Building Project Management Services

The construction of a new building is a complex process that requires expert technical knowledge. Over the years, construction companies and builders have come to realise that know-how is simply not enough, and that the building process has to be complemented by something else. That something else refers to adequate management practices that can facilitate the overseeing and coordination of the different stages involved in a building construction project.

Building project management services are used in every sub-sector of the construction field, including the construction of residential properties. One of the areas that has benefited the most from the development of building project management services is the construction of custom-built homes. Because this type of properties require flawless planning and coordination, having a set of defined management practices in place can help improve the efficiency and overall quality of the final results. In this article you will find an overview of building project management services and of their relationship to custom-built residential properties.

The legal aspects of construction project management

In Australia, the construction of custom-built homes is regulated by the Building Code of Australia. If you are a developer managing a custom-built construction project, you must be aware of the fact that these regulations have undergone a series of changes recently. The changes apply to the construction materials (see Revised Timber Standards AS 1684 and As 1720; metal roofing; and glass balustrades) but also to how the design of certain parts of the building should be managed, including windows, outdoor kitchens, and garage doors.

For custom-built projects taking place in New South Wales, you must also note that it is now compulsory to notify Dial Before You Dig prior to the start of any digging or excavations. Failure to do so may void your insurance and may lead to prosecution.

Remember that successful building project management involves first and foremost being knowledgeable about the legal aspects of construction work in the territory in which your project takes place.

The key ingredients of good building project management

It could be said that building project management is an area that overlaps general management practices and specific knowledge about all the disciplines involved in construction work. Although there is not a clear-cut definition of what constitutes good building project management, some elements are common to all construction projects, including custom-built homes. These include:

Excellent leadership, supervision, and people management skills

These are essential in custom-built projects, as they involve the coordination of many different types of specialist contractors who must work harmoniously in order to meet the client's expectations.

Proactive and extensive planning

In custom-built residential projects, builders will need to anticipate any obstacles that might delay the work being carried out. Changes are a common occurrence in all construction projects, but what really matters is how well the team handles them.

Being approachable, flexible, and able to involve the client in the project

This factor is nowhere more important than in custom-built projects. Communication between builders and clients is essential in order to reach a satisfactory result, but it is not always easy to find a happy medium between what the client wants and what is really feasible. It takes a good deal of interpersonal skills to do that.

Being able to put together the right team

A custom-built home is a project that requires the work of designers, engineers, architects, construction managers, and specialty contractors, among many others. While it is very important that each of these professionals are specialists in their field, it is also essential that they have a holistic vision of what construction involves and that they take an active interest in the project in hand.

The main stages of building project management

When applied to custom-built homes, building project management can be divided into eight different stages. These include:

Preparation: during this phase the most important job is to define the client's expectations and to assess how feasible they are. This is also a good time to determine the organisational structure that will guide the construction team.

Design: this stage requires the integration of the architectural and structural components of the project. Other important aspects are cost estimation, application for planning approval, and determining that the project complies with the relevant laws.

Pre-construction: it involves the definition of roles, work schedules, and deadlines. Construction: it involves the handover of the site to the appointed team, the creation of project documentation, and monitoring tasks.

Commissioning of engineering services: the different engineering teams involved will need to be coordinated and integrated.

Pre-handover: this is the time to compile building records while liaising with the future occupiers.

Occupation: it requires welcoming occupiers and requesting their feedback.

Aftercare: it might be necessary to fine-tune certain elements of a custom-built home following occupation.

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