The Practical Differences Between Managing Small and Larger Projects

By Daniel Aquino
April 11, 2017

The management of any construction project, regardless of the size, requires rigorous planning by experienced people. As we’ve previously discussed, foresight is the key to success at every stage of your build, ensuring you’re able to adhere to your timeline and budget. Attention to detail, and a thorough understanding of each and every aspect of the construction process, are invaluable, and can prevent anything from poor subcontractor performance to late delivery.

However, certain issues begin to arise when managing larger projects that deserve special attention. So, what changes as we move up the scale from small to large projects?

With greater project size comes greater complexity, requiring a larger team. Larger projects call for a larger on-site presence, with management teams that include a site superintendent, assistant site superintendent, project manager, assistant project managers, project coordinator, and health and safety reps. Regardless of scale, we always make sure our leadership is personally involved to some extent on each project.

Several years ago, during a mid-winter build and time was of the essence, CEO Mario Aquino personally cleaned the snow of the rebar in order to ensure that the formed slab was poured that day. The fact that the company owner was clearing snow helped motivate everyone on site, even those not part of this work, to join in and ensure the work was completed.

“Attention to detail and a thorough understanding of each and every aspect of the construction process can prevent anything from poor subcontractor performance to late delivery.”

Daniel Aquino, President, Aquicon Construction

To date those values still ring true. I am personally involved in each and every project, to ensure that our clients are receiving the dedication and care they have come to expect from Aquicon. Whether it is meetings with our team or bi-weekly one-on-one sit-downs with our clients to ensure all is in order, these values will never change.

The consequences of missed deadlines are also more serious on a larger-scale project. Delays at one stage of a build inevitably delay all subsequent stages, creating a costly domino effect. That’s why a small issue can quickly spiral into a much larger problem on big builds, creating numerous risks and repercussions. The more expensive the build, the more costly those delays become and the harder it is for the project as a whole to recover. One example from the very early days of Aquicon stands out; the Construction Team neglected to coordinate the mechanical services with the layout of the structure, and during installation it became clear that the availability of space would not allow for the installation of various services. A major rework and redesign of the mechanical systems was required to overcome this, and additional labour costs were incurred to ensure that the scheduled date was ultimately met.

Meticulous planning is essential to a successful outcome. From the smallest to the largest of builds, foresight and attention to detail make the difference between a smooth process and a potential money sink. Additional people brought on to large-scale projects are there to provide support to the existing team, scaling up without changing its fundamental structure. That means a larger team, but the fundamentals of building are always the same.

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