What is project management in building construction?

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Construction projects are highly complex business ventures that require careful planning and oversight. In some cases, millions or tens of millions of pounds are on the line.

Therefore, construction project management is essential. It ensures that projects go as planned, whether you’re building a recycling facility or a block of flats.

What is construction project management?

Construction project management comprises a set of managerial functions designed to deliver building projects on time and within budget. Managers oversee builds from the ideation and design phase, all the way to completion, ensuring that the construction process unfolds smoothly.

Construction management aims to address critical concerns, including risk assessment, procurement of raw materials to the site, safety issues, cost control and adherence to architectural plans. On most construction sites, there is a single construction project manager who may give instructions to a team of mid-level managers on bigger builds.

Project managers are sometimes supplied by the main contractor working on the site. However, in many cases, clients hire them separately. The construction project manager has oversight of all teams working on the ground, ensuring that they complete tasks with minimal friction. Other objectives may include cost creep minimisation (where costs go up as the build progresses, above initial estimates), scope-creep reduction (where the features of the build expand over time), and streamlining of communication between various parties.

The hope is that by centralising all command and control functions into a single person, projects can proceed in ways that benefit the client.

The stages of project management in building construction

There are multiple stages in building construction that project managers oversee.

Ideation and planning

Project managers involve themselves from the earliest stages of construction projects, often before architects and engineers draw up plans. During the planning and ideation phase, the goal is to work out whether carrying out the project is worthwhile. Project managers will often perform cost-benefit analyses to ensure that the project makes financial sense, establishing that it will generate a positive return on investment.

The planning phase is also an opportunity to get feedback from stakeholders. Presenting decision-makers with relevant analytics makes it easier for them to decide whether to go ahead with a project or not.


After initial planning and clients giving the go-ahead, the design phase can begin. During this step, project managers oversee the design process, ensuring that it complies with stakeholder expectations. The design of the building must fulfil their brief.


Phase three is preconstruction. Here, project managers prepare all the materials and resources required for the build phase itself. As part of their work, they may:

Prepare budgets for each specific aspect of the build

Assign tasks to contractors and other on-site professionals

Plot building milestones and when they should be completed

Create a site plan, mapping out the location of facilities

Carry out risk assessments of the site


The procurement phase involves ordering, transporting and delivering the required materials to the construction site. Effective project management ensures that all materials arrive at the site when needed during the build phase.

In some cases, project managers can order all the required materials in bulk to arrive in a single delivery. However, due to space and inventory limitations, they may also need to arrange staggered delivery so that materials arrive as construction workers require them.


The final phase is construction. During this stage, construction managers hope that all their planning pays off. However, problems are still likely. Construction managers continue to work to actively reduce hiccups through ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

If you’d like help with building project management, get in touch with Dabinett today. We offer a range of management services for both commercial and industrial projects. Speak to our team to learn more.

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