Another year of seesawing fortunes. Covid lockdowns, new covid variants, shortages of construction materials, insufficient skilled construction workers, soaring prices, and more. This coupled with the normal construction problems, of too little work, or too much work, difficult clients, not getting paid on time, or even not at all. What will 2022 bring? I’m sure you are all hoping for a normal year. But what is a normal year in the construction industry – does such a thing exist? Undoubtedly 2022 will come with its own sets of challenges – some unique, while many just the usual challenges that contractors face every year.
"Will you be ready for the challenges that 2022 brings? Will you be prepared to meet the challenges and overcome them?”
So will you be ready for the challenges that 2022 brings? Will you and your construction company be prepared to meet the challenges and overcome them? Or will you in 12 months’ time at the end of 2022 look back and lament about the terrible year gone past?
What can you do to equip you and your company to have a successful 2022 despite the known and unknown challenges 2022 will bring? Here are 10 things that will make you and your construction company stronger. That will equip you to better face whatever challenges are thrown at the construction industry.
10 construction management tips for the new year
1. Train and mentor your team.
There is a shortage of skilled construction people in most countries. You depend on good people. Indeed you are only as good as your team. A weak link can quickly suck your time and destroy reputation. You have to train and mentor people in your team. It may cost time and money but it will pay dividends with a more skilled and motivated team. For more read: Training and mentoring in construction. #constructiontraining
2. Cut the deadwood.
Are there people who aren’t performing – perhaps unproductive, don’t have the skills, disruptive, or producing poor quality work? Why are they performing poorly? Have you told them they need to change their ways? (Providing feedback to the construction project team). If they can’t, or won’t, improve their ways why are they still working for the company? Is it because you are sentimental and don’t want to get rid of someone who has been with the company for so long? Is it because you can’t find a replacement? Or maybe you find it’s too hard to let people go?
"People who aren’t contributing positively to the project are often disrupting others, possibly causing extra work, even spoiling reputation, and they cost money."
But deadwood drags construction projects and contractors down. People who aren’t contributing positively to the construction project are often disrupting others, possibly causing extra work, even spoiling reputation, and they cost money. Look through your team and make the hard decisions to get rid of the deadwood.
But getting rid of the deadwood also means looking at old construction equipment, and equipment that you don’t use anymore. Older equipment often breaks down impacting productivity. It may not be as efficient as new equipment, and is often more expensive to operate. The Alarming Truth about Using Old Construction Equipment #constructionequipment
3. Pick your construction projects and clients.
Some clients are difficult, unprofessional, or disorganised. Inevitably they will take time to manage. Time that might be better spent elsewhere. Then there are clients that don’t pay. Learn to avoid these clients. Why work on a construction project where you won’t get paid. (What makes a good client?). Learn to avoid difficult projects. Know which construction projects you can do well, and which projects are unprofitable. Should contractors price every project? Well the answer is no. Pick your construction projects and clients and you can avoid problems later.
"Foresee problems before they happen and take action to avoid the worst outcomes"
4. Understand and manage your risks.
Too often contractors end in trouble because they did not understand the project risks. Learn to investigate projects properly when pricing them. Read and understand the contract documents. Don’t take on projects that are excessively risky, or projects where a risk event could sink the company should it eventuate. Understand the risks and manage and mitigate them. Foresee problems before they happen and take action to avoid the worst outcomes. How To Avoid The 10 Biggest Risks Facing Contractors.
5. Manage your cashflow.
Many construction companies go bankrupt because of poor cashflow, not because of unprofitable projects. Understand the cashflow when pricing new projects. For more read: Negative cash flow – the death for many construction companies, How to improve cash flow on your construction projects - Part 1, and How to improve cash flow on your projects - Part 2.
6. Invest in yourself.
In construction we are always learning. Take some time to see what new construction methods, materials, and equipment is available. See what your competitors are up to and what you can learn from them. Look at alternative methods of construction. Importantly stay up to date with the latest regulations – it could be costly if you fall foul of changes in the law. Learn when you can claim variations and change orders. Brush up on your project management skills. You are never too old to learn something new that will make you a better contractor.
"I highly recommend this book be read by all newly qualified construction project managers as well as those more experienced." Reader on Amazon
7. Manage your time better.
Many in construction never seem to have enough time to attend to everything. Why? Sure there are problems to deal with, but could some of the problems have been avoided? There are meetings to attend and correspondence to deal with, but how can these be better managed so they aren’t so time consuming? How can you make more time? Well you must delegate effectively. (The importance of effective delegation for successful projects). You must plan your projects. You must manage your time. And as old fashioned as it sounds a notebook helps with time management. Here are 12 Proven Time Management Tips For Construction Project Managers.
8. Invest in new technology.
Many of us become stuck in our tried and tested old ways. However there is new technology out there that can be helpful. Of course make sure that it is appropriate and get buy-in from your staff. For tips and insights read Can technology help your construction project? And Technology in Construction. Technology can’t make a poor project manager good, but it can make a good project manager more effective.
9. Don’t let stress kill you.
"Sometimes it’s not worth arguing and winning every point – rather look at the bigger picture. "
10. Spend time with your family.
Take time away from work. Learn to plan time away from work. Learn to switch off emails. I’m sure you are not indispensable. Before you know it the year will be done and you’ll look back wishing you had spent more time with the family. Year’s rush past. Children get older. You get older. Don’t spend all your time at work. Don’t spoil family time attending to work emails and calls. Learn to plan and delegate. If you don’t plan family and free time it won’t happen. Time away from work and a good rest will make you more effective, and more importantly a better person to work with. Delegating responsibility to others when you take a few days off will help your team develop, and it will make them feel more trusted and part of the team.
Be prepared and you can make this year a success
“Being prepared will enable you to better weather the problems that will come your way. Have a plan. Set goals. Measure progress.”
Now is the time to look back over 2021. What went wrong? How could you have done things better? How can you avoid the same issues in 2022? Although you may want to blame external issues beyond your control for things that went wrong, I’m sure in many cases a bit of foresight and a different approach may have limited the fallout from the issues. Be honest with yourself. Because undoubtedly 2022 will not be plain sailing and problem free – so be prepared for the problems that will come your way. Rising prices, more covid, difficult clients, labour and skills shortages, unpaid invoices, and more.
“You must learn from both your failures and successes.”
What did you do right (I’m sure there were things that went right last year)? This year try and replicate what went right last year? You must learn from both your failures and successes.
Don’t look back at 2022 with regrets. Being prepared will enable you to better weather the problems that will come your way. Have a plan. Set goals. Measure progress. Don’t let the everyday challenges sweep you from your course. Don’t let the trials and tribulations of 2022 drown your good intentions and your aspirations.
Wishing you only successful construction projects in 2022.
What construction management tips do you have?
What steps will you implement to make the new year a success?
#constructionmanagement #constructionprojectmanagement #contractors
© 2021 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
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The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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