Construction is a complicated and often stressful industry. Thinking about all the stages of a construction project life cycle at once would overwhelm even the most organised and experienced project manager.e

It is much healthier for everyone involved to break up the construction project life cycle into more manageable chunks. The industry has settled on five key stages that make up a successful building project, and you’ve come to the right place if you want an overview of what they entail.

No two construction projects are the same. They come in all different shapes and sizes. However, even with different outcomes, there are tasks and processes universal to the construction project life cycle process.

So, what are the five stages of the construction project life cycle?

  1. Initiation

Number one in the stages of the construction project life cycle is initiation. The work ahead is evaluated during this stage, defining the project’s goals, objectives, and scope. Initiation requires building a team of experts for consultation and research of each aspect of the work.

Important questions to consider are:

  • Does the proposed solution achieve the project’s goals?
  • Is the project feasible?
  • Is the timeframe realistic?
  • What is the project’s cost?

Typically, a project manager is appointed at this stage of the construction project. The major deliverables, workgroups, and stakeholders are identified, and the client formally approves the project’s proposed work.

Evaluating the project requires a feasibility study and/or business case document. The project manager performs a feasibility study, which lays out the project’s goals, cost, and timeline and whether they have the resources to complete it. A business case document defines the reason behind a new project and the financial incentives it offers.

Based on this work, the team will collectively determine if the project is profitable and worth undertaking. If the project passes these evaluation tests, a Project Initiation Document (PID) is created, acting as a blueprint for the project.

Without a thorough initiation stage, projects proceed without clear goals, leading to haphazard work and a more unsatisfactory outcome. 

  1. Planning

At this point in the stages of the construction project life cycle, your team has to get into the nitty-gritty of planning. Addressing as many issues as possible during the planning stage will produce a smoother, more successful execution phase, saving you time and money. 

Spearheaded by the project manager, the planning phase produces a road map for the construction project life cycle. This contains:

  • Breakdown of tasks,
  • Dependencies,
  • Resources required,
  • Building strategy,
  • Scheduling,
  • Budget,
  • Quality control procedures,
  • Risk Mitigation plans,
  • And maintaining detailed documentation for all of the above.

Each of these needs to be planned out with input from all the project’s stakeholders, ensuring achievable goals. 

As you can see, there is a lot to do, and the project manager really earns their salary during the planning stage of the construction project. This is often the most time-consuming stage of the construction project life cycle, and studies have shown that planning is a critical success factor of projects.

Estimating the project budget alone is a considerable task. The project manager has to determine costs for all of the project’s labour, equipment, and material costs.

  1. Execution

Also referred to as the implementation stage, the initiation and planning of the project get put to good use, and the actual construction begins. The construction team utilises all of the documentation previously prepared, including schedules, procedures, risk mitigation practices, and more.

Communication is an essential component of the execution phase. It allows workers to seamlessly move onto the next task and ensure all the resources are in place. Effective communication strategies are needed from management to on-site teams and amongst different contractors. 

Typical tasks required during the execution phase include:

  • Assigning jobs to different teams
  • Project management plan execution
  • Status meetings
  • Schedule updates
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  1. Monitoring

This stage happens concurrently with execution to monitor and measure the progress of the project in real-time. No project goes exactly to plan. To be successful, adjustments must be made, and variations from the original plan recorded.

Monitoring means workers reporting their progress through documentation or team meetings. It requires daily supervision and a team of specialist managers to track work on-site. Status reports are typically produced to show the endpoint of each work package in terms of cost, time, and quality.

Project managers take in all of this information to control the direction of the project. Comparing progress to the plan, finding solutions and corrective measures when deviations occur. They also keep clients, and other key stakeholders informed as to the status of the project.

A method for simplifying project monitoring is defining key performance indicators (KPIs). These determine the level of variation from the project goals. Examples are:

  • Cost tracking – ensure the budget remains accurate
  • Project performance – monitoring any changes and unforeseen challenges
  • Quality control – ensuring deliverables are up to the standard required.
  • Objectives – is the work meeting the overall project goals.

Keeping track of KPIs maintain the projects progress and prevent project failure.

  1. Closing

In the five stages of the construction project life cycle, the last thing to do is close it out. The focus of this phase is to provide the project’s deliverables to the client. Once project leaders have completed final inspections, they present the work to the client for approval.

Other critical tasks during the closing of the project include:

  • Reviewing and handing over all project documentation to the client
  • Terminating contracts
  • Releasing project resources
  • Communicating the end of the project to all stakeholders.
  • Analysing the project to determine lessons for future work.

That last one is critical. Construction professionals are continually developing to improve from one project to the next. It allows every team member to document and evaluate their work. The knowledge gained throughout the project can be transferred back to the company to help future teams. 

During the closing stage, project managers produce a final project budget and report.

Summary

Using the five stages of the construction project life cycle process help produce more manageable and successful building projects.

Construction management software is an essential tool to take your project management to the next level in the modern world. This technology can be integrated into all five stages of the construction project life cycle, streamlining each process.

Whether it is a setting out comprehensive document control during initiation, budgeting tools for the planning stage, communication strategies during execution, simplified reporting methods during project monitoring, or analytic tools to learn from your work in closing. There are many ways construction management software can fit into the five stages of the construction project life cycle.

Get in touch with Wunderbuild today, learn about their construction management software solutions and see what the future of construction projects will be like.

It is currently offering a free trial, visit here to try WunderBuild for free.

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