Jan 5

Planning a Successful Construction Project


Set Goals

Even if you have a clear vision for your project, all construction starts by defining your project goals. Creating your project with a clear purpose will close the gap between your expectations and what you wish to achieve.

As you set goals for your project, working in a team to identify a list of needs and eliminate ambiguity is essential. Working on team goals can also aid in keeping all parties — from project managers to contractors — accountable for their tasks.

When setting goals, you have two strategies you can use to aid in executing the project. The first are SMART goals, which feature the following:

  • Specific: Set specific project goals, such as deadlines for crucial milestones.
  • Measurable: Agree as a team on how you will measure success. For example, did you succeed if you started laying concrete by a specific date or should it be completely set by the date?
  • Attainable: You need to have a plan in place for how you will reach each milestone. For example, if your project relies on a specific material that may not be available, you need to make adjustments.
  • Realistic: Your goals must be within your and your team’s abilities. Placing an achievable deadline on specific tasks, like electrical work, will set you and your team up for success.
  • Timely: Create a specific time frame in which you can realistically expect to complete your goals.

The second goal-setting strategy is CLEAR, which offers some variations:

  • Collaborative: Before starting the project, hold a meeting to establish expectations and identify possible obstacles.
  • Limited: Place limits on your goals in terms of the scope and time frame to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  • Emotional: Ensure your goals will create an emotional response in your employees.
  • Appreciable: Break up larger goals into smaller tasks to prevent overwhelming your co-workers.
  • Refinable: Ensure your plan is flexible, as you can never predict what will happen as your team completes construction.

Set a Budget

Every construction project has stakeholders who provide limited funds in the hopes that the project will be profitable. Starting any project without a budget is a guaranteed way to overspend, making a budget baseline essential for determining expenses.

A budget and a construction project plan work together to keep your project on track. The more unaccounted expenses you generate, the longer it will take to complete your project. Establishing a budget baseline makes it easier to account for as many construction costs as possible and ensures your team stays on schedule. Consider including the following items in your construction budget:

  • Direct costs: This includes elements such as heavy equipment, labor and materials.
  • General conditions: These are indirect costs like preconstruction and project operation.
  • Profit and overhead: Profit is the difference between what you earn and what you spend, while overhead is the cost of running the business.
  • Property: The property cost will depend on your project’s location and size and includes fees such as lot price and taxes.
  • Professional fees and services: Costs such as professional consulting, testing, and accounting contribute to your professional fees and services.
  • Materials: Material costs are a large portion of your construction budget and include site preparation and building structure.
  • Labor: Your labor costs include fees for equipment operators, subcontractors, and other human resources.
  • Equipment and tools: The material and labor costs will inform what you need in terms of equipment and tools. As you determine the overall cost be sure to include delivery, operating, fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Project management: These are the costs of software, office space, utilities, internet connection or other methodologies that help to organize and monitor a budget to limit overspending.
  • Insurance and bonds: All construction projects must carry insurance, and you may need to place a deposit or bond to show your company will follow through.
  • Utilities and taxes: Your utilities and taxes include costs associated with the building site, such as gas, sewer, water and electric, and local and state taxes.
  • Contingency: A contingency is extra funds for unforeseen events and can be up to 10% of your total budget.

Allocate Time

Once you create project goals and a budget, it’s time to make a timeline with significant milestones and key deliverables to ensure everyone involved stays on track. The timeline for construction should always rely mainly on the project scope and needs. If the timeline is too short, the contractor may cut corners, leading to construction defects. After creating a timeline, you can call a team meeting to create a project plan and construction schedule or assign a project manager to oversee your teams.

While sticking to a timeline is essential, you must also account for setbacks within and out of your control. For example, the weather may be more severe than expected or supply chains may experience a delay in getting you the necessary materials.



Just because you have completed your construction plan does not mean you can move on from the planning process. You should review your project plan to fine-tune it and ensure it meets all requirements. An accurate and complete design reduces the risk of conflict, unanticipated costs and delays.

However, your review process should not take place only inside your head. Call a final meeting with your team and discuss your plan. Having other team members provides additional sets of eyes to catch mistakes and inconsistencies and offers more chances for improvement.

Start Your Next Construction Project Plan

If you are a construction company looking to overcome financial downtime and losses for existing or upcoming projects, the most critical step is to set a clear goal that serves as the foundation for the remainder of your project. Failing to implement a comprehensive construction plan impacts more than your project’s finances and can lead to severe setbacks. Using preconstruction and construction phase planning and review is the first step toward achieving positive project outcomes.


Contact Gidel & Kocal to Enhance Your Planning Process

Need help with your construction project planning but don’t know where to start? At Gidel & Kocal, we offer professional preconstruction services for projects of any size. We are an industry leader in the San Francisco Bay Area and North and Central California, and we look forward to implementing high-quality, cost-saving solutions. Contact our expert team to request additional information and take the next step toward a successful construction project.

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