18 Nov Mid-Project Management: The Best Practices
Mid-Project management is a peculiar thing during any form of construction because so much is happening, yet this leaves much less for you to do. However, this does not mean you can relax completely as there are still some things to keep an eye on. For that reason, this blog will cover a number of important pieces of information you’ll need to know once your project gets underway. We have already covered the planning stage of your project so if you need information on planning a construction project be sure to read our previous blogs.
The Start of the Project
When your contractors start work on the first day it is important they have access to everything they need including running water, electricity and toilet facilities. There are many instances when these facilities are not able to be supplied but if this is the case it is crucial you discuss this with the contractors before they begin working so they can plan an alternative option.
It is at the start of the project when most unforeseen extra work can reveal itself. This happens because once your contractor begins removing things, such as demolishing a ceiling or removing a bathroom or kitchen, the infrastructure becomes visible. This could bring to light elements which aren’t up to modern regulations. This is even more likely in an older build. If you’re unsure about what you’re being told by your contractors in regard to these regulations, you can check with a local property consultant or your architect to verify. It is very important, therefore that you pay close attention to the work being done at the start of your project to keep on top of unforeseen additions to the work.
This is also important because the start of your project allows for the biggest mistakes to be made. Like the rest of us, contractors are only human and so it is quite easy for them to make mistakes or errors which might deviate from your initial discussions and plans. Catching issues early is crucial to keeping costs down and your project on track. Small changes early on can have large consequences down the road.
Speaking of which, during the build it is also likely you will want to make certain changes as it develops. This could be anything from moving a wall to make a room bigger/smaller to increasing the size of a window or door opening. However, changes are never as straight forward as they seem. One change can require a lot of small changes such as moving plumbing or electrical cables or a need to change the structural design. Whatever the change is, big or small, you need to let your contractor know as soon as possible. By leaving the change to much later, it may cost you a lot more than it needed to.
This is equally true if you are not happy with your contractor’s work. If you have done your due diligence, then hopefully this situation will be avoided in the first place but sometimes, even with all the precautions, you can still find yourself in this situation. If it’s very quickly becoming apparent that the contractor’s work does not meet your expectations, then it is important you act early to keep your life stress free and avoid any unnecessary expenses.
The Importance of Communication in Mid-Project Management
We’ve already shown to reasons why communication is crucial to keeping within your budget and ensuring quality work but we really can’t overemphasize the significance of good communication so here’s a another important reason why communication is king.
During your project, you are going to need to communicate with your contractor on a very regular basis. Most of this will be done through phone calls, text messages, whatsapp messages and emails. Wherever possible, you should try to keep to one written form of communication once you get started and hold phone calls on top. However, you should backup your phone call discussions with a follow-up text reiterating what was agreed during the call. By doing this, you make it simple to recover information if there should be any disagreements later on regarding decisions made on your project. Using multiple platforms means it’s far easier for information to get lost and you could end up in a ‘he said, she said’ situation.
If your project has required planning or contains any structural elements, it is strongly advised you are around for the inspector’s visits. This will give you peace of mind that the work has been certified by an independent body and that the contractors are doing the work in line with building regulations.
A building inspector/officer is there to work for you and for the people that may purchase your property if you decide to sell it. As such, their comments are completely unbiased and will not favour you or your contractor; they will work to up-to-date regulations only.
Mid-Project Management: Starting Vs. Finishing
It’s not uncommon with a project that you will have more tradespeople on site at the start when compared to the end. This is because the second half of the project mainly involves finishing work and too many people on site can end up causing damage to your finish fixtures and finishes.
The important thing to take note of is that, if you find there are multiple days where no-one is turning up at all, this would generally mean that either the contractor doesn’t have enough money left in the project to give it their full focus or they have taken on more work than they can handle, causing them to be stretched too thinly.
The way to prevent this from happening is to keep as much money from the project with you and not with the builder; this way your project remains financially worthwhile to them. There is of course a fine balance because it is immoral and unfair to withhold a significant portion of the money until completion and this is likely to cause upset or disagreements. The best way to handle this is through retention, you can read about it in our previous post here. Together, these tips should provide all you need for successful, mid-project management. Our next blog will likely cover wrapping-up your project so if this blog has helped you, can an eye out for what’s to come!