Published on April 24th, 2022 | by Ali Dino


5 Tips For Optimizing Large Construction Projects

Budget overruns and project delays are some of the greatest challenges of large-scale construction projects. According to a McKinsey research report, as many as 98% of megaprojects incur a cost or budget overrun of 30%.

Boston Big Dig, for instance, cost about $22 billion, ten times more than the budgeted cost of $2.6 billion. The project also dragged on for nine years, from 1998 (its scheduled completion date) to 2007 (when it was eventually completed).

Project delays and cost overruns are caused by many reasons, some of which are administration errors and schedule and budgeting problems. Schedule and budgeting problems can be better managed using construction simulation software like ALICE. 

This software, the world’s first construction optioneering solution, helps tackle project delays and cut down costs by resequencing activities in your construction schedule to provide the sequence that best combines available resources. It also helps to simulate multiple construction project outcomes in minutes, so you can plan efficiently and mitigate any potential risks and delays.

We have provided some tips to help solve these challenges and make your construction project fast, efficient, and profitable. But before then, let’s define optimization in construction and common obstacles in construction management.

What is Optimization in Construction?

Optimization in construction is defined as the systematic effort or the lineup of processes involved in ensuring that a project is finished on time, and within budget. Focus is typically placed on developing an optimal construction project schedule for project optimization in construction.

Construction optimization involves plan evaluation, corrective actions, and progress monitoring by the project manager or contractor.

Common Challenges in Construction 

1. Poor Communication

Poor communication among those working on the project may lead to a skewed understanding of project designs, mismanagement of materials, and delay in meeting milestones.

2. Undefined Milestones

Not defining milestones and deadlines for these milestones from the get-go may make achieving project goals and objectives a little difficult. Breaking projects into milestones makes large, complex construction projects more straightforward.

3. Setting Unrealistic Budgets

Since some clients prefer to award contracts to contractors with the lowest cost estimate in their quote, it’s common to see many contractors setting unrealistic budgets. It then becomes a problem in the future to finish the project based on their cost estimate.

4. Failure to Embrace New Technology

New technology is changing the construction industry in the U.S. and elsewhere. With these tools, contractors can tackle several challenges now analogous to construction. Failure to explore the power of these tools can limit one’s options.

How to Optimize Large Construction Projects

1. Finetune Your Planning Process

Many problems encountered during the execution of a construction project could have been prevented if the contractors and managers had been a little more careful and pragmatic in the planning stage.

Develop a list of the activities that will be carried out on the project site. Then using project management tools, identify the sequence of activities that will give you the least turnaround time. For instance, in a building project, should excavation be done simultaneously with getting material supplies or not? 

Highlight the goals of each phase of the project, list out possible ways to meet these goals, and figure out which option from the list of alternatives is the best means to an end in terms of cost and turnaround time. 

The planning phase is also the time to work out logistics relating to labor, transportation of materials, hiring of equipment, and subcontracting parts of the work before construction begins. Talking to other key stakeholders should help.

2. Use a Good Construction Software Solution

No matter how good a project team is, it’s nearly impossible to manage large construction projects with basic and manual tools successfully. A good construction software solution is key for successful project planning and execution.

Construction software solutions can help with finetuning your planning process. Some of them are AI-based and can help you assess the workability of your construction schedule, model all major contingencies, and optimize the model to reduce possible risks.

In addition to construction scheduling and optimization, other types of construction management software can be used to help with document management, bid management, billing, and invoicing.

3. Improve Communication With Relevant Stakeholders

Good communication is one must-have for project managers and contractors involved in large construction projects. This communication isn’t limited to the construction phase alone. Contractors are encouraged to communicate effectively with their team members, the client’s representative, and other key stakeholders as early as the planning stage.

  • Schedule meetings with subcontractors and other key stakeholders from time to time to update them about changes in the project design, schedule, and unforeseen challenges that might pop up.
  • Welcome opinions and suggestions from other members of the team, so they know their inputs count
  • Communicate with each member of the team their respective roles and responsibilities as a part of the project.
  • Update workers on deadlines for each milestone and the need to work in accordance with the schedule.

4. Consider Modular Construction

Modular construction, also known as prefabricated construction, is a cost-effective construction option. It involves fabricating standardized components of a structure in a factory and then coupling them on site. It can be used for concrete and steel structures and look just like traditionally built buildings upon assembly.

Contractors can cut down costs and time on large-scale construction projects with modular construction. Installing the prefabricated components takes far less time than building a structure the more conventional way.

5. Hire Reputable Subcontractors

Getting a good team can help simplify the job. A good team comprises subcontractors as well as internal team members with experience dealing with similar projects. Through their experience, they can assist with resolving problems when they arise with ingenious and innovative solutions. 

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