Reducing Risk and Improving Change Management guide, Property tips online, Building design advice

Reducing Risk and Improving Change Management In The Construction Sector

17 Jun 2021

Anywhere you talk about reducing risk, you can’t get away from one fact. Being prepared for things that could go wrong – in advance – will always help when it comes to mitigating risk. You can never remove all risks, especially within the construction sector. However, managing each project, and preparing your workforce, in a way that embraces change rather than resists it is vital.

As with all major projects, there are many stages in a construction project. From planning, bidding, contracting, designing and engineering all before the build and delivery of a project so having proper systems and procedures in place is critical.  If you want to mitigate risks, and deliver on time and budget it is going to take detailed planning and monitoring.

You need everyone on board, and that comes down to how you manage change and set teams up for success. Now we know construction plans tend to be optimistic, and the industry is prone to delays, changes and the odd disaster. But, we also know that many issues are preventable or at least able to be better controlled. Employees need stability while completing projects, but that doesn’t mean they can’t deal with change or risk, just that they need support through effective change management processes.

Reducing Risk and Improving Change Management

Risks of change for construction projects

Construction projects still face risks every time there is a change. This can be true even with an appropriate level of planning and expertise that goes with every project to see it through to the end. This could include changes to the size or scope of a project, workforce turnover or weather disruption. Whatever the change, it’s vital for businesses to ensure they have the means for effective change management and project management.

How can we prepare for emergent change?

You cannot plan for every change that comes with every new project. However, you can certainly have prepared guidance and tools for individuals within your organisation to equip them to support change in a positive way. Organisations that actively support employees to accept and adjust to change fair far better. It is too late at the point of change to expect it all to happen without issue. However, building processes in advance will reduce apathy, reluctance, fear and resistance. This gives the project a better chance of success and is more likely to result in the change being embedded and accepted.  Preparing employees to actively participate in a way that is adopted through general working practices, not just crisis management, will produce better results.

Effective leadership

The wrong leader will always put a project at risk. Leaders need to understand that building a process before it is needed is always the best solution. Heading as much off at the feasibility stage as possible and having a framework in place to manage unforeseen events is a better strategy than winging it every time it happens. You know in the construction industry delays, disruptions and nightmares are almost inevitable/ Therefore, understanding the process for change is your best chance of getting through unscathed. When managing critical change with little notice it’s important not to panic or throw out existing processes. Instead, by adapting existing processes that known to be effective, you’ll have the building blocks for unplanned or emergency changes.

Assess Change Leaders

Having suitably trained project managers will make the process run more smoothly.  Agile project management courses mean companies can be sure they’re equipped with key personal with the skills required. This includes the skills to act calmly, effectively and thoroughly throughout a change, no matter how urgent. Construction businesses must be able to develop attributes in key personnel. This must be done to lead the change throughout the workforce and ensure that disruptions and risk are kept to a minimum. Leaders who adopt a repeatable methodology to keep ahead where the pace of change continues to accelerate will react better, find solutions through teamwork and action them, even in the toughest times.

Leaders who recognise where and when changes are required are vital for project success. They should also understand how to consider time, cost, scope and risk, encouraging collaboration throughout the team to implement solutions. This is what keeps businesses moving forward no matter the hiccups on the way.

Managing people

The best chance of success relies on the team being on board each time. A team conditioned to cope with the demands of change before it is needed are crucial to success. However, it is still essential that leaders understand the importance of regular, reliable and clear communication. This will help the change path, no matter how unexpected or big the change that the project faces.

You may find the services of a change management consultant beneficial to direct the traffic and lay foundations for change, especially in the early days. People are the most likely cause of changes going off track. After all, they can be scared of the effect on them. And, if they are not fully informed, this can lad to a loss of productivity.

This can come just at the time businesses need the workforces to adapt without dropping productivity. It can all go quickly wrong if precautions have not been taken.  Why wait or take that risk when it can be overcome by ensuring that everyone is supported and has everything they need to cope and continue as things change around them or become expected of them. Planning and being prepared will reduce the risks you expose people to in the first place. In addition, they will ensure the real roadblocks don’t hold you up longer than necessary.

Getting Help

If you do not feel that your existing change management techniques are where they need to be, you can change them with the support of a consultant and bring a suitable candidate in the role as you move forward. The role of a change manager in the change process helps keep everyone on track.

The effort of managing change is bringing a huge burden onto project managers. However, changes are the major cause of delays, cost overruns or even failure. Therefore, so preparing yourself and your team for emergent change can reduce the risks, keep people on track and make for a happy workforce, and a successful project.

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