What Is Construction Project Management (CPM)?

what is construction project management

In very basic terms, construction project management (CPM) is the process of planning and executing construction projects so they finish on time, within the set budget and in-line with minimum building standards and regulations.

Below, we’ll take you through the steps involved in planning and managing a construction project, some of the most common challenges, and share some tools and techniques that can help streamline the construction project management process.

What Are The Main Elements of Construction Project Management


Planning a Construction Project

Project Objectives: Construction projects need a clear vision and blueprint. Start by defining exactly what your project should look like on completion, set objectives, and decide what you want the finished product to look like.

Managing Budgets: All construction projects should have a detailed budget that covers all necessary, potential and associated costs – your budget should take into account costs such as materials, labour, equipment, plant hire, and sub-contractors. Construction budgets should also build in a plan for contingencies, in case your project runs into any unexpected issues or costs.

Construction Schedules: Construction schedules decide the order in which work is started and completed, and the time allocated to the different aspects of a construction project. Construction schedules are also used to track critical milestones and deliverables to keep the project on track – and on budget.




Managing Resources: When planning a construction project, you need to be mindful of how and where you allocate resources – this includes your labour, machinery, sub-contractors, and materials. As oversights can be costly and could potentially delay your project.

Quality Standards: In Ireland and the UK, the building and construction industries need to follow guidelines to ensure that projects meet the minimum quality standards. Construction projects need to follow quality assurance processes to make sure that construction meets the accepted standards.

Safety Management: As with building regulations, construction sites need to follow safety regulations in order to reduce the risk of injury or death and create a safe working environment on-site. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in Ireland provides helpful resources for those in the construction industry.

Project Monitoring and Control

Progress Tracking: In order to get a complete picture of how your construction project is performing, you need to monitor the project’s progress. Use tracking tools to compare a construction project’s actual performance against the original plan and budget.

Cost Management: In construction, project costs can creep up unexpectedly – what is known as scope creep. Construction project managers need to understand cost performance at all levels of a project and closely monitor expenses in order to stick to budget.

Risk Management: Risk management is an important factor in successful construction projects. Aside from the regulatory and health & safety aspects involved, risk management is necessary for delivering construction projects on time and on budget. Project managers should identify potential risks early on and develop strategies to manage them.

Project Closure

Final Walkthrough & Inspection: The final walkthrough and inspection checks whether the finished project complies with building regulations. Final inspections are usually carried out by an Assigned Certifier, with the final certificate of compliance signed by both the certifier and the builder.

Documentation: All necessary documentation should be passed over to the building owner at the end of the project, this includes final drawings, permits and planning permission, and building reports.

Client Handover: Once the project has been completed and signed off, it can be handed over to the client. 


Challenges in Construction Project Management


Time Management: Keeping your construction projects on schedule can be tough, especially when unexpected delays arise. Adopting digital time tracking systems, like LiveCosts, can have significant benefits for construction companies – such as saving time on manual data input and accounting, increased productivity, and more accurate tracking of labour hours, overtime, contractors and project profitability.

Budget Overruns: Keeping costs under control can be a challenge with the changing price of materials, unforeseen expenses and the many other moving parts involved in construction. In fact, a KPMG study found that just 31% of construction projects came within 10% of budget. Setting up your construction budget right, tracking project costs and monitoring your construction budget can help to mitigate budget overruns.

Communication: Good communication is a major factor in delivering successful construction projects. A study looking at communication across construction projects found that project managers can spend 90% of their time just communicating with stakeholders, and those involved on the project. Improving communication can help to prevent and manage deadlines.

Construction Project Management Tools


Project Management Software
Construction project tracking tools like LiveCosts can help companies and contractors get full visibility on construction projects across all stages from planning to execution. They can also automate repetitive tasks involving data entry, invoicing, procurement and accounts to help reduce costs and increase productivity.

Lean Construction
Lean construction focuses on minimising waste and maximising efficiency by emphasising continuous improvement and collaboration between construction teams, contractors, developers and the back-office.

Agile Methodologies
Agile construction management focuses on flexible collaboration to deliver quick and efficient results. Agile focuses on breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable ones that allow your teams to quickly adapt to any changes to plans.

LiveCosts Construction Cost Tracking Software will give you full visibility on all of your projects, accurate profit estimations, and spot inventory problems early – all in one easy-to-use platform.

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