A project timeline can be relatively short in some cases, or it may stretch over many months or even years. Large projects can face multiple revisions as architect, engineer, builder and clients work together to move from planning stages through to project launch, actual building phase and final inspections. Owners and clients who don't fully understand the process can be frustrated by what seems like redundancy and unnecessary delay. But a project manager who pays attention to details along the way and follows a well-defined schedule is more likely to lead a project to a timely and successful completion. There are, essentially, five phases of construction.
Project conception and initiation.
Every project begins with an idea. Translating that initial idea into a concrete plan typically requires input from a variety of sources, including owners, financial advisers, lenders, local council and a host of other experts. It is important to take the time to fully assess the concept by weighing up the benefits and considering any shortcomings or downsides. Once all the decision makers agree on a direction the project should be turned over to the team that will move the project forward. Ideally, that team includes designers, construction professionals, engineers, as well as financial representatives who act as partners to move the project from idea to reality.
Project definition and planning.
This is the stage during which budget planning is of prime importance, when the final designs are approved and when initial bidding usually takes place. It can also be the most time consuming phase in overall timeline. It helps to remember, however, that changes made during this stage are much easier and infinitely more cost effective than changes made once construction has commenced. A well written plan outlines project specific objectives and financial requirements. It can also identify possible obstacles allowing for solution ideas to achieve the desired final outcome.
Project launch or execution.
The most exciting time at any building site is the first day of actual construction, whether it's the construction of a totally new building or an addition. Sometimes a ceremonial groundbreaking precedes the start of actual works at a building site, but the work truly begins when the first dirt is moved.
It's much the same for an interior fitout, a minor renovation or a simple restaurant tenant improvement project. Following any necessary demolition, the project effectively commences when materials are delivered and a crew arrives on site.
Project performance and control.
This is the phase that requires daily supervision and the expertise of a project supervisor or construction manager who will track progress, assure that all works conform to approved plans and specifications and that construction is completed on schedule and within budget.
Scheduling is vital to assure that subcontractors are on site when needed, that materials are ordered and delivered on a timely basis, and that inspections are called for and carried out as necessary. Ongoing adjustments to the schedule are sometimes needed, and clients should expect to be kept informed on a regular basis.
Depending on the scope of the construction project and the specific timeline, the project close may be months or even years after the project launch. But no matter what the duration, the construction manager will have orchestrated the many "players" on the scene to assure a successful outcome.
Once final inspections are made and approvals are in hand, the project must be approved by the client. A construction project is deemed to be complete at that point; payment of any contract balance is made and the final conveyance of the space or property is made to the client.
A "life cycle" of a construction project should not be a mystery to anyone. When all parties are aware of the multiple steps and the different professionals and trades who must work together, there is an orderly progression from one phase to the next. The goal is to deliver a well built project, completed on time and within budget resulting in a completely satisfied customer.