Construction Best Practices

The Top 6 Things That Keep Project Managers Up at Night


From cost overruns to safety to mountains of paperwork, construction project managers have their hands full every day.

Construction project managers face many potential challenges, from weather delays to mountains of paperwork and miscommunications between stakeholders. If you’re a construction project manager or construction operations professional, you’re judged largely by four words: “on time and on budget.” While some circumstances to you achieving those goals are beyond your control, using the right tools can lessen the impact of others.

Let’s consider the top six concerns that might be keeping you up at night—and how today’s connected, cloud construction technology can help.

1. Construction Mistakes and Errors

Nothing gets a project manager's blood pressure up like a costly error or construction mistake.

Human error is inevitable, but when your teams make mistakes that go unnoticed, your project can easily be derailed. Often, these errors spring from poor communication between contractors, subcontractors, owners, and other stakeholders. When communication is limited or project goals are unclear, mistakes are far more likely to happen.

As a construction project manager or construction operations professional, it’s important to have the data you need to gain a clear view of the entire project—and the means to facilitate thorough and immediate communication between your teams.

2. Massive Amounts of Construction Project Paperwork

More than half of a project manager's day can be spent buried in paperwork and other administrative tasks.

Paperwork is a necessary part of the construction business, but it can be difficult to keep up with. Change orders, contracts, architectural drawings, and other documents need to be up-to-date and promptly passed between parties for approvals and signatures.

When you’re relying on a combination of traditional methods such as paper documents and emails, paperwork can be a nightmare to track as versions often become confused, and the people who need to see and approve a document might not do so in a timely manner.

Construction document management works best with a digital, connected solution that can provide a central repository for paperwork—one that everyone can easily access in just seconds, and where you can track a document’s versions and progress from person to person or team to team.

3. Construction Budget Overruns

PMs are charged with keeping their projects on budget—a task that is far easier said than done.

For project managers, one of the most insomnia-inducing problems is exceeding your budget. It’s common for projects to require more than originally planned for, but cost overruns can be minimized with a combination of good judgment and accurate calculations. 

Modern cloud construction software that provides accurate budget forecasting and connected project management data can help keep you on track. Connected construction suites can also ensure that all project stakeholders have access to the right data at the right time, meaning your project teams will make fewer mistakes, waste less labor time, equipment and materials, and avoid costly and time-consuming rework that can push your projects over the budget cliff and eat into your company’s profit margins.

4. Poor Communication

One of the biggest challenges on construction projects is lack of effective communication and collaboration, leading to costly mistakes and lost profits.

A lack of communication between project managers, field workers, and other project stakeholders can spell disaster for a construction project. If clear lines of communication are not established early, teams often misunderstand each other or lack a clear picture of project goals, leading to those errors and conflicts we noted above.

Keeping everyone in the loop when budgets shift and plans change is essential, but even the best intentions can fall by the wayside if you’re relying on piecemeal communication such as a combination of email, texting, and phone calls. Many different communication avenues might seem like a good idea, but it often leads to misunderstandings and missed messages.

Consolidating communication between teams under a single umbrella, and providing collaborative working spaces such as a digital project management solution, helps keep everyone on the same page.

Lack of communication between project managers, field workers, and other project stakeholders can spell disaster for a construction project.

5. Construction Safety Concerns

Safety incidents on the construction jobsite are a consistent concern for project managers.

Construction naturally involves more safety concerns than many other industries, with job site fatalities numbering around 1,000 per year in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Project managers must anticipate safety issues before they result in accidents, and a great way to do that is by facilitating real-time communication with field workers and supervisors. When workers have fast, simple, and accurate ways to log potential safety issues or report hazards and mishaps,serious accidents can often be curtailed.

Modern construction solutions—such as mobile safety and checklist apps connected to back office construction and project management software—can help change the game and keep your crews safe. Project managers also need to create—and enforce—safety management plans that are tailored to each project and location, and clearly communicate those plans to all involved parties.

6. Construction Compliance, Insurance, and Bonding

Regulatory compliance, insurance, bonding and other tasks might seem menial, but they're super important issues for PMs to stay on top of.

Staying up-to-date with regulatory compliance, insurance reporting, and bonding can be another daily headache for construction project managers.

Regulations are numerous in the industry, and may differ depending on the geographical region of your project. Insurance and bonding companies, too, might have different reporting requirements depending on the locale and the company involved. A failure to comply with regulations or properly report to your insurance company can result in steep fines, project delays and rework, and even worker injuries.

To stay on track, maintain oversight of your teams and stay aware of your local government’s regulations surrounding building codes, contracts, safety, and other details. Stay current with daily reporting and real-time alerts to issues that need attention, and report incidents to insurance and government entities when needed.This helps maintain construction document compliance at all times.

How Connected Construction Solutions Can Help

Modern, connected construction applications, like Trimble's ProjectSight, can help streamline project managers' work, giving them a much-needed leg up in their project oversight.

While there are plenty of reasons for project managers to lose sleep, today’s construction technology tools can help you rest easier.

Cloud-based project management software such as ProjectSight and connected construction management suites like Trimble Construction One can help you gain efficiencies and yield better accuracy and results. All-in-one construction software means you can keep communication, documents and drawings, reporting, and financials in one place, streamlining projects and helping everyone stay in the loop. Improved communication and reporting leads to fewer errors and safety risks—and more projects finished on time and on budget.

Why not let technology give you an assist, helping you work smarter rather than harder. Think about how much more you’ll be able to accomplish, and you can do it all without having to work late into every evening just to catch up with last week’s to-do list.

Posted By

Jessica Leigh Brown is a technology writer who loves to explore the practical ways software and connectivity impact the construction industry. Her work has appeared in more than a dozen trade and consumer magazines, and she enjoys working with top technology companies to create case studies and thought leadership content.