Project Management and COVID-19

August 11, 2020  | By mendservices

Project management, like so many other tasks, has been turned on its head since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The residential and commercial construction industries have been fortunate to be considered essential during these difficult times, but that continued work during these evolving times has created unique challenges that both contractor and client must consider.

Constantly evolving state and local stipulations and requirements have created the need to pivot and adapt to regulations and specific site needs on a continual basis. It’s imperative that both contractor and client set realistic expectations around the health and safety of all involved at the onset of the project. Once the project is underway, it’s the contractor’s responsibility to ensure work areas are kept clean and sanitary. The contractor must ensure that employees, subcontractors and vendors understand and comply with state and local requirements for social distancing, PPE and project headcount. Proper sanitizing of tools, equipment and workspaces must also be taken into consideration.

On the other side of the equation, the responsibility of the client centers around communicating specific needs and requirements at the front end of the project. If a client would prefer additional steps to be taken or if certain considerations must be met to account for individuals in the home or business who may be more susceptible, those expectations need to be communicated before the project begins so that the contractor can take necessary steps from a logistics, coordination and budget standpoint to achieve those standards.

Ultimately, as with so many other businesses, clear communication is the key to successful project management!

One unexpected benefit of this “new normal” is the ability to leverage new technology and communication methods. Many architects and builders have found that their attention to detail and productivity during site management has actually increased. This can be attributed to the need for better organization and documentation that is necessary when meetings must be conducted virtually or over the phone. Instead of showing up to a weekly site meeting with pen in hand or scribbling notes on the framing of an addition, client, architect and contractor must find new methods to carefully organize and convey their thoughts and concerns without a physical presence on site. Having clear and concise notes, drawings and ideas helps to eliminate confusion and streamline processes which ultimately produce a more efficient and more accurate project.

Ultimately, as with so many other businesses, clear communication is the key to successful project management! As we all continue to understand what this the future holds, we’re working hard to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy, and we’re all learning about the effects that these new protocols and procedures have on the development of a project including its timeline and budget.