A Step-By-Step Summary of the Phases of a Building Construction Project

Construction projects are typically extraordinarily complex and have a lot of moving parts. This is why project management is so important.

Effective project management makes sure that everything runs smoothly and on time. It’s a process that helps a project team meet its goals by managing the project from start to finish. It also ensures that the unique needs of all stakeholders are met, as well as identifying potential risks and mitigating them before they become an issue.

In this article, we outline the construction project management steps, from initiation to closure.

What are the phases of a construction project?

Typically, construction project management divides a project into six phases. This helps us to identify what material and human resources are needed throughout the life cycle of the project and keep the project on track. It also enables us to identify and mitigate any risks, as well as ensure that the construction is viable with regard to the iron triangle of project management: scope, time, and budget ─ which all impact quality.

Here is a breakdown of the construction project phases.

  1. Initiation

The initiation phase, also known as the conception phase, is where the project manager partners with the client to identify project needs and how the project team will satisfy them.

This phase may include a feasibility study or a business case. The aim is to ensure the project is realistic and achievable. A project plan ensures that the project management team and client have the same focus.

  1. Pre-construction

In the pre-construction phase, the project manager will begin to identify and put together the team needed during construction. This is usually done in partnership with the client. During pre-construction, we will:

  • Create a list of project milestones

  • Write the communication plan to ensure project status updates are shared effectively

  • Decide where all project information will be stored and accessed

  • Draw up a risk management plan

  • Decide upon project dependencies

  • Pin down the project budget

  • Define project objectives and end goals

It’s also crucial to decide what project management tools will be used to track construction progress in real-time.

  1. Project execution

This is when the building takes place.

During this stage, communication is hyper-critical. Poor communication is a major cause of the failure of construction projects. Everyone must be kept informed, and it must be easy for issues and problems to be reported.

During each stage of construction, lessons learned should be shared and revised practices adopted. All conversations, updates, and progress ─ as well as issues and resolutions ─ should be documented and stored in a way that is accessible to all appropriate stakeholders.

  1. Commissioning

With the building phase completed, we can progress to the commissioning phase.

In this phase, the first stage is to conduct a walkthrough to ensure there are no errors or omissions in the project. This is likely to result in a list of items that must be finished or reworked to meet the required quality standard.

We then proceed to presentation and inspection, a stage that allows the client to inspect and evaluate all that has been created. Any further errors discovered should be fixed.

Finally, it’s the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that the client and building manager are trained on all installed systems.

  1. Occupancy

The project team has left the site and the client has moved in. However, the project team may still have responsibilities under the contract with the client and according to federal warranties.

  1. Closure

When the warranty period expires, the project is considered closed. The project manager and project team should hold a closing meeting. During this meeting, we review all that went right and wrong during the project. In this way, we can carry lessons learned and best practices forward to further project work.

Effective project management is the make or break of construction projects

Successful project management is needed to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and keep the project on track.

Project managers are responsible for managing the entire process from start to finish, including managing budgets, timelines, and resources. They also need to create a plan that will ensure that all the tasks and deliverables are completed according to schedule.

Do you have project management competencies in-house?

At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – including how they are conceived, designed and created. To leverage our experience in successful construction project management, contact ACB Consulting.

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