project management for architects

Architecture project management: challenges, solutions, and best practices

Architectural projects are highly complex endeavours no matter how large or small the construction project is. There are many stakeholders and parties involved, many processes to take into account, contractors, suppliers, city authorities, – the list goes on.

What adds complexity is the fact that most Architects are not prepared for project management roles right after graduation. Most of them are ready to be creative and design great buildings, however when it comes to strictly project management skills such as risk assessment and mitigation, effective communication communication, integration, and cost assessment – most beginner architects are lost.

That is exactly why we developed PlanMan, a platform for easy and effective project management for architects. Use our tool to take care of all the boring logistical and managerial issues so you can focus on the creative process.

So what does project management involve in architecture and city planning?


As an architect and as a manager, especially if you are self-employed, your primary objective is to communicate with your client well. Make sure you are both on the same page and understand the scope of the work and the supposed timeline of the project correctly. See our client communication module features to get an idea what clear communication involves.

Site analysis

A project manager inspects and assesses the plot of land that the client wants to develop, presents and analyses all the issues that need to be addressed. These include legal, financial, technical, economic, urban planning, paperwork, and other issues. It is your job as a project manager to give your client a clear picture of everything that needs to be done. 

Project planning and estimates

As a project manager you will have to do project planning. A proper project plan takes into account all kinds of risks and external resource requirements. As a result of your planning you need to have a clear estimate on the time frame and the cost break down to present to your client. Check out our guide on project planning for architects.

Supervise and connect

You need to find and coordinate all kinds of contractors for the subtasks necessary for your project. Project managers also ensure the quality of everyone’s work, since they are responsible for the final result before the client.

As the project manager you are also obliged to interact with city administrations and other authorities regarding paperwork, permissions, and approvals.

Follow and adapt

Follow and analyse the development of the project. Introduce changes to your plan on the fly depending on the availability or performance of various third parties.

Finalise and close

As a project manager you also manage the closing of the project and ensure elimination of all the contracts and licenses to your former contractors. 

The four stages of construction project management

Construction project management is similar to the architectural process but has its’ peculiarities. Each project can be roughly split into four main stages.


This covers everything related to project design from concept to schematic and finally the approval of all contract documents: the detailed construction specs and the final drawing.


This stage deals with inspection of the future construction site and the appointments of people responsible for parts of the project.


You will have to procure all the materials necessary to complete the project. Everything that came in the initial project plan needs to be purchased.


The main part of your work as a project manager during the actual construction phase will be to ensure that everything is done and paid for on time. Once the project is built you need to make sure it’s transferred to the client and the client approves the result.

Architectural project management for small companies and freelancers

In the most small-sized design and architecture companies every team member is doing project management work to some degree.

Even more so for freelancers – every standalone architect is her own project manager taking care of documentation, communication, invoicing, and dealing with administrations and authorities. That is why having a versatile project management to like PlanMan is essential. You need to be able to store all documents, correspondence, contractor data, and drafts in one place.

Top project management challenges for architects

Like we wrote above, most problems stem from being 100% creative and 0% organized.

Most beginner architects suffer from lack of organization in their documents, drafts and emails.

If you are using several separate tools for email, storage, and research – version control will become a problem. Used specialized project management software for architects to avoid that problem.

Another thing – most of the time lack of a clear communication strategy is an inconvenience. Set a clear schedule: when and how much you communicate with everybody involved, including your client. Ad hoc communication kills productivity more often than we would like it to happen.

Sign up for a free trial with PlanMan and take your project management to the next level!

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