Industrial Construction Management

Industrial projects tend to be large, and their design, construction, operation, and maintenance require considerable expertise. Owners are often deeply involved in developing a project, preferring to work with designers and builders with whom they have established working relationships over time. Click to learn more.


A CM will oversee construction to ensure that projects meet design standards and schedules. They will also maintain a computer record of facility information that the owner can use for long-range planning and day-to-day management.

Industrial construction involves building structures for specialized functions like refining steel, producing power, or managing hazardous chemicals. These types of projects require higher levels of planning and skill to build effectively because they are often subject to heavier governmental regulations and have a greater environmental impact. Building industrial structures also requires understanding of material specifications that are rare in commercial buildings.

Companies that engage in industrial construction choose a location for their projects based on logistics and transportation. They may look for areas that provide easy access to highways, air transportation, or railroads. They may also want to be close to seaports or airports so they can ship and receive materials quickly and efficiently. These facilities need effective floor plans to house heavy equipment and support operations.

The needs of each project differ, but all require extensive governmental permits to operate legally. These include earning permission from zoning boards and meeting strict guidelines for environmental safety. An experienced construction management team can assist with obtaining the necessary permits for each construction phase.

Construction managers must also be familiar with the requirements for each type of project, including securing financing and working with design engineers. Construction managers with a master’s degree in construction management have advanced training to handle many of the responsibilities related to the planning, budgeting, and execution of each project. They can also help create ambitious but realistic project timelines.

Various types of heavy machinery are used for industrial construction, depending on the specific needs of each project. For example, some companies use large cranes to lift and lower materials during the building phase of a project. Others may prefabricate components for an entire structure offsite, which reduces site congestion and allows the team to work more efficiently.

In addition to standard construction vehicles, companies that engage in industrial construction may need to utilize articulated trucks or dump trucks to transport dirt and other waste materials. These trucks can traverse rough terrain and be used for various purposes on construction sites.

The design stage of industrial construction is an important part of the planning process. During this phase, architects and engineers create plans and specifications for the project. This includes developing cost estimates and reviewing the construction schedule to ensure that the project can be completed within budget. This phase is also when the contractor is selected. The selection process may vary according to the type of project, and it usually involves a bidding process. The contractor selected is typically based on one of three methods: low bid selection, best value selection, or qualifications-based selection.

The site planning needs of industrial construction projects differ from those of commercial projects. Industrial projects often require large facilities, such as factories or power plants, and must follow strict environmental guidelines. These projects can produce toxic waste and harm the local environment. On the other hand, commercial projects generally have a smaller footprint and less impact on the surrounding area.

When designing a facility, the project team must consider various factors, including legal requirements, building materials, equipment, and design standards. The design must also consider the facility’s operation and maintenance. This is because the life cycle costs of a facility are more important than its initial construction costs. The project team must be able to make informed choices about these costs to achieve the best possible outcome for the owner.

Construction management firms can help with various services, such as planning and scheduling, engineering design, contract administration, estimating, and project monitoring. Firms offer different service levels, so owners need to find the right fit for their projects. In addition, the firm should know about the latest industrial construction technologies.

Many industrial projects are complex and involve numerous stakeholders, including contractors, engineers, architects, and planners. The process can be easier to manage with efficient tools. To avoid these problems, the project team should choose a designer-builder who has extensive experience in the type of project they are working on. This will minimize the time it takes to start the project and increase efficiency. Selecting a designer-builder with whom the project team has had good past experiences is also important.

Getting the budget right is critical to the success of any construction project. It is also a crucial part of construction project management, and implementing an effective budgeting process can help your team avoid costly mistakes that can result in budget overruns or delays. A few important considerations to remember when preparing and managing your construction budget include cost estimation, risk assessment, and contingency planning.

The first step in creating a realistic construction budget is dividing the project costs into hard and soft costs. Hard costs are expenditures directly related to the building or structure itself, including framing materials, insulation, doors and windows, drywall, paint, and flooring. The project management team can estimate and control these expenses, while soft costs such as service fees tend to fluctuate.

Another important aspect of the construction budget is establishing the land purchase price. Unlike other project costs, land is a capital expense that will maintain or increase value for years. As such, it is a vital investment for your company or client, and determining the exact land price at the outset can help you to determine an accurate construction budget.

Lastly, the budget should include permits and architectural or design fees. In some cases, these can be negotiated to save money. However, many of these costs are non-negotiable, particularly in the case of government-funded projects or when the building will be used for commercial purposes.

Predicting labor costs is one of the most difficult aspects of a realistic construction budget. This includes the costs of tradespeople, subcontractors, and equipment operators. It is generally only possible to estimate these costs once the construction site is open, but it is essential to do so to ensure that the project stays on budget.

While estimating and budgeting can be complex, several solutions can improve the accuracy of these processes. Construction management software, for example, can help streamline cost estimation, job scheduling, documentation, budget tracking, and communication. It can help your team reduce project-related costs by providing real-time data that stakeholders can view promptly.

Construction managers must consider many variables to develop a viable construction schedule. Whether presented as a Gantt chart, network diagram, or 3D model, a construction schedule contains information about every action that leads to project completion. A good construction schedule is realistic, accurate, and well-sequenced. It enables projects to stay within budget and minimizes resource waste. Poorly designed construction schedules can result in cost overruns and project delays, leaving contractors vulnerable to penalties or lawsuits.

The first step in creating a construction schedule is separating the project into work activities. Each of these activities is then assigned a duration estimate. The schedule can also be arranged to overlap and buffer activities. For example, installing drywall may be required to precede floor finishing or constructing a foundation before building the rest of a structure.

In addition to the actual work activity duration estimates, the schedule must consider the lead and lag times between each activity. A good method for determining these is to utilize a PERT diagram. This type of project management tool weights optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely time estimates to help project managers estimate the total project duration with a high degree of accuracy.

A specialized quantity surveyor can provide detailed examinations of the project design to generate these estimates. Alternatively, the construction manager may use his experience and judgment to define each project activity. Computer programs can assist with storing, retrieving, and analyzing the data used for scheduling purposes.

Mopsick suggests seeking updated prices, availability, and vendor lead time quotes for each item in a construction plan. He also recommends discussing task duration estimates and work sequencing with project participants. This will help to expose problems and potential solutions before they become major headaches.

Industrial construction projects often require more extensive project planning than commercial construction. For example, industrial structures are constructed for specialized uses such as refining steel, extracting oil, generating electricity, or managing hazardous chemicals. Industrial construction managers must consider additional factors such as developing a site, meeting regulatory requirements, and obtaining permits. These can add months to the overall development of a construction project.