What Is Construction Project Management? A Review of the Processes, Tools, and Functions

 September 17, 2021 by Michael Gober & Denis Gritsiyenko

Are you a builder looking to expand your business?

Perhaps you're an experienced contractor looking to bring your business into the 21st century.

Or maybe you're just getting started in the construction industry.

Regardless of your background, if you’ve spent any time at all in construction, you’ve probably at least heard of construction project management.

But do you really understand everything that’s involved in effectively managing construction projects?

This guide will answer all of your questions about the processes, tools, and functions involved in construction project management.

  1. CM Fusion: Simple and Flexible Construction Project Management Software
  2. Construction Project Management Meaning
  3. The Construction Project Management Team
  4. Construction Project Management Basics: 5 Processes
  5. Construction Project Management Tools
  6. Make Construction Project Management Easy and Streamlined With CM Fusion Construction Management Software

CM Fusion: Simple and Flexible Construction Project Management Software

If you’ve ever been involved in a construction project, you know — there is a lot of information to keep track of. 

As a busy contractor, it can be so easy to lose track of things like …

  • Expenses

  • Scheduling

  • Documents and Contracts

  • Field Reports

  • Orders

  • Project Tasks

… and so much more.

Have you ever wondered, “What is construction project management software and should I use it?” 

The answer is simple — Yes! And CM Fusion has everything you need and more.

CM Fusion is an easy-to-use, cloud-based construction project management system that gives you a simple and flexible way to successfully manage your projects.  

With CM Fusion, you’ll have the ability to:

  • Quickly and easily share important project data with your entire team.

  • Coordinate all of your projects directly from your mobile phone. 

  • Issue notifications regarding completed work or tasks that require more attention.

  • Maintain full control, deciding what information each of your users can upload and access. 

With CM Fusion, you’ll have the ability to manage your projects in a more professional, organized, and systematic way. 

This means that you’ll minimize your errors, effectively saving your company valuable time and money.

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Construction Project Management Meaning

What is project management in the construction industry?

According to Carnegie Mellon University, construction project management (CPM) is …

“... the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participation satisfaction.”

Simply put, project management is keeping track of the important project-related details to ensure that the project is satisfactorily completed on time and on budget.

Why Is Construction Management Important?

Construction projects, especially large-scale ones, typically include multiple phases and hundreds of individual tasks

This can be a lot of information to keep up with.

Effective management is vital to ensure the successful completion of construction projects, especially for large-scale modern projects. 

Construction management also ensures that all members of the construction management team are held responsible for their required contributions.   

A few of the benefits of construction management include:

  • Establishing clear objectives for the project

  • Avoiding common errors such as delayed completion

  • Keeping all team members in the loop through the use of daily reports

  • Ensuring that the project stays on budget

  • Maintaining a more efficient construction process

  • Improving communication; and

  • Establishing accountability among team members

In a nutshell, CPM ensures a more efficient, streamlined, and economical construction process.

The Construction Project Management Team

The construction project management team is essentially the brains of the operation. They are the individuals that provide the leadership needed to meet the objectives of the construction project.

Typically speaking, most construction project management teams are made up of 3 parties:

  1. The project owner

  2. The project manager; and

  3. The general contractor

Depending on the project, there may also be additional team members, such as:

  • Architects

  • Engineers

  • Designers; or

  • Other special consultants

These construction professionals come together as a cohesive group to make decisions, assign tasks, and troubleshoot as needed during the construction process.

Project Owner

The first member of the construction project management team is the project owner. 

The project owner is the individual that commissions and funds the project. The project owner is typically the visionary, establishing the design and functionality needs of the project. 

Additionally, the project owner oversees the entire project from a birds-eye view, while making financial decisions regarding:

  • The creation of the budget

  • Hiring the contractor

  • The bidding process; and

  • Choosing the project delivery method

The project owner usually works in cooperation with both the project manager and the general contractor, to ensure that the project goals are met in a timely manner.

Construction Project Manager

The construction project manager is essentially the conductor of the project. 

Through the supervision of the project’s ... 

  • Schedule

  • Quality

  • Safety

  • Function

  • Scope; and

  • Cost

… the project manager’s ultimate goal is to represent the owner’s interests.

It is the project manager’s job to ensure that the project is completed according to the owner’s established standard of quality and function on time and at or under budget

Additionally, the project manager works closely with the general contractor and site supervisor to oversee all technical and contract details of the project.

General Contractor

The final key member of the construction project management team is the general contractor. 

The general contractor is the person responsible for overseeing the project’s day-to-day operations.

The duties of a general contractor include:

  • Supervising all aspects of the construction site

  • Hiring and managing the subcontractors

  • Selecting and overseeing the vendors

  • Communicating information to the relevant parties

  • Organizing the supply and delivery of materials

  • Ensuring job-site safety

  • Obtaining the necessary building permits

  • Providing temporary utilities on-site

  • Supplying on-site security; and

  • Arranging the proper disposal of construction-related waste

Construction Project Management Basics: 5 Processes

Once the bidding process has come to an end, it’s time for project execution to begin. 

Regardless of ... 

  • The project size

  • The number of people involved; or 

  • Any other special circumstances or characteristics

… every project follows a general cycle. 

This project life cycle usually includes the following 5 stages of project management.

#1: Initiation

The first phase is generally referred to as project initiation. During this critical stage, project feasibility is usually determined. 

During this phase, the conceptual design of the project is created, and the key players determine if the project is an opportunity worth pursuing. 

If deemed necessary, stakeholders may request that the project manager conduct feasibility testing as part of the initial due diligence process. 

Depending on the depth and scale of the project, this phase may last anywhere from a few days to a few months.

#2: Planning

If the project management team determines that the project plan is worth pursuing, the project then moves on to the planning phase. 

An important component of this phase is the process of front-end loading.

What is front-end loading in construction project management, you ask?

Front-end loading is a process for conceptual development of projects, which includes the creation of the project plan, so that project owners can make informed investment decisions.

During this phase, the project management team also develops the project management plan (PMP), which is essentially the roadmap the project will follow. 

The PMP is a formal document that details exactly how the project will be carried out. 

The project management plan typically outlines the project’s:

  • Scope

  • Budget

  • Goals; and

  • Timeline

Additionally, many other important documents are created and finalized during this stage of the project. Some of these documents may include:

  • Work breakdown structure

  • Scope statement and documentation

  • Communication plan; and 

  • Risk management plan

#3: Execution

Next up is the execution phase, where the construction management is finally put into action. 

This is when all the work begins.

At the start of this phase, the team …  

  • Assigns resources

  • Sets up tracking systems; and 

  • Begins completing tasks

… as outlined by the project management plan. 

As tasks are completed and the execution phase progresses, the project management team will continually update the schedule of the project and may make adjustments to the project plan as needed.

#4: Monitoring

The monitoring phase is separate, but often occurs concurrently with the execution phase. 

The purpose of this stage is to ensure that the project is executed according to the predetermined plan and remains on track with the provided timeline. 

The 3 goals of the monitoring phase are:

  1. Observing the execution of the project plan

  2. Identifying any potential risks or complications; and

  3. Implementing a mitigation strategy to keep the project plan on track and moving forward

#5: Closing

The final phase of a construction project is the completion phase, also known as project closure

This phase is the culmination of all the preceding tasks and is a vital step that should not be overlooked. 

During project closing, the project management team will ensure that …

  • All tasks have been completed according to the project management plan.

  • All deliverables have met the customer’s satisfaction and expectations. 

  • Final approval and sign-off have been received from all project management team members.

Construction Project Management Tools

Using some really great project management tools can be the key to effectively managing your ongoing construction project.

In particular, scheduling tools such as the following are especially helpful for giving you a quick and easy overall view of your project:  

  • Gantt charts — a bar chart giving a visualization of scheduled project tasks over time

  • Line of balance — a proposal for how activities should be planned according to a given rate of production 

  • Critical path method — a form of scheduling that breaks down designated tasks using a diagram that calculates the amount of time required for task completion 

  • Q Scheduling — a scheduling method that outlines the relationship between the incurred cost and task completion

Make Construction Project Management Easy and Streamlined With CM Fusion Construction Management Software

If you’re looking for cloud-based software to help you better manage your construction project, look no further than CM Fusion. 

Whether you’re a …

  • Construction manager

  • Stakeholder

  • General contractor

  • Specialty contractor

  • Engineer; or

  • Architect

… CM Fusion’s construction management software allows you to quickly and easily manage all aspects of your project — from the convenience of your cell phone. 

With our user-friendly software, you can manage your:

  • Schedule

  • Daily field reports

  • Project tasks

  • Budget

  • Orders

  • Submittals

  • RFIs and RFPs

  • Bidding; and

  • Much more

We offer many plan levels, so you’re sure to find a plan and price point that fit your budget and needs. 

Even better — there’s no credit card required to sign up for our free 30-day trial, so there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Sign up today and find out how much easier construction project management can be.

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Try CM Fusion, risk free for 30 Days – Your first project is FREE!

If you are trying to figure out where to look now, our company CM Fusion offers a free version of Construction Project Management Software. Not to mention, our customers brag about it’s ease of use, so you should be able to sign up and start managing your projects in minutes.

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