Challenges Facing the Modern Construction Project Manager

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The construction industry faced one of its worst years in recent history in 2020. Reported revenue was down for the first time since 2012, and  it is estimated that the drop in revenue from construction is 12%. 

Whilst much of this drop can be attributed to the pandemic, there are some other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Project managers may want to take note of these if they want to ensure that this year is the one when things return to normal. 

Problematic supplier situations

Covid-19 has caused significant disruptions to the construction materials supply chain all over the world. Both border restrictions and lockdowns have made it much harder for suppliers to be able to deliver. Some have even struggled to even produce the raw materials that construction projects rely on. 

With many construction companies using just one single supplier, any attempts to move to a different one have been slow and not without challenges. It is hoped that this is an issue that will resolve itself once countries begin to lift their lockdown restrictions. However, there is one other factor that could undoubtedly cause headaches for project managers that will require them to use all of their project management skills to solve. 

How can the issue of supply be solved?

As a result of the UK leaving the European Union many of the rules that govern international trade and shipping have changed. Diversification is the simple answer the problems Brexit has caused. It will be necessary for each project manager to be responsible for an audit of all the supply chains that their business uses. 

This can be used to assess the risks and likelihoods of a supplier no longer being able to maintain the necessary flow of raw materials. They should also create a list of alternative suppliers who can be used if necessary. This is not ideal, as splitting supplies between different companies can bring its own difficulties, so adopting a good project management software is a must.

Poor document management

Keeping track of important documents and making them available to your teams is essential to running a smooth project. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that every team handles well.

The need for solid construction project communication tools at every step of the project is vital to reducing project completion time and keeping the lines of communication completely open. Keeping better track of project documents also leads to streamlined approval processes, less wasted time on a project, and better decision-making based on current documentation.

Shortages in the workforce

Whilst there is growing talk in the industry about automation taking many of the jobs, one thing that isn’t being discussed is that there is, in fact, a shortage of construction workers. It was estimated that even before the pandemic there were not enough construction workers in the UK for the current requirements. This is another of the issues that will need to be solved and not necessarily something that even the best training courses for project managers can prepare you for.

In instances like this it might be necessary to consider what kinds of technology are available that could allow fewer workers to manage to do more work like the use of a construction time clock or a construction management software.  This could have the biggest impact on workloads. Project managers may also need to take a look at the building process as a whole and find ways in which they can reduce the overall work that is needed in order to complete a project. It won’t be an easy task but unless more individuals choose jobs in the construction industry this could be an issue that will affect construction for many years.

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