When it comes to achieving anything, there are certain steps that must be completed. These steps, in most cases, unfortunately cannot be avoided. But what we find from this is that you can achieve objectives you set for yourself.
It also makes sense on a general level. Structure is directly correlated with obtaining successful outcomes. Sure, there are outliers that came about by chance. Some random instances can occur which cause lightning to strike, but for the most part we do not use these as examples of success. Structure provides a framework to build and develop within, no matter the endeavour.
One component that is perhaps the most important of all is planning. Planning is often overlooked and not considered enough when it comes to gaining successful outcomes. As we have mentioned structure, planning is the basis for structure. Having specific ways of going about things or tasks can set you up to be greater than satisfactory.
Ignoring planning is an act of detriment. Do so at your own peril. Not considering the benefits of planning means you will inevitably create more problems for yourself, ultimately failing to achieve what you set out to achieve whilst losing valuable time and resources.
It is clear that planning is an important resource. The gains that can be realised are endless, and many are unable to see this. We see it in many facets of life. Where it is most important, with context to this blog, is employment.
Planning is utilised in almost every major industry. After all, how could they function without planning? You would generally have tasks or objectives you need to complete by certain dates, and simply winging it is not a viable long term solution.
One industry that utilises planning, perhaps more so than others, is construction. Building and construction and planning could be compared to peas in a pod. They cannot be separated. Without planning the industry would be obsolete, as it generally involves the construction of works which can vary whether that be roads, residential buildings or multi-purpose locations.
There is a certain level of quality and safety that must be maintained within the industry. No matter what, rules and regulations established by relevant authorities need to be adhered to. If construction workers simply built with no end in sight, you can guess what the outcome would be.
Plans are handled by a number of people in different professions, and can differ depending on scale and importance. For instance, the most important plans are handled by construction managers.
To simplify their role, construction managers plan, organise, direct, control and coordinate construction of civil engineering and building projects, and the physical and human resources involved in the construction process. Some of the tasks defined include:
- Coordinating labour resources, and procurement and delivery of materials, plant and equipment
- Consulting with Architects, Engineering Professionals and other professionals, and Technical and Trades Workers
- Negotiating with building owners, property developers and subcontractors involved in the construction process to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget
- Preparing tenders and contract bids
- Operating and implementing coordinated work programs for sites
Whilst construction managers deal with the plans that are overarching, you may encounter a moment where you will need to plan. It might not even be overly technical, but more on the theoretical side.
Additionally, the actual plan you make could be drastically different from someone of a different area of expertise. A plumber realistically will not have the same plan to abide by as an electrician.
Regardless, as a beginner you shouldn’t be looking too much into specifics. What is more of a requirement is having a general understanding of how a plan is made and what things you should consider.
With that being said, here is a simple guide to creating a construction plan.
Understand your limits
The key to creating any successful plan is knowing what you can and can’t do. Doing the bare minimum would technically suffice, but it is not a good enough measure for success. On the other hand, aiming for the skies will more than fill your plate with unnecessary priorities that could be avoided. By recognising your limits, you can successfully go about setting steps to follow that will enable you to achieve your goals. This is not just a part of construction, but any plan you wish to create.
Develop an outline
It doesn’t matter what type or construction plan you are looking to create, or what it entails. You need to make sure you have things that must be addressed. These things are universal to all parts of construction. Some of them include project administration, schedule and logistics. Creating an outline of tasks or areas of importance will give you a framework to work within.
Consider the need for collaboration
In construction, it is often that you will have to work with others, perhaps even from other areas of construction. Therefore, your plan would more often than not include the chance of collaboration with others. Making sure to recognise whether you will be working with other people is crucial to creating a plan since not having this under consideration can threaten the viability of your plan. It is also paramount that you run this by the relevant collaborators. Having them understand your plan and providing a seal of approval makes your plan all the more reliable.
Comply with codes of practice
One of the more important things to consider when writing a construction management plan is to make sure the plan follows standard codes of practice. These codes of practice will cover areas of concern that must be adhered to in order to successfully deliver a construction project. Some of the codes of practice include:
- public safety, amenity and site security
- permitted hours of building work
- noise and vibration controls
- air and dust management
- stormwater and sediment control
- waste and materials reuse
Cover all necessary checklists
Most construction management plans will need to have a list of items that must be accounted for. These can be performatory or administrative. There a quite a few checklists that you could make part of your plan such as:
- Detail the scope of the works to be completed including details of the various stages, e.g. Demolition, Excavation, Construction etc. and the duration of each stage.
- Identify local traffic routes to be used by construction vehicles.
- Identify ways to manage construction works to address impacts on local traffic routes.
- Detail how construction workers will travel to and from the site and parking arrangements for those that drive.
- Identify any proposed road closures, temporary traffic routes, loss of pedestrian or cyclist access or reversing manoeuvres onto a public road and provide Traffic Control Plans (TCPs) prepared by an accredited RMS Red or Orange card holder to manage these temporary changes.
This stage is critical. Do not assume your plan is foolproof. There may be mistakes you have made despite multiple reviews, or things you may not have thought about which could have positive or negative implications on your plan. Receiving feedback from your peers is such a useful resource that does not get enough consideration. By obtaining unbiased comments, you can iron out any deficiencies or areas where your plan is weak and thus make revisions. Looking to others for advice and feedback is a skill that will serve you well as you become more developed in the area of building and construction.
Construction management: following stages
This area, whilst being a part of construction management, is still important to include regardless of context. As we mentioned earlier, construction managers are responsible for a lot of plans. In particular, plans which have an impact on the overall project. Thus, it would be unreasonable not to include this in the guide.
There are stages to writing a construction management plan, which also take into account different components that form the plan. The stages are:
- Feasibility and design: goals and desired end results become clear, and choices for use and purpose are discussed. Schematics and subsequently design development and contract documents also form part of this section.
- Pre-construction: this stage precedes the main part of construction and is where a notice to proceed is given, and a project team is formed of specialised professions.
- Procurement: This stage involves more financial aspects as labour, materials and equipment are bought for use.
- Construction: the final and main stage where everything comes together and the actual project commences. Although this stage is more hands-on, planning also comes into play as the work conducted on a day to day basis is mapped out.
Following these stages, will help you as a beginner to create a plan that is easy to follow and makes sense for everyone involved.
Construction management: choosing a type of plan
Another facet of construction management plans is choosing a specific type of plan to follow. Not all plans are the same, which many fall into the habit of incorrectly assuming. Even as a beginner, it is useful to understand this as you may become a construction manager, or perhaps you already are one and require greater understanding of the logistics of planning. The main types of construction management plans are:
- An overall plan: This can be categorised as a simple but sophisticated plan used to detail the process of a construction project from start to finish.
- Detailed building plan: This plan is more specialised as it focuses on tasks, schedules and costs that can be incurred by a construction project, and helps construction managers determine how to best tackle a project.
- Environmental plan: this plan involves surveying the land and area surrounding the location of a project, which will give further information as to how the project will commence within the given parameters.
If you have a type of plan chosen, then you will make it that much easier for yourself to be successful in following through on that plan. If you don’t choose a plan, you could end up aimlessly working around vague objectives which wastes your time and resources.