasfield & Gorrie
Relationships. What we do is not easy—managing projects from conception through construction, closeout and sometimes years of follow-up. All of this is done while balancing safety, quality, schedule and cost. If we try to do it alone, we will always fail. Good, working relationships are the key to a successful project. Project managers must understand other people and their needs. When starting a concept project, the relationship of trust and fairness must be established with the owner. Without this, it will be a bumpy road ahead. Knowing the needs of architects and engineers and how they work best will help the project manager feed them information, which, in turn, will produce a better set of documents to construct and faster approval on submittals.
Relationships with city plan reviewers, inspectors and authorities having jurisdiction will ensure timely reviews and inspections. Subcontractors build a majority of the work on a project, and having strong relationships rooted in honesty helps those projects succeed. Knowing and relating to the hands-on workers, including superintendents, foremen, tradesmen, carpenters and laborers, is vital to the success of a project. When a project is complete, the lasting relationships with all who were involved is what perpetuates the work down the road.
The most important tool on a construction jobsite today is one that will help increase the productivity of multiple teams working together. Not just those back in the office or in the field, but all the teams that a general contractor works with across a large project. Approximately 30 percent of the total construction on a jobsite is currently attributed to rework. That has to change. Focusing on productivity now will help long term. As contractors, owners, designers, architects and subcontractors, every person a general contractor comes in contact with should understand the productivity expectation. It will mean more work, less material waste and better efficiency if all of the teams involved keep that in mind.
Chief Operating Officer
Kaufman Lynn Construction
Technology, in general, has greatly improved the efficiencies in analyzing data and communicating with the various stakeholders in a project. From scheduling software to BIM, which we use for 3-D coordination, clash detection, prefabrication and resolution of issues prior to construction, there are many tools today that advance our ability to manage projects. When it comes to the day-to-day operations of a general contractor, I recommend using a cloud-based project management software. By storing all critical project documents online, all team members, including the project owner, designers and tradesmen, have instant access to the latest version. This speeds up distribution of information and reduces chances for misunderstanding because everyone is working off the same set of documents.
Other benefits include continuity across all projects and the ability to do project-level and company-level reporting easily. When combined with DocuSign, many processes, such as change orders, can be handled much more quickly than in a traditional manner. That being said, while project management tools can streamline processes and increase communication, the most effective way of solving challenges is one-on-one conversation, which makes the phone the one tool no contractor can live without.