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How to Avoid Construction Resource Management Errors

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Resource management involves planning how a project manager will utilize resources like labor, equipment, and materials. Good resource management practices protect the project from under or over-utilization of resources. Overutilization of resources results in waste, increasing the overall cost of construction. Meanwhile, underutilization of resources causes delays due to workers being idle.

Why is resource management important?

Resource management minimizes idle time and ensures that resources are efficiently utilized. Here are some other reasons that resource management is important.

Reduces costs

Modern resource management platforms use optioneering to create simulations that identify the best construction approaches, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. These platforms help with optimizing things like equipment and labor to reduce waste and minimize idle time, allowing construction firms to cut back on expenses.

Increases profit margins

Resource allocation increases profit since it lessens waste. Profit margins are also increased because it becomes easier to coordinate labor, hire equipment on a need-be basis, and ensure materials are properly utilized.

Makes it easier to track equipment use

One resource that determines whether a construction project will be completed on time is equipment. Equipment such as tractors, excavators, and trucks is costly to maintain. Project managers must ensure that equipment is rented on time and not used for other purposes except for the project.

Improves collaboration and communication

Project managers who utilize modern resource management platforms create a better and more collaborative environment, reducing the likelihood of error. Collaboration is essential because contractors and subcontractors can share and exchange information in real-time. This reduces the possibility of mistakes since subcontractors get feedback in real-time.

Allows for a skills assessment

The success of a construction project will depend on how skilled a labor force is. Hiring unskilled workers increases the possibility of them making errors and being unproductive, causing delays. 

Currently, there’s a labor shortage in the construction industry, with 400,000 job positions unfilled. Resource management plans how contractors will fill these positions to protect the project from delay.

How do you avoid construction resource management errors?

One common resource management error is poor resource forecasting, in which resources are assigned to tasks that do not need them.

There are two main ways that this problem is solved. The first is the project manager knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their team, using historical data to their advantage. If a team member falls short of their expectations, then the manager must upskill or recruit a new team.

Using technology is the second way contractors can deal with poor resource forecasting. Modern platforms use algorithms to determine how many resources are required to complete a project. Other ways to avoid construction resource management errors include the following.

Assume workers work 80% of the time

Most project managers create a schedule assuming workers will work 100% of their time. In most cases, this is usually not what happens. Time is spent seeking clarification, especially if there’s poor communication between contractors and subcontractors. Time is also lost when there are meetings, or when a worker is on sick leave.

A good work schedule should assume that workers will only work 80% of their time. In addition, it should factor in national holidays and vacations. 

Stop micromanaging contractors

Most project managers feel the urge to micromanage operations. This is understandable because they are in charge of the project. The problem with micromanaging, however, is that workers spend too much time working on feedback instead of completing a given task. 

Project managers can avoid this problem by ensuring that workers have a team leader who is well-versed in what is required of their team.

Factor in project dependencies

Construction projects that fail to factor in project dependencies are affected by delays. Dependencies are tasks that require a milestone to be completed for them to begin. 

A good example of this is foundation work. Foundation work can only begin when the site has been cleared of debris. 

Factor in project dependencies
Image Source: Pixabay

To solve this problem, construction companies need to use modern platforms that help identify task dependencies. Once a dependency has been identified, priority should be given to these dependencies to ensure they are completed on time. 

Another strategy to protect the project is to create a sufficient buffer. This means that dependencies are allocated more resources, such as labor. In addition, construction teams must first deal with dependencies when recovering a stalled project.

Use modern communication platforms

Contractors should use modern platforms to ensure communication is effective and transparent from the get-go. Modern platforms allow contractors to instruct subcontractors directly in real-time. Subcontractors will know what is expected of them, especially with platforms that show the completion rate of a project. 

If the project is behind schedule, some platforms allow you to notify workers, with suggestions on how the project can be fast-tracked. It should be clear from the beginning what the objectives are, the role of each member, and the consequences of falling behind schedule.

Create room for error

Another construction scheduling error is the assumption that teams will complete the project 100% error-free. As a result, resources need to be adequately budgeted for. Contractors should make room for errors and change orders.

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