Staying on top of construction resource management is an absolute must. With today’s increasingly complex projects and tighter-than-ever timelines you simply can’t afford to misallocate the resources you have at your disposal.
There’s also the issue of labor shortages in construction. Research by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk revealed that 80% of contractors are having difficulties finding qualified workers. As the industry continues to grapple with workforce challenges, you need to be smart about how you handle and assign labor resources.
This article will cover all that and more.
We’ll dive into the ins and outs of construction resource management, plus discuss best practices and tools that can help you ensure that all your resources are allocated effectively and are put to good use.
Let’s get started.
Construction resource management is the practice of planning and managing the use of construction resources, to ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget.
Typically done by construction managers or project managers, construction resource management involves many tasks, including the following.
The goal of construction resource management is to maximize the utilization of resources and reduce waste, ultimately meeting the project’s objectives in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
Workforce planning — which is a key component of construction resource management — involves monitoring and allocating team members across projects.
Effective workforce planning entails monitoring schedules, team bandwidth, and jobsite capacities. Managers need to balance all these components to ensure that each project is well-staffed and that team members aren't over- or under-allocated. It also involves reviewing the company's workforce resources and forecasting workforce needs, so the firm can recruit accordingly.
Workforce planning is critical, particularly amidst issues like labor shortages. When you have limited workforce available, it’s even more important to keep a tight handle on your workforce.
There’s also the matter of labor logistics. The world is starting to open back up and everyone is eager to put the pandemic behind us, but some of the issues brought about by COVID-19 will linger well into 2021.
Some jobsites may continue to have limited capacity, so it’s essential to map out how teams are distributed in the field. Being mindful of capacity limits will keep construction sites safe and ultimately prevent any pandemic or health-related issues and delays.
Now that you know the fundamentals of construction resource management, let’s discuss the benefits that you’ll gain from the practice.
When you don’t have a handle on how much resources you need for your projects, you may end up allocating either too much or little to certain activities. This leads to double-work, wasted time, and delays — all of which add more costs to the project. For instance, the mismanagement of equipment or materials can result in excess spend that can be better used elsewhere.
Proper construction resource management can prevent such issues from happening. When you’re closely tracking the use of resources and reallocating them based on the project’s needs, you can ensure that time and money are always well-spent.
By implementing construction resource management, you can see to it that team members are assigned to the right place and they have what they need (i.e., equipment, materials, and supplies) to do their jobs well.
As such, teams are able to be more productive. There’s less downtime or waiting around, plus they can do their best work because they have the necessary resources at the right time.
Construction resource management gives you better visibility into your resources. The practice involves closely monitoring resource utilization, so you always know what you have at any given time.
This, in turn, helps you make well-informed decisions on how to use and allocate construction resources.
It’s not uncommon for projects to run into sudden changes. If you’re not prepared, you may end up with inadequate resources to cover unexpected needs.
You can avoid these situations by implementing proper construction resource management. When you constantly stay on top of how your budget, workforce, equipment, and materials are used, it’s much easier to re-evaluate and reallocate resources to cope with unforeseen project changes.
One of the first steps to effective construction resource management is mapping out a plan for how resources will be allocated and used. While the specifics of this process will vary depending on your teams and projects, here are some general steps and considerations to keep in mind when crafting your construction resource management plan.
Determine the project timeline and all activities associated with it. Iron out all the necessary details involved in the project. Itemize the tasks and activities that need to be completed and specify the deadlines for each milestone.
Determine the resources you need and the right allocations. Use the information from the previous step to figure out the right resource allocations for the project. At this stage, you’ll need to calculate the amount of resources required, assign them to the appropriate activities and project phases, and indicate when you’ll need them.
One thing you could do at this stage is to tap into your experience as well industry standards and previous project data to figure out the best allocations.
Secure the necessary approvals. The next step is to get approval for the resources that you're planning to use. Coordinate with the necessary parties and decision makers and ensure that you have the authorization to use the resources at the appropriate time. Be sure to complete this step before the project kicks off.
Optimize and retool your plan when necessary. Your construction resource plan shouldn’t be set in stone. Keep an eye on it, even when the project is underway and don’t be afraid to pivot or launch a plan B if unforeseen issues arise.
Construction resource management shouldn’t be done manually. Equip yourself and your team with construction technologies that streamline the process of planning and allocating resources.
Consider the following.
BIM 360 Plan offers robust capabilities to help you view and monitor supply chain and jobsite resources. The software's customizable project views enable you to see work plans in List, Ganntt, or Swimplane view, so whether you’re looking for an itemized list of resources and activities or prefer to get a high level view of the project, you can do so easily with BIM 360 Plan.
Bridgit is a leading workforce intelligence solution for construction pros. An excellent tool for planning and allocating workforce resources, Bridgit makes it easy to view which project roles are unfilled, so you can plan accordingly. It also has detailed reporting that offers insights into workforce utilization and project pipelines, enabling you to plan for your workforce needs.
Construction sites have many moving parts—including workers, equipment, and other materials—that need monitoring. However, the dynamic and fast-paced nature of jobsites make it difficult to do so. Enter Triax's IoT solution designed for rugged working environments, Spot-r Mesh provides real-time visibility into all the resources you have on site. It’s low power requirements and easily deployable hardware give you actionable insights into your workforce and equipment on the construction site, making it simple to know resource location, utilization, and more.
Need detailed insights into workforce activities? Kwant.ai has you covered. The solution uses AI and IoT to monitor worker location and activities, giving you powerful intel for planning and allocating workforce. With Kwant.ai, you can easily see how workers are spending their time, which then helps you identify inefficiencies or areas that need to be optimized.
SkillSmart's compliance reporting and tracking software has excellent data and analytics tools to help you plan and manage project resources. SkillSmart InSight not only lets you track labor and compliance, it also provides real-time reports that cover payroll, contractor wage rates, and supplier tracking, among others.
Another useful tool for labor allocation, LaborChart has several features for managing your construction workforce. One particularly helpful tool is the software's Labor Allocation feature, which gives you a visual representation of your labor pool based on projects, trades, regions, and more.
You can’t complete projects without the right workers, equipment, and facilities, which is why it’s critical to plan and allocate your resources effectively. So, take the time to understand each project’s needs then figure out the right resource allocation. To make things easier, use technology to automate various tasks and generate the necessary reports.
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