Project Management Essentials for Contractors

You have new project managers who need to ramp up quickly to deliver successful construction projects. This 2-day course introduces the essential tools of project planning and execution in a construction contracting environment. Participants practice project management techniques on a simple construction project that is developed through the complete project lifecycle, from initial project proposal and definition, through project implementation, and finally to the often neglected project completion phase.

Participants will leave this course with the ability to implement a structured process to successfully deliver small to medium sized construction projects for their organizations and for their customers.

This course is Gold Seal accredited by the Canadian Construction Association.

Learning objectives

Participants will gain practical skills to:

  • To learn and use the terminology and processes of modern project management.
  • To explain meaning of key clauses of CCDC2.
  • To identify your PM responsibilities from the start to the close of a project.
  • To prepare a complete and accurate project plan for a small project.
  • To provide some of the knowledge you need for the Gold Seal Project Manager’s certification.
  • To increase your own PM “lessons learned” by learning from the experiences of others.
  • To value the benefits of a consistent PM methodology.

Who should attend

The Project Management Essentials for Contractors course is appropriate for individuals who are:

  • Construction contractors or employees of construction contracting organizations.
  • Responsible for managing small to medium construction projects.
  • Active participants on a project team, especially those who have not yet been exposed to project management, but can see themselves moving in that direction.


There is no prerequisite for this course. It functions as a stand-alone course.


You will receive a course binder containing copies of slides, case studies, templates, exercises, and suggested solutions.

What you will learn

What is Project Management?

  • Definition of modern project management
  • Introduction to PM certifications
  • Skills required in a PM

Basic Concepts of a Project

  • What is a project?
  • What makes a successful project?
  • Why do some projects fail?

The Project Life Cycle

  • Owner’s project life cycle
  • Contractor’s project life cycle
  • Milestones
  • Fast-tracking

The Project

  • Introduce project workshop scenario
  • Responding to a bid
  • Construction planning
  • Scope definition
  • Workshop: Define project scope

The Work Breakdown Structure

  • WBS definition
  • Why use a WBS approach
  • Elements of an effective WBS
  • Workshop: Develop project WBS
  • Identifying subcontracts
  • Evaluating project budget

Risk Management

  • Risk management process
  • Workshop: Identifying & analyzing project risks
  • Evaluating project risks
  • Choosing an appropriate risk response
  • Typical construction project risks
  • Assigning budget contingency

The Contract

  • Contract types
  • CCDC2
  • Liquidated damages
  • Subcontracts

Organizing the Project Team

  • Owner’s matrix structure
  • Contractor’s projectized structure
  • Assigning responsibilities
  • Single point of contact
  • Workshop: Structuring the team

The Project Plan

  • Change management
  • Project administration
  • The daily log
  • Safety planning

Project Schedule

  • The logic diagram
  • Critical path and float
  • Types of dependency relationships
  • The Gantt chart
  • Workshop: Yellow sticky
  • Assigning constraints
  • Adding contingency
  • The resource histogram
  • Setting a schedule performance measurement baseline

Project Implementation

  • Project status and updating
  • Performance reporting
  • Change control
  • Introduction to earned value
  • Workshop: Earned value exercise
  • Commissioning


  • Start-up
  • Substantial/Total Completion
  • Lessons learned
  • Archiving files


  • Introducing modern PM into an organization
  • Lessons learned
  • Quiz