December 15, 2021

The Importance and Impact of Project Controls in Construction

Nicholas Muir

Primarily due to COVID 19  the construction industry has recently experienced an all-time high of projects going over budget and off schedule, it’s become more important for the industry to revisit the importance of project controls, which is the discipline unit that drives the project management & performance of the project.

What is the Project Controls Team?

By definition, project controls implement workflow processes that collect and assess data and utilize this information to keep projects on track. The core responsibilities of project controls include:

  • Schedule management and reporting
  • Cost management / forecasting
  • Planning project milestones
  • Communicating with internal and external teams and stakeholders
  • Closing all agreements (financially and commercially) upon their completion

A good project controls team will use their project-over-project data to analyze their team’s performance and efficiency, and make any adjustments based on that data while measuring the performance of the project and / or projects.

OnSiteIQ’s 360 construction photo and video documentation can deliver real-time insights directly to the Project Manager and Project Controls Manager showing the immediate progress and issues / risks.This data can allow for the project controls team to initiate their processes immediately and more confidently allowing for greater control and immediate response time.

This context then helps project controls alert project stakeholders of potential risks, saving a lot of time by catching those risk areas immediately. OnsiteIQ can be used for a one-off project or portfolio-wide projects.

Another area where OnSiteIQ can help project controls maximize their effectiveness is by helping create a more consistent project controls team. Think about it, if a project controls team can expect daily updates through objective photo and video documentation, it then allows them to do what they do best…plan and troubleshoot.

Interweaving project controls with the rest of project management provides timely insights that empower project stakeholders to make the right decisions at the right time.

Processes That Define Project Controls

Seven core processes are encompassed by project controls:

  • Project Planning: Creation of schedule, work-breakdown, and cost-estimates
  • Budgeting: Utilizing project planning materials to formalize the working budget
  • Risk Management: Project controls will always be on the lookout for potential hazards and risk mitigation.
  • Change Management: Facilitating scope and budget changes to a project
  • Forecasting: Projecting future costs and schedule.
  • Performance Management: Monitors project health and provide actionable insights
  • Project Administration: Intra-team collaboration and workflow strategies

 Importance of Project Controls

According to Logikal Project Intelligence, 88% of the industry believes project controls are a vital aspect of the construction industry. It likely rests in the fact that when the going gets tough on construction projects, teams look to project controls to create solutions. With the construction industry being very subject to urgent scope changes, these people are utilized frequently.

Furthermore, in large projects, or multiple projects happening simultaneously, it’s good to have a group dedicated to overseeing each specialist applying their craft to the construction job. A lot can happen in the background while the construction site is active.

Project Controls Reporting

A critical aspect of project controls is reporting. This allows owners and developers to have a data set that shows their project’s analytics which they apply to their current project and future projects to better define scopes, schedules, costs and estimates.

There are three main reports a project controls team delivers:

  • Cost Report: This is the report most commonly seen because it includes all project costs. This includes estimates, actuals, and forecasting, spent, delta and contingency balance / burn rate
  • Change Management Registrar: The project controls team keeps a log of any change orders and scheduling adjustments for the project team to substantiate and negotiate.
  • Risk Assessment: Documentation of risk with a secondary purpose of recording any risk in time and cost. Note the acronym RAID (risk, action, issues, and decisions) which are the four core pillars addressed in the risk assessment report.

The Power of OnSiteIQ in Project Controls

Project controls will span across multiple processes and interact with multiple roles to ensure project success. They require consistent attention to detail with cost and schedule metrics throughout projects, some of which can run for years. The owner uses OnSiteIQ’s 360 video and photo documentation technology and an artificial intelligence-supported scheduling progress dashboard can help highlight current and potential risks.

In the past, it may have been acceptable to use manual methods to monitor and evaluate project metrics. As the industry has evolved, it’s become commonplace to use automated reporting and algorithm-based forecasts to harness the best available project data. Project controls are too important for the success of large projects—and the success of the organization overall.

For the industry’s best reporting and automated scheduling platform, get in touch with OnSiteIQ and try a free demo.