It is widely regarded that the construction industry is for the first time since economic downturn, experiencing a sustained period of growth. However, despite this optimistic outlook, many companies are still finding it difficult to remain competitive and ultimately successful. Margins are tighter than ever with everyone from suppliers to contract workers looking to squeeze the most profit from each project/new build, while still not experiencing the success they once had. In this article we look at some of the current challenges project managers and senior management within the construction industry face every day.
Challenges in the Construction Industry
Undercapitalization is normally a problem for small businesses where money is critical to achieving business goals. However, do not underestimate the capital and finance needed to pursue the most profitable construction projects. Having the cash necessary to fund those projects in terms of employee wages and supplier materials before first instalment of project payment is often overlooked. Many bad decisions within the construction industry are made while company management is in panic mode due to poor cash flow with payments behind schedule having an obvious knock on effect on the company’s own cash flow.
Inadequate Planning—Understanding your manpower and cash issues can determine the success or failure of any project. Good management will never overestimate a team’s capabilities or underestimate your cash flow. In most large builds within the construction industry there are many things to consider and management should always look at the whole job and plan ahead for what machinery, tools and skilled specialist are needed where and when. Having a plan like this in place will limit any periods of downtime and unproductivity.
Experienced management will have a construction project plan mapped out and continually reviewed as each circumstance/problem arises. Amends to time will be made when schedule has been delayed. This will ensure no downtime, with no workers and equipment on site when they are not needed. Working without a plan or refusing to gauge success against that plan has doomed many construction companies to continue down a road to failure.
Looking at a check list in greater detail will require knowledge of the job and area/landscape where the proposed build is to take place. Is there demolishing to take place, are there tress and rocks etc. that need removed? A job like this will require a large range of tools and adequately skilled employees to operate it within the safest environment possible. It is the responsibility of management to insure that diggers and excavator equipment is operated within a safe environment for all.
Take a company like Hill Engineering they place safety at the heart of all construction jobs with the development of their Tefra coupler developed for optimised safety when changing and loading digger buckets.
It is clear to see that at the core of management within the construction industry is a strategic plan. Buildings are built because there is a need. However, all too often project plans are done hastily and out of necessity without spending the time to infuse the creativity or level of strategy you’d like. To address that issue, it is vital to make sure that your team is on the same page. It is critical that your team understands the overall strategy, their role and how it relates to the other members of the team. Management is there to provide leadership and ensure everyone within the team is on the same page, setting attainable goals, and if something changes or isn’t working, communicate that across the board and adjust the project plan accordingly.