Projects are transcending barriers. Be it size, shape, the engineering challenge, or just the very scale of a project, modern infrastructure, in its gallant effort to cater to growing demand, is becoming increasingly daring.
Factor that with the statistic that companies risk $135 million for every $1 billion spent on a project, and the fact that $75 million of that $135 million (56 percent) is put at risk by ineffective communications, it becomes crystal clear that seamless communication via project reports during the development of a project is paramount to completing a project within the laid out budget and time parameters.
Challenges at Project Sites
Cost overruns and delays are amongst the most significant problems faced by construction sites. A delay in reaching goals topples a domino of adverse effects that could eventually derail a project entirely. Apart from the obvious increased costs, developers and managers could face legal implications that would damage not only their reputations but the firm’s credibility too.
Numerous factors lead to project delays and cost overruns. Some of the most prominent being a shortage of funds, equipment failure, material procurement problems, logistical problems, and so and so forth, however, the most damaging of these is a lack of proper communication. No matter how daunting the problem, by establishing an appropriate channel of communication, the situation can be salvaged.
Communication is, however, an art. Different stakeholders – be it financiers or owners – require different information at various stages. Project managers are generally at a loss here. Formal education a side, project managers are typically unequipped to handle communicating progress at programme meetings strategically. Enter project reports!
Role of Project Reports
Reports are nothing but a set of tools employed to paint a picture. Paths to success and sometimes, paths to salvage a situation can only be carved out by planning ahead. This is only achievable through an understanding of activities that transpire at the ground-level of project sites. Creating these reports, therefore, require exercising maximum attention to detail.
A diverse set of tools aimed at gathering information, integrating various information and disseminating these results have to be employed to be able to attain the right picture. A report, therefore, crunches the complexity, unorganised chaos of a project into a simple, streamlined information flow, which allows for planning and at times, fire-fighting.
Creating a reliable report is therefore extremely important. To be able to give a precious understanding of activities, a report must be divided into multiple stages that accounts for hourly and daily activities. Creating such reports manually would entail trial and error that could lead to avoidable situations. There are, however, numerous tools available today that provides such services, customisable to projects. These tools individually work towards establishing a proper flow of information to stakeholders helping them not only to stay apprised of the situation but also to enjoy a psychological comfort with the active developer.
Benefits of Project Reports
Perhaps an essential benefit of employing a project reporting tools is that project managers are allowed to ply their trade without the distractions of looming programme meetings. By setting up an efficient reporting system at the beginning of a project, project managers can effectively monitor a project and equip themselves with tools to stay in tune with the requirements of the customers.
Project reports also allow managers to be able to identify risks and take necessary steps to address them. Risk management is an integral component of a construction project as it quantifies risks a project is exposed to. According to an article on ‘Risk Management in Construction Projects’, risks arise from different sources and is inherent to the construction industry. By adopting risk management, potential savings can be realised.
A sound and structured project reporting system also allows for managing costs involved in the construction process. Controlling the cost of construction would ultimately define the degree of success or failure of a project. Since costs of a project are influenced by numerous factors such as material quality, design changes, ground conditions, decision making and so on, it becomes imperative that a structured reporting system is in place to be able to make a sound judgement.
A proper reporting system is also essential for adopting leaner construction practices. Architecture, Engineering and Construction are radically evolving fields spurned on by the growth in demand. To keep pace, projects require injection of modern technology and practices – sometimes on the go. This requires a clear understanding of existing methodology and a calculated approach to seamlessly progress. Several events are now taking place, across the world, emphasising the importance adopting reporting systems to successfully manage projects. One such event taking place in the near future is IGLC 2018.
Importance of reports
As projects become increasingly demanding, the importance of project reports also increases. Project reports are the tools with which project manager can effectively communicate the challenges encountered or may encounter at a site. It gives customers and project head the means to make effective, timely decisions that could ultimately make the difference between a project being completed within predefined parameters or completed by incurring additional costs overruns and time delays or even worse, decommissioned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nigel is an editor at the Masterbuilder.