Integrated Project Management is the Best Approach to Residential Land Development

Residential land development has many moving parts from before the feasibility and entitlement stages to construction start to project delivery. Aside from the project details themselves, developments require the collaboration of numerous different parties as well as a close eye on the project’s scope, budget, and deadlines. Developers could theoretically handle these pieces on their own. However, hiring a development consultant to conduct integrated project management can make the process much smoother.

Today, let’s take a look at what integrated project management is and how it can make a difference in your residential land development project. 

What Is Integrated Project Management?

At its core, integrated project management is the process of bringing all stakeholders, resources, and components of a project together to execute the project’s goal successfully. 

Essentially, it’s pulling parts of the whole project together into one cohesive unit. When it comes to residential land development, this approach is key to ensuring the seamless execution of a single-family neighborhood or master-planned community.

A project manager that leverages an integrated approach will bring the owner, designers, engineers, and contractors together to collaborate on the project’s delivery. Decisions on the project are not made in siloes. Instead, regular meetings are held to bring all parties together to discuss the ongoing project. In some cases, the project team members will enter into an integrated project delivery (IPD) contract and share the risks and rewards.

This integrated approach means that project teams will talk to each other, share concerns and come up with solutions throughout the project’s life cycle. Every party will be aware of the mutual resources needed to complete the project and will stay apprised of the project’s constraints. 

The result is an efficient development process that honors the budget, timeline, and vision set by the owner.

The Value an Integrated Approach Delivers

A project manager is responsible for effectively and efficiently managing the core parts of a residential land development project. They must keep tabs on the project’s scope, resources, time, and cost—all of which affect one another. 

Using integrated project management allows the manager and all other parties to tap their breadth of expertise for the benefit of the project.

The approach can produce some powerful results:

  • Less overall risk: Every development project comes with risk. There’s the potential to lose time and money and damage relationships if projects don’t go as planned. However, there are ways to mitigate those risks—and integrated project management is one. By bringing the entire team together to plan, collaborate and problem-solve, project managers help reduce the project’s overall risk level. When everything is planned-out and transparent, owners can worry less about projects going awry and focus on their next investment.
  • More thorough planning: An integrated project management approach brings everyone involved in a development to the table very early on in the process. Having everyone on board from the earliest stages of a project ensures that each team member is aligned on the overall vision. It also allows the team to plan more thoroughly. Because there are so many pieces to residential land development, planning is needed to ensure the design, engineering, and construction elements are cohesive and feasible to execute. Each party can share their expertise, and the team can work through challenges as a whole. This allows construction to progress more efficiently.
  • Fewer surprises: When designers, engineers, and contractors don’t talk to each other or the owner, wires can get crossed. This ultimately leads to costly surprises when shovels hit the ground—wasting time and money. By coming to the table early, contractors can identify where design elements might pose a budget or time constraint. Project managers can work with designers, engineers, and builders to ensure the budget and timeline is manageable given the owner’s vision.
  • Time and money savings: Ultimately, having fewer challenges on a project and less overall risk equates to saving time and money. Planning more thoroughly gives the team the opportunity to get ahead of schedule—not behind—so they can deliver ahead of the project’s timeline. The project team won’t have to waste time fixing newly discovered problems during construction. Contractors won’t have to make abrupt changes, meaning fewer price hikes on new materials or labor. All of these payoffs are extremely valuable to owners and their partners.
  • Best possible outcome: In integrated project management, all parties are equally dedicated to the success of the development. This is especially true when shared contracts are involved. When every party has a stake in the project’s outcome, they are more willing to go the extra mile to get it done. The approach results in less finger-pointing and more accountability, transparency, and success.

Development Consultants Keep Projects Moving

When an owner wants to leverage an integrated project management approach to their development, recruiting the expertise of a development consultant can be a huge boon. Residential land development consultants have a breadth of specialized knowledge and expertise across the development process. They take an owner’s vision and apply their internal expertise and capacity. This combination allows a project to come to life more efficiently and with fewer risks.

When a development consultant serves as the project manager, owners have a single source to turn to. There’s no need to go to numerous external parties for answers on the project’s feasibility, scope, and progress. The integrated project manager oversees the development from start to finish—feasibility to delivery—and has expertise in all those elements.

For residential land development specifically, working with a consultant that’s experienced in working with home builders is another benefit. The consultant not only understands the needs of the owner—but they also understand the needs of the end user. Residential land development must get properties to a shovel-ready state for builders. They will keep these needs in mind as they prepare entitlements, assemble the team, and manage construction, so home builders are able to launch as soon as the handover is complete.

Leverage an Integrated Approach on Your Next Project

Residential land development doesn’t have to be filled with challenges, surprises, and costly mistakes. Creating a comprehensive plan of action with an integrated, collaborative team will ensure an efficient delivery that’s on-time and on-budget.