Project management for public works is crucial, especially considering the returns in such a construction project.
Preventing costly mistakes becomes the number one priority.
From planning and design to resource management, budget allocation, and more, project management for public works aims to keep the entire process efficient and on track.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what this is all about.
What is project management for public works?
Construction project management involves leading and orchestrating every part of the project lifecycle, from conception to completion.
It is a holistic practice to deliver construction on schedule and within budget.
Public works project management is a complex discipline that requires addressing many important issues, including cost control, scheduling, procurement, and risk assessment.
Project managers interact with all team members, from architects to owners, to contractors.
The construction industry usually involves various constraints, especially regarding building works.
Therefore, perspectives in the construction industry need to be broader.
Peculiarities of public works project management
Civil engineering project management is a group of techniques and methodologies used to construct or repair roads, bridges, sewer systems, and other civil projects.
Considering the high level of complexity and a low tolerance for errors on these types of projects, the techniques used are often specific and refined project management skills.
There are three areas of interest in civil engineering project management:
- Government requirements;
These topics can also be part of project management in other sectors, but they have unique aspects in civil engineering.
All (or nearly all) projects are completed using government funding, adding complexity as the project budget may be somewhat limited.
Besides financial limitations, political pressure and a project profile can often impact the overall project plan and support.
Tendering suppliers, construction companies, and professional staff is a complex and multi-stage process for any large project.
Since project funding is government-based, specific requirements related to the procurement process, licensing requirements, union affiliations, and more are often included in the funding agreement.
Construction project managers must take the time to review the requirements in detail.
Compliance is indeed necessary for funding to be approved and not frozen at a later date.
Government requirements are often provided as a specific section of the agreement.
This may include project milestones, specific press conferences, non-disclosure clauses, financial reporting, etc.
Also, public works projects require a greater level of documentation for two main reasons: the duration of the project and the government’s reporting requirements.
Such a project can involve extensive timelines, as the scope tends to be very broad, and the government needs all the details to justify the investment.
To do so, many project managers may hire a documentation specialist to ensure that the information is reported accurately.
How to simplify project management for public works?
As we have already seen so far, construction projects are incredibly complex and structured endeavors.
Whether the project consists of building a road or renovating a bridge, each project has many moving parts that must be precisely coordinated.
Just like any other project, construction project management has distinct phases: design, planning, and scheduling of the construction itself.
Each phase has many elements and is part of an even more complex overall process.
Therefore, trying to single-handedly and with simple computer tools apply all the project management practices that such a construction needs will only lead to frustration.
To streamline project management work for public works, choosing the right project management software can make all the difference.
You need to make sure that the tool you choose is “robust” and dynamic enough to support the complexity of a construction project.
A good project management solution allows you to improve forecasting, centralize information, increase efficiency, and keep costs and schedules in line.
It also reduces risks, eliminates errors, and facilitates communication.
Especially in public works project management, it, therefore, becomes essential to rely on good software.