8 Simple Tips to Get Back to Basics and Save Money as a Construction Manager

No matter how well you planned, there are always unexpected events that can cause affect project completion and cause overruns. While some variables are out of your control (weather), it’s essential for to keep looking for ways to increase efficiency and save money. Effective project management can mean the difference between making a decent profit and barely breaking even.

As industry costs and fees increase, these easy to implement tips can help you get an edge without compromising quality.


Miscommunication can lead to significant schedule slips and cost overruns. Remember, nothing beats old-fashioned timely communication, such as being in person at job-site and present for meetings, to allow for better and more natural communications.

No matter how busy and hectic the site is, it’s important to keep an open mind and actively listen during communication. To get the most useful information from your team, articulate questions, concerns, and solutions and provide detailed answers to help speed up the process, reduce mistakes and get your construction team the information they need.

Have a Voice in Planning

As the manager, it’s your project and you need to be involved in every step, including planning. Sitting in on the planning from the beginning is key to understanding the fine details of the project, and allows you a chance to provide feedback of what can and can’t be done. Being an active participant and involved at every stage of planning is not only one of the easiest ways to save money, but one of the best way to eliminate cost overruns, delays and rework.

Adapt Technology

These days, there’s an app for everything, including most phases of construction projects. The good news is they are getting easier to use, increasing adoption from teams, and offer a noticeable ROI. From bidding, to schedules, to tracking equipment, there is technology to streamline processes to make them more efficient and traceable. You can also use technology to trim administrative work through automated workflows and alerts, as well as track site activities and time management procedures. And construction project management software, like SKYSITE, can be used to manage and share your construction documents to boost productivity levels and reduce rework.

It may sound cliche, but today is all about “doing more with less.” And the easiest way to stay organized and simplify processes is with technology.

Incorporate Prefabricated Pieces

If your project is simple or includes a lot of repetition, prefabricated pieces may be a fit for your build. By having these building elements built in a factory and then transported to your site, you can achieve multiple of savings and benefits:

  • Decreases costs of purchasing materials and building onsite
  • Cuts the delivery time of a project
  • Requires fewer laborers to do the job
  • Increases quality

And, don’t think of prefab is just for structures, you can find pre-wired light fixtures, bathrooms and even exterior walls.

Buy your Own Material

You’ve heard the saying “eliminate the middle man.” That’s exactly what you do when you buy your own material instead of having a contractor to buy parts. By sourcing the materials, you can often find less expensive options and eliminate the markup that contractors include. This is a good exercise to monitor and keep costs under control. And, it gives you the flexibility to make changes in one area if another part of the project is going over budget.

Of course, this also depends on your bandwidth and expertise. Sometimes the contractor will have a better idea or connection on what to parts purchase.

Don’t Get Stuck in the Past

It’s easy to get comfortable with what you know, but that many not always be the most cost effective solution. Outdated processes and materials can often be more expensive than newer solutions. It’s important to keep up-to-date on new building materials, techniques and technology. Remember to get out of your comfort zone and find the solution that best fits your project, not “the usual.”

Pay Attention to Daily Metrics

Pay attention to your daily productivity metrics such as materials, daily progress and worker stats. By keeping on top of the numbers you can identify inefficiencies sooner and troubleshoot solutions. Does everyone have the right tool? Is weather impacting the schedule? Are their enough workers to meet deadlines? By spotting issues and inefficiencies in your system early, you can make corrections, keep your project moving and save money.

Focus on People

Having a productive staff will keep your project moving. But neglecting these relationships and not addressing workplace conditions can lead to reduced morale, which negatively impacts productivity. Specifically, when your crew is not producing the results you planned for and expect, you risk going over budget and not completing the project on time.

What impacts productivity:

  • Your crew is forced to work overtime, resulting in fatigue and less work being completed
  • There are too many or not enough workers for a particular job
  • The workspace is hazardous
  • Weather becomes an issue
  • There is a lack of tools and equipment

By paying attention and having an open line of communication you can catch issues early on, make corrections and prevent worker moral from impacting productivity. This is especially important in areas where the labor pool is tight.