A beginner’s step-by-step guide to managing a construction project.

If you are a business owner, construction might not be your thing. However, if you need to build a new shop, factory, or facility, you will have to learn about it. Most business owners, if they aren’t involved in construction in the first place, don’t know much about it, because they don’t need to. However, if you want to get your project done on budget, on time, and up to your expectations, then you should at least know the basics.

 Below, we’ve compiled a sort of road map on how to handle a construction project from having an initial idea to closure. We’ve broken the list of things to do down into simple, easy-to-follow steps. Each step is designed with the idea being that someone with no construction experience can understand the basics of managing a project.




The first part of any new construction is the idea. Normally, construction contractors don’t have much to say here, it’s just the business owner comping up with the idea of what he/she wants. This is where the basics of the new project come in to play. This stage can take anywhere from a few days to months, depending on how the business owner consults with others and what the deadlines are. It’s best to specify what the end goals of this project will be.

  • How large will the construction need to be?
  • What is the definite goal of the new building to be built? (What does the business do?)
  • Location.
  • How many workers will there be? What amount of clients are expected? What is the volume of business to be done? Etc.
  • If this business is run by an individual, it is easy to plan a construction. If it is run by a board or has many interests, a stakeholder meeting may be necessary. The meeting can determine a project’s viability, scope, and costs.


Write down a basic plan


Writing down a definitive plan for how the project will commence and continue is important. It’s not 100% accurate, but it gives you the basic ideas of when certain project goals will be met. This plan, or road map, helps you keep track of the progress of your project. Think of it as the skeleton of the true build schedule that can be built later.


Time to design


The design team, usually led by one or more architects/engineers will sit down with the business owner and figure out to to reach their goals and what it will cost in terms of money and time. They will also need to ensure that the newly-built building will be up to code/specs. 

During this time, the architect proposes different ideas to the business owner. Once they reach something that satisfies everyone’s expectations in terms of cost, time, function, and any other specifications, an agreement is made. 

  • The feasibility of the building is looked at, including each of its functions.
  • A schematic design sketch is proposed. It includes:
    • The precise space the building will take up.
    • The building’s size, color, materials required, and much more.
    • The sketch will also be used to determine the equipment required in construction.
    • Commercial contractors will use the design sketch to figure out what they will need to have/do in order to complete the construction.

When everything is agreed on, and contracts are drawn up, contractors will bid on the project.


Pre-construction and defining roles


Once a bid has been accepted, it’s time to get ready to build. Once a contractor is accepted and starts work, the construction site is prepared. Several people will need to prepare the site before the contractor begins work. There will be a health and safety manager, superintendent, field engineer, project manager, and a contract manager. They will need to inspect the site, make sure it is ready for building, and collect information.

This project team will often share info found with the local government to ensure legality, and determine the impact of the building.

An in-depth pre-construction management plan can be found here.




The project team will begin working on getting labor, materials, equipment, and anything else needed for the project. This is often done in-tandem with a contractor. Large contracting companies are usually able to supply their own work force, materials, and equipment. In the case that they don’t have necessary stuff on-hand, they can subcontract out various jobs. The procurement stage can be relatively simple, or incredibly complex depending on how large the job is. 




Once all the paperwork is finalized, certifications are complete, the site is inspected, and the workforce and materials are ready, it’s time to build. Well, after just a few more things are decided. 

A meeting will determine how the worksite is accessed, quality control, materials storage, and working hours. The working rules may vary for subcontractors vs general contractors. This part is incredibly hard to plan out right, so the ultimate goal is to get everything ready to roll out smoothly. 

Once everything mentioned in this section, and those above have been settled, it’s time for the shovels to hit the dirt.


Closing the project


Once construction is complete, you’re done right? Not exactly. Make sure to keep in contact with your contractor in case last-minute work need to be completed after the construction is done. Building inspections may necessitate sudden changes. The project team will then have to inform the client on use of the new building. For office and general commercial spaces, this is nothing difficult. For more technical constructions, like factories, some training is necessary. When the owner has examined the building and feels that it is ready, a post project review is made and the project is ready for closure.


Want to make managing your construction project easier?


Reliable Commercial is an experienced, large construction team that can help you get your project done right. We can guide you through the process, from design to completion, as we have many of our clients in the past. If you are hung-up on one of the stages of your project, contact us today, and we can get things moving again.