Project management for steel fabrication gives us forward motion
Project management for steel fabrication gives us forward motion. Responding to a fabrication brief efficiently calls for solid project management skills based on the broadest industry experience. It means we’re ready and able to react to opportunities and obstacles.
Alroys has developed a management system for every metalwork project, even the quick, small jobs that can be assessed, manufactured and installed in a matter of hours. Having a clear process means that nothing is left to chance, and the different elements involved in a project are addressed professionally and efficiently.
The following three tasks ensure we transform materials into finished products within the shortest timeframe possible.
1. Assessing – making sure the design reflects the client’s objective
2. Managing and monitoring – keeping the project on schedule and in budget
3. Communicating and guiding – liaising with the client and 3rd party suppliers
1. Assessing the fabrication project
This is the first, and arguably, the most important stage – what does the client want and will the design deliver it? Once we’ve established this part, we can start to plan: follow the necessary regulations, determine the spec, create the manufacturing and installation process.
This stage includes accurate site measurement – something we insist on doing ourselves rather than use any other source. Site measurement for fabricating and installing metalwork is a skill based on experience and knowledge. It’s a mix of precision and allowing for developments further down the line.
2. Fabrication project management and monitoring
Planning the whole project means creating an optimum process that reduces the chance of delay and unnecessary cost. Your fabrication specialist manages people as well as processes: the client, in-house team, and any other contractors and suppliers involved in the project.
The project plan details how the work will be carried out, monitored and controlled, including costs and timescales. It’s organic so we have to reduce any domino effect resulting from shortages, design changes, and any other unforeseen delays.
For example, fabricating and installing staircases and safety glass balconies for a large scale construction project. This is straightforward work for Alroys but, at certain times, we’re likely to need access at the same time as other trades. What if we can’t assess and measure, let alone install? Maybe we need to factor in having to move building materials out of the way, or incur a 3-4 hour wait before unloading? If glass is involved, how can we ensure minimal handling and that H&S procedures are observed? Project management has to accommodate all such scenarios.
We have to be prepared for ‘the unforeseen’. (Such as turning up to fit a handrail and discovering that the area is obstructed by scaffolding, erected for another trade!) We have to roll with whatever a project throws at us, re-ordering or carrying out tasks in parallel. Sometimes we have to plan something temporary or cosmetic for a photoshoot – then return to complete the task properly at a later date. Our aim always is to move things along and not disturb the flow of the project.
3. Communication and guiding throughout the fabrication project
Communication plays a massive role in the successful management of fabrication projects. From simply keeping people in the loop to pushing for prompt decision-making. Ordering £80,000 worth of steelwork, for example, needs a delivery window further away than 2-3 weeks, and it’s our responsibility to make sure the client knows this.
Our role is also one of guidance, recommending a course of action. If time is tight (when isn’t it?) what do we work on first? The staircase so trades can move about the site easily and leave the bin store until last? How do we avoid ‘after thoughts’, particularly if it means re-decorating or re-laying carpet?
Look behind the scenes of project management for steel fabrication
A huge amount of important work goes on behind the scenes with all fabrication projects and it’s project management that makes sure it goes smoothly.
“I’m really grateful for your patience with the back and forth nature of some of our projects, and the frequent design changes. You cope with delay really well!”
“Your communication skills are really good. Regular emails and great face-to-face communication. You treat everything with urgency. No fuss when something goes wrong. It’s this as much as your skills as fabricators that makes you a favourite.”
These are quotes from two different clients, and they confirm we’re getting it right – the fabrication (of course!) but also the whole experience being a positive one for our clients.