All megastructures were started with good planning. However, planning a construction project goes beyond 3D sketches and visual representation of the project. Construction project planning, aided by advanced construction scheduling software, begins long before architects design the models and involves the expertise of project managers.
Construction project managers can use various planning methods for their building projects.
These methods follow a specific process that simplifies every activity necessary for the project’s initiation and execution. If you’re planning a construction project but are unsure where to start, these tips will help.
1. Determine Your Project Goals
At the heart of every project there is a need to be met or a problem to be solved. However, problems don’t fix themselves. You’ll need to strip your problem down to its root causes. The result can inform you in your goal setting. For instance, you may set your mind on developing an apartment with concrete materials, but does it correspond to what prospective clients or project financiers want? Will the material you’re using for construction enhance prospective buyers’ living or working conditions? Should you consider modular buildings for the project? These are a few of the questions you’ll answer as you develop your project goals.
Answering these questions can enrich your project planning and bring up alternatives and new perspectives. However, note that carving out your provisional goals from identified problems linked to their root causes doesn’t end the goal-setting phase of your planning. You also need to discuss the provisional goals with stakeholders involved in the project as early as possible. They must feel represented by your project, from start to finish.
Ensuring your goals match the SMART acronym can also prove to be crucial in setting effective goals. Thus, your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
2. Define Project Scope
Project scoping is a very vital step in planning. The scope details the methods to achieve your goal. It may contain goal attainment tactics and a budget component. Project management is a highly evolving function. It’s tempting for project activities to spiral into new areas not captured in your planning. The overarching aim of scoping is to clarify what the construction project entails and, most importantly, what not to consider when implementing your project.
Your project team can make informed decisions if they are familiar with budget constraints and scope – adjusting them when necessary. The main deliverable at this stage is a scope of work containing a project overview, a rough schedule, and cost estimates.
3. Role Casting
Your project goals and scope of work afford you a fair idea of the construction project. Depending on the scale of the project, a scope of work might suffice as the ultimate communication document. If not, you may need a project management plan which includes a more detailed presentation linking goals, objectives, activities, cost implications, and roles.
Planned tasks are nothing but wishful statements if your construction project document doesn’t include people to hold responsible for their execution. You can develop a chart showing the responsibilities of the project team, communication flow as the project progresses and how much they need for execution.
You almost have all you need to complete your project at this stage. However, you need to discuss your final project planning document with stakeholders to gain their buy-in and readiness for the project to take off. Generally, the more you plan, the less room you leave for uncertainties since unforeseen changes can affect project costs and scope after your project has started.