Issue Spotting in School Construction - Project Owners need to get their hands dirty
If you’re in a leadership position in the school system, you probably have a lot on your plate. It’s more than a full-time job ensuring our kids get the education they deserve.
So it’s unsurprising that when school leaders can hand off construction, renovation, and alteration projects to a professional team, they jump at the chance.
However, in our experience, while this might solve problems in the short term, it often adds to the issues you face further along the project timeline. Let’s take a closer look at why school leaders still need to get their hands dirty when it comes to issue spotting and how you can keep doing that without taking up too much of your precious time.
Lack of Defined Project Management Processes
If you’ve ever been involved in a construction project, you’ll know the project management process is complex. Tracking progress, addressing contractor questions, and adjusting timelines and budgets when change orders are needed is not just a full-time job. It truly does take a team of professionals to get any construction project from concept to completion.
The problem is that many school districts need a more straightforward, defined project management process that sets how things get done. That means a lot of the process is open to interpretation, and that’s when many things fall through the cracks.
Fortunately, Owner Insite was built to help your team.
Breaks in the Chain of Command
You might think that hiring seasoned professionals to get your school-building projects done is enough to ensure that the correct processes are followed in completing your projects.
However, even with the best general contractors, highly skilled architects and engineers, and others involved, things can still fall through the cracks without a precise, defined project management and reporting process.
The truth is that there’s often overlap in what each member of a professional project team does and takes care of. Sometimes, when it’s unclear who is doing what, some things don’t get done. Not because no one wants to do them or is capable, but simply because they all assume someone else is taking care of it.
Small Issues Can Become Big Problems
Every construction project has problems and issues. No construction project goes from start to finish without dozens or even hundreds of challenges and issues to be solved.
The key is to catch those issues early so that you can take action before they become bigger problems. Let’s look at a few scenarios that might start as minor issues but could create big, expensive problems later.
Let’s imagine that your project requires a specific permit from the local city building department. Getting one is a minor process and is more about the correct rubber stamping at city hall than anything that would directly affect how your project is completed.
However, let’s now imagine that no one on your project team applied for that permit, and instead, work started without one. Everything went fine until a city inspector arrived, realized the work was not permitted, and issued a stop-work order.
In this case, provided all the work done meets local standards, you would probably still be able to get a permit – but all work would be on hold until that happens, affecting project costs and timelines.
Another example might be a letter or email from a contractor stating that a specified product is out of stock or out of production and recommending an alternative to use.
In many cases, this kind of change would not significantly or even impact your project timeline and budget. Still, it could very well become a problem when work is scheduled to begin, and there needs to be on-site materials to start the work.
In both of these scenarios, if small tasks had been completed on time, there would have been no effect on the cost or duration of the task or project. However, left unattended, they could have a significant impact on both.
Concise Communications Matters
One of the reasons so many school construction project leaders try to remove themselves from the day-to-day process of managing construction, renovation, and alteration projects is that there are so many long-winded emails, letters, and documents to wade through. There’s not enough time to do that if you’re also taking care of the day-to-day functioning of the school district too.
Instead of stepping back and leaving it up to chance, the solution is to develop a concise project communication system that keeps you updated with the most critical project information without inundating you with information.
Since your project team is also busy with their scope in terms of project management, it can be tricky to set this up, but in the long term, if everyone involved knows what the communication system is and how to use it, it will make everyone’s job easier.
For this reason, every project in Owner Insite comes with unlimited users, unlimited training, unlimited support, and unlimited document storage.
Steve Harper, CEO, Speaks about Issue Spotting
Owner Insite is Project Management Software Built for Owners and Project Leaders
Over the years, our team saw the above-mentioned scenarios play out repeatedly, on project after project. The scale of the problems caused varied, but every single project came in over budget and past its deadline.
That’s when we realized that the communication between the field, the project team, and the project owner was the real problem.
It’s why we built Owner Insite. To give busy people like school leaders the critical overview and communications they need to spot issues and take action quickly without inundating them with every piece of information generated by the project.
Our software allows owners’ representatives, school leaders, and other top-level officials to log in to the at-a-glance dashboard and quickly see if there are any types of concerns. More importantly, because you can set up a clear, defined communication and workflow system on Owner Insite, no more important information falls through the cracks.
Even better, Owner Insite allows you to do the same with all the projects running at any given time (and beyond.) So you can quickly and easily toggle between projects to see what’s happening on each site and access all historical information for jobs that have already been signed off.
We’d love to show you more if you’re ready to change how you oversee school construction projects. Contact our team to set up a free, live demo, so you can see precisely how the Owner Insite platform can improve your ability to spot issues early and take decisive action.