The Ultimate Guide to Construction Field Management
By Carly | Posted on August 6th, 2018
Exceptional construction field management requires leadership skill and know-how to get the job done right. If you are just starting out in the field or have years of experience under your belt, our quick guide has all the answers you need on how you can be successful in construction field management.
What is Construction Field Management?
To put it simply, construction field management is the art of managing and reacting to all the moving parts of a construction project, including workforce, resources and corresponding tasks. Field management in construction should streamline updates from the bottom up, through the subcontractor, superintendent, project manager and executive, allowing all parties to be in the loop. In other words, effective construction field management is based on communication of updated progress of each individual’s tasks.
The Functions of Construction Field Management
Construction field management at large is summarized with these main purposes:
- Identification and strategy of carrying out project goals
- Management through the entire process of contracting planning, estimating, procurement, design and construction
- Designation of resources, workforce and equipment
- Enabling communication across all agents; more specifically, workflow framework, task management, and conflict resolution
The Role of a Project Manager in Construction Field Management
Construction project managers are in charge of overseeing the construction project from beginning to end. Essentially, they are the main individual supervising field management at the jobsite. From the beginning, a construction project manager will oversee budgeting and cost estimates to ultimately formulate the most efficient construction strategy. He or she is also responsible for scheduling timetables for all field workers, subcontractors, superintendents, and any other relevant groups. On a larger scale, the project manager will supervise the jobsite's workforce as a whole. Finally, this individual will coordinate and manage all relationships with necessary external parties, as well as relay the pertinent information and updates to the executives of the project. This job requires competency in management ability as well as technical knowledge within construction. Since the project manager has such a large range of responsibilities, he or she relies heavily on communication from the superintendent about specific progress on the jobsite.
The Role of a Superintendent in Construction Field Management
Superintendents are the go-to individual on the jobsite. While project managers are essentially part of the administrative staff, superintendents are much more in touch with the day-to-day happenings onsite and are more closely involved with the construction crew. The superintendent is responsible for coordinating the subcontractors chosen for the project, as well as the material and equipment for the job. This includes each employee's roles, responsibilities and tasks. He or she also manages the varied workflows to ensure the project finishes on schedule and within budget. In total, the superintendent coordinates all onsite activities on a daily basis and communicates these updates to the project manager.
What Role Does Daily Reporting Have in Construction Field Management?
A major part of construction field management is the process of daily reporting. It's also the most common source of headaches for many superintendents and foremen who must keep track of every single thing that happens on the jobsite every day. But this process shouldn't be the worst part of the day. Rather, it should be one of the easiest. There's just no way around daily reporting, it has to be done and is crucially important for a number of reasons, including:
- Keeping project progress on track.
- Protecting from litigation and disputes for years after project completion.
- Communicating project progress and updates with owners, engineers, payroll administrators, and other important players involved in the job.
It's also important to know what information to include in a daily report so that you're not forgetting any crucial parts:
How to Improve Your Construction Field Management
For successful construction field management, communication between the project manager, superintendent, and subcontractor(s) is vital. However, this is easier said than done. While the project manager is the head of the project and ensures everything is functioning as it should, they cannot always be on the jobsite nor do they want to be, but they do want to know about everything happening. The superintendent, on the other hand, sees the most up to date progress and is in the loop with everything in the project as it happens. Enabling the superintendent to pass along these significant updates to the offsite project manager (both thoroughly and efficiently) is the key to effective construction field management.
Mobilizing field management is the simplest way to enable communication between all necessary parties, and construction field management solutions can do this. Raken has a task management feature, allowing the superintendent to assign, complete, and manage team tasks all in one interface. The superintendent can then keep track of which tasks are open or closed, receive notifications of overdue or open items and follow up on tasks to monitor and report on progress.
With many different parties of interest working on one project, it is no surprise that some things could get lost in the process. Using software for construction field management minimizes these omissions. With the ease of managing and being aware of all jobsite workflows, superintendents can update the project manager on the most important aspects of what is happening. The project manager is then able to easily update the executive as needed. All problems can be addressed immediately and handled quicker as to not slow down the entire project. With the ability to assign tasks to any individual, from the executive down to the subcontractors, projects become more efficient. Essentially, these streamlined functions connect the field to office. No more faxes, loose sheets of paper, or sporadic emails and calls. Through the use of contractor management sofwtare, everyone's time can be used more effectively for their specific tasks and everyone stays in the loop.
At The End of The Day
There's nothing relaxing about field management in construction, but thankfully there is software available that will drastically reduce time spent reporting, chasing down daily reports, filling out time cards, and stressing about remembering what happened throughout the day on the jobsite. Know what to look for, read trusted reviews, and make your job easier by mobilizing your construction field management with intuitive software like Raken. Start with a 15-day free trial to streamline your field management and enjoy your days at the jobsite a whole lot more.