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Construction checklists – Ultimate guide

What are common construction checklists?

  1. General safety checklists
  2. Equipment checklists
  3. Emergency tools checklists
  4. Quality and Certification
  5. Pre-Work checklists
  6. Quality checklists
  7. Safety checklists
Checklists are a great tool to use to optimize how you organize your construction project in a number of ways. To effectively manage a construction project, it is imperative that you track and make sure relevant tasks and activities get delivered efficiently and on time. And for you to execute this effectively, it is absolutely necessary to have your construction checklists as a reference. The key to the successful implementation of a construction project’s processes is simply having a thorough and properly-structured checklist (or group of checklists). On top of efficient project management, having checklists for your construction project allows you to advance the safety culture in your construction site and within your company. This article will guide you through different construction management checklists for use in various aspects of your project.

Developing construction checklists and templates that suit you

To have a construction checklist that’s easily implemented, it should be clearly defined then accurately created and developed. We have a few tips for creating an effective checklist:
  1. Always base your checklist on your needs. There is a myriad of activities in a construction project and each activity requires a different construction management checklist. You have to be perceptive when standardising and making checklist templates that you can use across other projects. Some examples to consider:
    • Maybe you need a checklist for your construction schedule. Create one that can be used in other projects.
    • Maybe you need to organise a checklist for acquiring materials from a supplier. Make a thoughtful checklist template can be uniformly used for all other suppliers.
  2. Go digital. With gadgets being a huge part of life and work, having a digital checklist on a centralised platform allows you to communicate your data faster and in a more transparent matter, making activities on site and off site much more efficient to manage. Remember, a construction site can involve a number of contractors. Having a main checklist that can be easily updated and sent to everyone avoids confusion and delays. Excel construction checklist templates are a thing of the past—the manual ticking off and updating, then the scanning to upload them to a database takes so much time and poses risks related to untimely data.
  3. Make sure the items in your construction checklist are up to date. An updated checklist makes it easy for the superintendent or project manager to properly delegate the items or tasks on your list to the correct stakeholder and designate functions to the right subcontractor.
  4. Study the checklist samples we have in ours. By examining the details of these construction checklists, you get to identify what you need to specifically include in your own construction checklist.
  5. Even after reading these tips and you still don’t know how to format your own, look at some of our sample checklists and copy a template that’s applicable to your construction checklist need.

Do you really need a construction checklist?

If you are asking yourself why should you use a construction checklist, we have listed a few reasons why we believe construction checklists are a must for each of your construction project.
  1. Construction checklists allow you to manage all aspects of your construction project, especially by having to-do checklists.
  2. Construction checklists enable you to have a seamless and organised workflow, which facilitates optimal productivity.
  3. Construction checklists allow you to link important elements in your construction project.
  4. Construction checklists detail specific information of activities and phases in your project.
  5. Construction checklists can categorise particular items, materials, equipment, tasks, etc. in a more meticulous manner.
  6. Construction checklists break down complex activities into simple actionable components.
  7. Construction checklists clearly define individual responsibility and accountability in the workplace. This kind of ownership drive productivity and is the foundation of high performing teams.

What are the benefits a construction checklist can bring?

Having construction checklists elevate the degree of organisation of all activities in the scope of your construction project.
  1. Having a construction checklist allows your project to follow and respect a timeline. If you include a timetable in all your phases and the steps to be executed, everyone’s work is guided by the set deadlines, by which definite construction activities are expected to be finished.
  2. Laying out responsibilities and expectations in a construction checklist promotes healthy work ethics and reinforces a healthy work environment. If all stakeholders involved in your project clearly know and are accountable for their responsibilities, disputes and misunderstandings become fewer.
  3. Using an updatable construction checklist that specifies work methods and materials for certain tasks automate workflows. This, in turn, allows individual workers more focus to execute their tasks in a timely and efficient manner. This ultimately results to a seamless construction project development.
  4. Utilising a construction checklist that allows transparent collaboration and communication, makes it easier to deliver a complex construction project. This makes for clear transactions between entities needing to work together and allows for integrated project delivery or similar outcomes.

Making your construction checklists

Having a proper document or a construction management tool makes life in the construction field easier by outlining your construction schedules with their important elements. Proper construction management alongside your construction checklists is the basis of the success…or failure of your construction project. To create usable construction checklists, here are some things that might come in handy:
  1. Make sure the construction checklist you use is relevant to the project and the particular team you’re a part of. Remember, construction checklists can vary among construction teams in different organisational levels.
  2. Put together a construction checklist that is easily understandable especially by the people using the checklist.
  3. Fill your construction checklist with time-bound content. That means, your construction project would have only a certain amount of time to achieve its project goals. Have a realistic construction (management) checklist to guide you all throughout the entire construction process and, if possible, the entire lifecycle of the building.
  4. Assign point persons that can manage meetings and dialogues regarding the content and status of your construction checklists. This completely avoids any kind of misunderstanding or conflict.
  5. Arrange the content of your construction checklist in a particular order—logical, chronological or any particular arrangement that shows your process clearly. This makes the checklist comprehensible, which is highly important.

The many uses of your construction checklist

There are so many ways of utlising construction checklists to your advantage—making the most of it brings so many benefits to your construction project and ultimately, across all your standardised construction processes and operations, and all future building projects. You can have a construction checklist for all steps in all phases of your construction process – from pre-planning to design up until project closeout, and maybe even up to facilities management. The content of your construction checklist depends on unique factors that need to be considered for each certain project phase. Hence, you really have to be specific when you draft the checklist you would want to develop. We have listed a few particular situations where you can use a construction checklist, just so you get the very real-life practical application:
  1. Construction checklists are a huge tool in implementing safety measures and procedures. They are especially useful for employees to comply with safety and health standards to prevent injuries, accidents, and deaths in the construction workplace.
  2. Construction checklists are also a great utility for spotting potential risks in the construction site.
  3. Construction checklists are also great tools for regular check-ups of equipment and gears.
  4. You can use a construction checklist for new workforce employee orientation requirements of your construction project. Having this construction checklist allows you to have an overview of your new employees, their competencies, and their jobs and responsibilities, and their progress on your orientation guide. This makes it easy for you to accordingly delegate tasks according to their capacities and track their progress.
  5. You can make a construction checklist for all the raw materials you need alongside their source or supplier. This construction list allows you to determine what items, equipment, and tools you need for all phases of your project, including what you already have and what you still need to order.
  6. You can then have a separate construction checklist of all your suppliers. This can include your existing ones and those suppliers you think have the potential to provide you with other needs.
  7. You can create a construction checklist around your project time frame with time tables outlining expected output on particular dates. Include specific dates so you can design efficient processes as you aim for your desired goals and results.
  8. You can also include a construction checklist summarising all the processes that need to be carried out to complete your building project. This checklist would be very useful for outlining the specifics of your project phases, from planning, development, and evaluation. To make the best out of it, in terms of efficiency, you can include another construction checklist that is only focused on updating processes that have been already implemented.
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Construction management 101: The ultimate guide

Construction management (CM) is a long and extremely demanding process. It’s the foundation for every building project and the key to its success. The main purpose of construction management is to sharply control and monitor the progress of a project in terms of quality, cost and time. It covers a wide spectrum of responsibilities and it spreads to many different fields (construction, engineering, law, software etc).

Read more: How to reduce construction delays by more than 20%

For that reason, the role of a construction manager is considered to be fundamental. To ensure a project’s progress, a competent project manager with a plethora of competencies and skills is required. Building projects are in constant need for last minute changes and in that aspect, a strong team leader who can maintain stability and facilitate the coordination between the team members is a must. Without further ado, let’s have a close look at the core processes and principles of construction management. It’s going to be a long but very informative journey!

Contents

  1. Construction management definition
  2. Construction manager: Duties and responsibilities
  3. The role of a general contractor
  4. Construction management 101: The key functions
  5. Winning a construction project
  6. Construction management phases
  7. Construction management and scheduling
  8. Choosing the right construction project management software
  9. Construction progress documentation
  10. Construction risk management

Construction management definition

According to CMAA, construction management is ‘a service that implements specialized, project management methods to manage the design, construction and the planning of a project, from its start to its end‘. The project management process in construction can be extremely perplexed but its main core is always the same. The coordination, planning, and completion of a project regardless of its type (e.g. commercial, residential, industrial, agricultural, heavy civil). Solid construction management requires good real-time communication between the various project stakeholders. What makes construction management so challenging is the need for a thorough knowledge of a vast number of areas such as budgeting, business, law, and mediation. At the end of the day, though, the only thing that matters is the delivery of a successful construction project to the client.

Construction manager: Duties and responsibilities

Construction Manager Profile In simple words, construction managers are the ones who are responsible for the project to proceed according to the existing plan. The primary mission for construction managers is to manage their project in a way that will ensure its completion on the agreed budget and time. Furthermore, they should make sure that the whole project is complying with the set building plans, codes and other regulations.
As CMAA reports, a construction manager has up to 120 different responsibilities during the execution of a building project. These 120 responsibilities can be divided into the following categories:
  • Set the budget and run cost assessments.
  • Plan the work time schedule.
  • Select the right construction methods and strategies for their project.
  • Maintain a close and good relationship with the clients.
  • Negotiating contract agreements with workers and other project agents.
  • Take good care of the workers on site.
  • Work together with the numerous consultants of the project.

The role of a general contractor

The completion of the design stage signifies that the construction manager is now ready to search for the contractor who will handle the project. Matt Plaskoff, Founder and CEO of One Week Bath, explains that the typical responsibilities of a general contractor are to coordinate more than three trades on a project.
In an effort to provide some additional details, Matt Plaskoff highlights that general contractors’ responsibilities cover four vital areas:
  • Overall liability for the project
  • Coordination of the trades
  • Allocation of the resources
  • Problem-solving expertise when issues emerge
There are two types of general contractors. On the one hand, it’s those who will execute based on the vision of the architect and the designer. On the other hand, there are design-build contractors who are responsible both for the execution and the creation of the project’s design. It is apparent, then, that general contractors are playing a fundamental role during the building process and that their role varies depending on their involvement during the design stage of the project.

Construction management 101: The key functions

Every construction project has certain objectives that need to be met. It goes without saying that many times these objectives may overlap. In such cases, the role of a construction manager is fundamental. S/he is the one who will have to provide clarity in regard to the given objectives and prevent costly disputes that could hinder the uneventful progress of the project. With this in mind, we could summarize the key construction management functions to the following four:
  1. Clearly setting the objectives and the scope of the project. Planning also a massive number of different parameters such as scheduling, establishing performance standards, budgeting, and choosing the participants of the project.
  2. Improving resource allocation by ameliorating the procurement process and equipment management.
  3. Executing numerous operations as a result of the effective coordination and monitoring of the entire process (eg. design, contracting, planning, etc).
  4. Building strong communication channels in order to either avoid or resolve project conflicts.

Winning a construction project

The bidding process can be long and challenging. A parameter that can affect the perplexity of the bidding process is, of course, the total number of contractors who are bidding for the job. A bidding process starts when the project owner shares information regarding the project with contractors and subcontractors in an attempt to plead for bids. First things first, cost estimation is built based on the available material take-offs and blueprints. Like that, a client can have an overview of the budget that will be required for the general contractor to execute the project successfully. There are two main types of bids that contractors can anticipate:
  1. Open bid: Open bids normally attract a lot of attention and they are very common when it comes to public construction projects. In open bid projects, every contractor has the opportunity to place an offer.
  2. Closed bid: Close bids are normally preferred in private projects. In this case, the client (the project owner) can invite a particular group of contractors to place their offer.
construction site management - construction site As soon as project owners receive all bids, there are certain selection methods that they can follow in order to decide who will eventually get the project. The same selection methods apply both to open and closed bids:
  1. Low-bid selection: Price is the most decisive parameter in the first bid selection technique. The contractor who places the lowest bid is the winner of the process.
  2. Best value selection: This is a more inclusive selection method as the client is taking two distinct elements in consideration: the price of the bid and the qualifications of the contractor. In other words, it’s a value for money selection approach.
  3. Qualifications-based selection: Similarly to the first method, in this case, there is again only one decisive factor. But this time instead of money this time is qualifications that matter the most. Except for their bid price, contractors should submit a report that documents their experience, their workflow and the management plans that will allow them to keep the project within the set schedule and budget.
The final stage of the bidding process is the selection of the contractor who will execute the project. As soon as the contractor is chosen, the two sides (client and contractor) should find the payment model that fits better with their project. There are four distinct models they can choose from:
  1. Lump-sum: This is the number one choice in most of the construction projects. The client agrees with the contractor on a set price which the first should pay regardless of the project’s outcome.
  2. Unit price: When the two parties can’t agree on a specific price, a unit price is decided for every phase of the project.
  3. Cost-plus fee: That’s the most beneficial agreement for contractors. Simply put, in this case, the client is the one who should cover any additional costs during the building process.
  4. Guaranteed maximum price: There is a standard price decided by the contractor and the project owner which cannot be surpassed.
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Construction planning and scheduling: a quick intro

Construction planning and scheduling are key aspects in integrating all your construction activities and phases needed to complete a given construction project at a given budget and time frame. Although having individual functions, planning and scheduling are inseparable when it comes to successful project management. Construction planning essentially covers the choosing of relevant policies, procedures, and processes to achieve your project goals. Construction scheduling adapts your construction project action plans for scope, time, cost, and quality into a functioning calendar. This process of adaptation of the project specifications including requirements for resources (labor, equipment, materials, etc.), communications, risks, and procurement into an operational workflow system is critical for your project team.

Find here: How to reduce construction delays by more than 20%

Together with your project plan and budget, your schedule becomes your central tool for managing your projects. Additionally, having an integrated or coordinated cost-time schedule function as your foundation for monitoring and controlling activities all throughout your project’s life cycle.

Why construction planning and scheduling are important

Proper construction planning and scheduling are important in ensuring that your construction project gets completed on time and within budget. A thoroughly planned construction schedule not only outlines the pace of your work but it dictates how your work gets done. It also helps define your processes, methods, and sequences for when materials are put in place. Preparing your construction schedule meticulously and ahead of time maximises your efficiency and productivity. As your construction schedule allows you to improve your quality control measures, it is effortless to sequence work and to ensure you have the correct quality and quantity of materials used in each step. Materials and resources procurement is on track as you can use your schedule to purchase the right materials exactly when you need them. Safety performance is improved as you use your schedule to track which worker is on site and make sure that protection guidelines are properly followed. Having a reliable construction schedule also allows you to allocate your time better among all your project stakeholders, which helps them plan their activities better. By getting total control of your project, you reduce unpleasant surprises, making it easy to avoid cost overruns and delays.

What is construction planning?

Construction planning is essential in managing and executing your construction projects as it involves selecting the technology, defining the work tasks, estimating the required resources and extent of individual tasks, and identifying possible interactions and workflows among different activities. An efficient construction plan is fundamental in setting your budget and schedule for the entire work needed. Creating and developing the construction plan is a highly challenging and critical task in construction management. You have to develop the technical aspects and on top of that, you have to make organisational decisions about relationships between project stakeholders and even the subcontractors you will have to include. According to The Constructor, a civil engineering informational resource website, there are three major types of construction project planning:

1. Strategic planning

It involves a high-level selection of project objectives. Strategic planning is usually done by the project owner’s corporate planners. In order to achieve the owner’s project goals, they decide what project to build and the completion deadline with the project teams developing the master construction execution plan that falls within the guidelines set in the strategic and contracting plans.

2. Operational planning

It involves detailed planning by the construction teams to meet the project’s strategic objectives. Before the project teams can detail the construction schedule, they have to go through a series of questions so they can prepare the construction master plan:
  • Will the operational plan meet the strategic planning target date?
  • Are sufficient construction resources and services available within the company to meet the project objectives?
  • What is the impact of the new project on the existing workload?
  • Where will we get the resources to handle any overload?
  • What company policies may prevent the plan from meeting the target date?
  • Are usually long delivery equipment or materials involved?
  • Are the project concepts and design firmly established and ready to start the construction?
  • Is the original contracting plan still valid?
  • Will it be more economical to use a fast-track scheduling approach?

3. Scheduling

It involves the detailed operational plan set on a time frame as per the strategic objectives.

What are the first steps in planning a construction project?

The classic approach to developing a construction plan, which is the basis for modern construction planning, is based on the 1998 published book, Project Management for Construction by Chris Hendrickson. The common development strategy is to adopt a primary emphasis on either cost control or on schedule control. construction planning Construction planning may be cost or expense oriented, or schedule oriented. With cost-oriented project planning, there is a distinction between costs incurred directly in the performance of an activity and indirectly for the accomplishment of the project. Indirect costs may include borrowed expenses for project financing and overhead items. For schedule oriented planning, the emphasis is on the schedule of project activities over time, and this is considered critical.
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