How to Finish a Construction Project on Time, Within the Budget, and not Run Out of Resources

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Construction projects are often challenging due to multiple reasons. You deal with internal factors, such as workers availability or unpredicted project delays. It's solvable and doesn’t look like a big deal, especially if you have a well-trained team. Unfortunately, there are also external issues that you have no control over. For example, bad weather causing delays in work. Also, the assets you work with are of a different nature. Your management team works with both human and non-human resources, which may be tricky sometimes. You can leave all these factors unattended to prevent the project from going astray. Today, we'll consider how construction resource management can help you with that.

How to Not Run Out of Your Resources

Let's figure out the definitions first. Resource management usually refers to a set of practices whose central focus is estimating, planning, allocating, and monitoring resources on a site. All of them are required to ensure successful project completion. First, management is focused on maximizing resource utilization by ensuring that specialists, equipment, and materials are used efficiently. Second, it minimizes waste and helps deliver projects on time and within budget. Construction managers or project managers are responsible for ensuring these objectives are met. We can distinguish two critical activity groups based on the duration of the planning.

Operational management focuses on day-to-day activities. The main goal here is to ensure that ongoing processes won't be stuck on one lucky day. For this, you can rely on:

  • Estimating and securing resources. The primary task for management specialists in this case is to forecast future needs and timely acquire what’s required;
  • Resource allocation means assigning them to specific projects based on specific project requirements and skills that construction specialists have;
  • Resource reallocation. As the project evolves, requirements may change, or some unpredicted factors may appear. In this case, the project management team has to have enough agility to adapt to unforeseen challenges as quickly as possible;
  • Utilization monitoring. Everything that's used in construction projects needs to be monitored to achieve their optimal usage. It allows management specialists to detect underutilized or overworked resources and optimize their deployment if required.

Strategic management focuses on a long-term view. In this scenario, management ensures the company can cope with upcoming projects. It includes:

  • Capacity planning ensures the organization has enough potential to handle new projects based on available resources. The management team identifies potential bottlenecks and makes adjustments to optimize their utilization. A company might use capacity planning to determine how many workers and pieces of equipment they need to complete a project on time;
  • Capability planning. Here, the goal for the management team is to identify skills and knowledge that might become suitable for future projects. It helps identify whether or not the company has a qualified workforce for upcoming tasks. For example, a company can identify the need for employees to be trained on new machinery or software in order to remain competitive;
  • Scenario planning. In this case, the management team can model various project combinations to assess their impact on resource needs and overall business objectives.

Types of Resources Involved

One of the specifics of building project management is that you have to deal with a variety of different assets. Here, you need to be skillful enough to juggle employees, materials, and equipment and redistribute them across different sites following the changes in project requirements. Let's look at a breakdown of the critical types of resources:

  • Raw materials are the foundation of both separate buildings and construction projects as a whole. You can find them anywhere, from concrete to bricks, steel, and specialized complex elements. Choosing the suitable materials involves predicting the actual amount you will need and balancing their cost and quality;
  • Heavy equipment includes everything from steel giants like bulldozers and excavators to lifting titans like cranes. These assets play a crucial role in construction, making building blocks move and turning them into complete structures. The specific requirements regarding heavy equipment depending on project complexity, scale, and budget;
  • Labor. The workforce includes a wide range of skilled professionals. It can be estimators, architects, engineers, project supervisors, quantity surveyors, and workers;
  • Facilities. Construction sites require various dedicated facilities to ensure worker well-being and compliance with building regulations. For example, regulatory requirements may mandate the availability of sanitary facilities, changing rooms, secure storage, and break areas to promote a safe and productive work environment;
  • Financial resources are the funds required to acquire materials, rent equipment, compensate the workforce, and cover other expenses.

Major Challenges of Keeping Construction Projects on Track

As you can imagine, efficient resource management with so many various aspects involved requires due predictability. Unfortunately, the construction industry itself is full of countless challenges that can disrupt even the most meticulous planners. Let’s outline a few of them.

Project scope fluctuations can be caused by multiple reasons, from the client revisions of project requirements to weather conditions we mentioned earlier. It often leads to last-minute changes that no management team will be happy to face. Such disruptions require reallocating resources quickly to avoid project delays and downtime.

Supply chain woes can result in delays in raw material or equipment delivery, leading to a domino effect in which all subsequent tasks are also delayed. The availability of materials dictates when specific construction specialists can start performing on-site works. Therefore, a single delayed material can derail the entire plan.

Read Also: Six Challenges in Construction Business ERP Software Helps to Overcome

Global labor shortage. For example, in 2023, the construction industry in the US was short of 650,000 workers. That's why attracting new workers can become one of the significant challenges for management specialists in meeting project demands. Luckily, there are software solutions that can help. For example, you can look at our Human Resource Management System, which is precisely what you need if you want to fill the skill gap your construction company struggles with. This tool helps search candidates, meeting with them and analyzing CVs or job opportunities.

Skills gap. The construction industry needs more specialized skills beyond simply finding enough people. "Skills availability and cost" are among the major constraints in 2022-2024, which highlight the need for effective talent acquisition strategies, according to the report from The Construction Products Association.

Dispersed workforce. Workers are spread across various projects and sites, making it challenging to track their availability, capacity, and progress. The situation becomes even more frustrating if your management team works with siloed information stored in individual spreadsheets.

Contractor's reliance. There's a common trend for construction companies to use temporary staffing agencies to fill positions for specific projects due to talent scarcity. Such an approach may add an extra layer of complexity. While making things this way offers desired agility, it reduces predictability and complicates the management process.

Benefits of Adopting Construction Resource Management Practices

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The variety of assets to manage and challenges to overcome may seem impossible. However,  the benefits of proper construction resource management can be pretty attractive. You can go beyond simply tracking equipment and personnel. Additionally, you can implement a strategic management approach that ensures you have the right resources (people, equipment, materials) in the right place at the right time. In this case, you can not only overcome the construction industry challenges but also achieve some extra benefits.

The balance between overallocation and underallocation. Proper management helps project teams avoid assigning too much or too little to specific tasks. It allows them to prevent wasted time, rework, and delays that, in other cases, would lead to extra costs.

Improved resource utilization. By monitoring resource usage and reallocating them following the changes in construction project requirements, your management specialists ensure time and money are well-spent, maximizing your ROI.

Better financial forecasting. Best management practices help identify areas where adjustments are needed to keep the project within budget. Access to historical data enables more accurate project cost estimations.

Read Also: Construction Technology Trends: What the Future Holds for Construction Industry

Real-time resource tracking. Efficient resource management implies using a central hub for all data (e.g., skills,  availability, costs), which provides a clear picture and helps make efficient allocation decisions.

Simplified remote collaboration. Real-time resource management plans accessible to all stakeholders ensure everyone has the same information. It's vital for efficient decision-making, primarily when multiple teams work remotely on sites distributed across different locations.

Proactive identification of resource conflicts. Resource management can help anticipate potential clashes during the allocation. Timely detected, they can be eliminated by the management team, mitigating risks.

Agile resource reallocation. With real-time visibility into resource utilization, you can dynamically allocate them to the areas where they are most needed at a given moment.

How to Implement Resource Management in Construction

To overcome the described challenges and reap all the possible benefits, you must have a solid plan for implementing a construction resource management approach in your company. Lucky for you, there are tons of software solutions you can choose from to make construction resource management more efficient. Below, there's a breakdown of the key steps following which you can, to some degree, ensure you have the right resources in the right place and at the right time.

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Assessing resource requirements is where everything starts. The management team must evaluate how much workforce, materials, and equipment you'll need here. Project requirements and specifications are good sources of information, allowing you to perform accurate estimations;

Document material requirements. The next step is to create a comprehensive material takeoff. It’s a document that includes all the materials you will need in foreseen future;

Develop the scope of work. The next step is to draft a clear scope of work outlining project tasks, responsibilities, and timelines for all stakeholders. The future project is taking shape here since the management specialists determine what tasks all involved parties will perform. Implemented scope serves as some kind of agreement between the involved parties;

Estimate resource costs and build construction budget. Now that you know how many materials you'll need and who and when will perform specific tasks, you can proceed with estimating the overall cost. The management team can start forming your construction project budget at this step. Attach costs to particular tasks and a timeline to request the right amount of funds;

Procure and allocate resources. When you know the required resources, you can partner with suppliers and vendors to procure materials and equipment. Next, the management squad can assign them to optimize utilization and ensure timely completion of project milestones. In terms of labor, you must know what specialists are available to work and what non-human resources are available through suppliers and vendors;

Monitor resources and inventory. You need to monitor utilization continuously throughout the project lifecycle. It will allow you to make adjustments as necessary to maintain efficiency and control costs. Also, inventory and equipment must be counted and tracked using special apps. Our warehouse and inventory management system, for example, provides users with the list of available inventory, equipment that is assigned to specific employees, and various statistics on how inventory and equipment are used:

Track project progress. Implement systems to track and review project progress and employee performance. It'll enable proactive management of resources and mitigation of potential issues. In our projects, we often rely on the DHTMLX JavaScript library that provides access to such time-tested tools as Gantt chart and Scheduler. Using these complex components, we can build comprehensive  Project Management Solutions like the one you see below:

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It enables the resource calendar where managers can quickly review tasks allocated to particular employees. Our team used dhtmlxScheduler to craft the Month View feature, for example.  Within the project view, there is a Gantt chart with dhtmlxGantt working under the hood. It offers a graphical representation of individual projects. Managers have the ability to choose from the list of projects to view specific tasks, adjust completion percentages, and add or modify assignments. 

Read Also: How Using Gantt Chart Can Change Your Understanding of Project Management

Ensure compliance and safety. Prioritize compliance with regulations and safety standards to safeguard workers and minimize risks associated with resource management.


Construction resource management is a tough play sometimes. Delays in the supply chain can disrupt the whole project, contractors can mess everything up, and finding workers (especially the qualified ones) may be more challenging than you desire. However, the core role that resource management plays in construction projects does not allow companies to underestimate its importance. The good news is that the algorithm for its implementation is more or less worked out and time-tested, and the presence of the necessary apps can make everything even more straightforward.